How to keep cabinets looking clean and handsome
Maybe you’ve just finished remodeling, and your kitchen and bathroom look fabulous – filled with brand new cabinets. Here are some tips on caring for those cabinets. It’s good advice for maintaining stained wooden, painted or laminated cabinets:
• Dust weekly and polish monthly with a wax-free and silicone-free polish. When polishing, use a clean soft cloth and wipe in the direction of the wood grain. Work on just a small area at a time.
• Clean up spills right after they happen. Avoid using a wet dishcloth or sponge to wipe cabinets because it may contain remnants of grease and detergent.
• Avoid cleaning with scouring pads, harsh detergents, ammonia or glass cleaner.
• Turn on the kitchen exhaust hood or range fan while cooking; that’s because fans can keep your cabinets cleaner.
• Try to limit direct sunlight from shining constantly on your cabinets. Use blinds and curtains to shelter them at various times of the day.
• When cleaning glass cabinet doors, spray a little glass cleaner on a cloth and wipe until the glass is clean. Then dry with another cloth. Avoid getting glass cleaner on the wood or painted finish.
• Keep oven cleaner away from your cabinets. If you have a self-cleaning oven, try to shield your cabinets against the intense heat during the cleaning cycles. Some homeowners even temporarily remove doors and drawers from cabinets near the oven during the cleaning cycle.
• Always wipe up water spills quickly so they don’t puddle around cabinets and dull the finish.
If your cabinets are looking shabby and worn, it may be time to remodel. But if you’re not ready to completely replace cabinets, here are other possibilities:
1. Have cabinets refaced – Refacing is much more economical than complete replacement. Some expert companies say it will cost slightly more than a third of what it would cost to replace cabinets. Some companies specialize in this process, but many renovation specialists and remodelers can do it. Choose a contractor carefully. Be sure that the refacing material and veneers are real wood that is properly fastened to your cabinets. It’s best to have new drawers installed with new wooden fronts put on them instead of just attaching new fronts to old drawers. You should get new doors installed and make sure they have top quality, brand-new hinges installed as well.
2. Have cabinets repainted or re-stained – The cost of repainting or re-staining can vary depending on the size of your kitchen, but generally it’s about a quarter of the cost that replacement would be. You want someone to strip and sand existing cabinet fronts down to bare wood before refinishing them.
3. Take out some cabinets or rebuild some of them – Some companies doing painting or refacing will also change the shape of cabinets, rebuild them or remove some cabinets. Some can build a new island in the middle of a very large kitchen. Or you could have someone take down a partial wall of cabinets in order to open up a living area and make it more spacious.