How to Degrease Kitchen Cabinets

Greasy buildup on kitchen cabinets can leave them feeling sticky and looking dull. Here's everything you need to degrease these surfaces.

cleaning kitchen cabinets with microfiber cloth

Getty Images / Casarsa

Project Overview
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $15

It can be easy to overlook cabinets when cleaning the kitchen. But the buildup from cooking grease, in particular, can leave your kitchen cabinets looking dull and dirty, and feeling sticky to the touch.

Degreasing kitchen cabinets is a straightforward cleaning job, but there are some important things to know before you get started. The cabinet material will dictate what types of cleaning agents are safe to use, and which ones are best to avoid. Additionally, because degreasing can be a heavy-duty cleaning task, there are a number of common household cleaning agents, such as distilled white vinegar, that simply won't be tough enough for the job. Learn how to degrease kitchen cabinets, starting with finding the right degreaser for your cabinet material.

Before Getting Started

Before degreasing kitchen cabinets, you'll need to know the material you're working with. Take the time to review the owner's manual, look the cabinets up online, or consult a professional if you're unsure as to the cabinet material type to avoid causing costly damage. Degreasing typically requires heavy duty cleaning agents and tools that day-to-day cabinet cleaning doesn't call for. When degreasing cabinets, it's especially important to understand what the material can and cannot tolerate.

kitchen with white counters and backsplash and gray cabinets

Helen Norman

Choose the Right Cleaning Method for Your Cabinet Type

Wood kitchen cabinets vary in fabrication, with different finishes and seals. The seals, in particular, can be damaged by exposure to the wrong cleaning agents, so it's critical that you consult the manufacturer's instructions before cleaning wood cabinets.

When cleaning painted cabinets, apply the cleaning agent to the cloth, rather than spraying it directly on the cabinets. Painted surfaces do not like to be oversaturated with moisture. In addition, after applying the cleaner of your choice to the cloth, wring it out so that it is damp but not dripping. 

Laminate is a forgiving material that can be safely degreased with most cleaning agents. However, avoid using abrasive cleansers or scouring pads to degrease laminate cabinets, as they can scratch the finish.

Glass-front cabinets are usually mounted into another material, such as painted wood or laminate, so it's important to use a cleaning agent that's safe on the non-glass cabinet material. Additionally, avoid using oil-based cleaners to clean the non-glass cabinet material, as it can leave streaks or dull spots on the glass. Use a glass cleaner with ammonia and a microfiber cloth or, if you prefer to use a gentler cleaning agent, a grease-cutting dish soap like Dawn, diluted in water. If using dish soap, you may need to go over the glass with a traditional glass cleaner after degreasing to remove streaks and water spots left behind by the dish soap solution. When degreasing glass cabinets, be sure to clean both the outside and inside panels.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Non-scratch abrasive sponge (optional)
  • Rubber gloves (optional)


  • Degreasing agent


How to Degrease Kitchen Cabinets

Using the degreasing agent of your choice, follow these steps to remove sticky grease from kitchen cabinets.

  1. Degrease Cabinet Door Fronts

    Apply the degreaser of your choice to a microfiber cloth. Working from the top down, wipe the front of the cabinet doors to remove the sticky film of grease. If your kitchen cabinets have glass panels, clean both the front face and the inside of the glass.

  2. Degrease Cabinet Door Edges

    After degreasing the cabinet door fronts, open the doors. Using the same cloth, applying more degreaser if needed, wipe the top, side, and bottom edges of the cabinet doors.

  3. Degrease Cabinet Frame

    Leave the cabinet doors open to allow access to the frame. Using the same cloth, reapplying the degreaser if needed, wipe the frame around the cabinet doors.

Choose the Right Kitchen Degreaser

While there are a number of options for degreasing cabinets, you may find that some gentler cleaning agents, like distilled white vinegar, are simply not tough enough for the job. 

Ammonia-based degreasers and citrus oil degreasers typically are the best cleaning agents for removing sticky buildup, because they are heavy-duty cleaners that cut grease with ease. However, a grease-cutting dish soap like Dawn is a good option for people who prefer to use a gentler cleaning agent. The strategic use of tools, like a Dobie Pad, a non-scratch scrub sponge, will lend additional scouring power to milder cleaning agents.

Ammonia-Based Degreasers

To make an ammonia solution for degreasing cabinets, mix 1 cup of ammonia into 1 cup of water. Ammonia is a strong cleaning agent, so be sure to work in a well-ventilated area and wear protective household gloves when handling it. Alternatively, purchase a commercial degreaser that contains ammonia.

Citrus Oil Degreasers

Commercial citrus oil degreaser formulas can vary significantly, so check the label to ensure the ingredients are ones you're comfortable using in your home. For example, Citrasolv is a gentle citrus degreaser, while ZEP Heavy-Duty Citrus Degreaser, as the name suggests, is a more intense cleaning agent.

Dish Soap

Grease-cutting dish soaps, like Dawn, are the gentlest choice for degreasing kitchen cabinets. If extra cleaning power is needed, use a non-scratch abrasive sponge to help safely scour away sticky grease film.

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