This post will show you thirty methods to remove grease from kitchen cabinet tops.
I am often asked in my Facebook group: “What can I use to clean many years’ worth of cooking grease, grime, dust, and dirt from the top of kitchen cabinets? Many of our group members had some fantastic solutions to remove grease, so I’ve put them together in one handy reference. You can use whatever you already have in your cleaning cupboard to clean your greasy kitchen tops. To join our friendly Facebook group, click here.
Cleaning kitchen cabinet tops is usually at the bottom of everyone’s to-do list. It’s a job that is often only tackled once every few years, sometimes left for decades.
When I ran my cleaning company, I noticed that most people didn’t clean on top of their cabinets. This meant they got ingrained with thick, sticky, greasy hair, dust, and grime, which was almost impossible to remove. As you can imagine, it was a job I came to dread. I soon learned how to remove grease from kitchen cabinet tops and found a way to keep on top of the grime.
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Before using any of the suggested methods in your home, proceed with caution at your own risk. Spot check first and test a small area to ensure it won’t mess up your cabinets, especially wooden cabinets.
- A putty knife or razor blade.
You can clean sticky grease much more efficiently using a razor or a putty knife like this. Be sure always to wet the surface first to prevent scratches.
- A steam cleaner.
If you have a steamer like this one at home, you can quickly remove grease from kitchen cabinet tops by spraying with a degreaser, waiting 5 minutes, then using the steam cleaner, and the grease should wipe right off.
- Wallpaper steamer and scraper.
A wallpaper steamer like this one works just as well as the steamer and covers a larger surface area. Be careful not to overwet wooden kitchen cabinets or to steam wooden doors as you will find it leaves a steam mark which you can not remove.
- Orbital sander.
If you have an orbital sander in your garage, you can start with 40 grit paper, then work your way up. The sander will save you so much scrubbing! But be aware that this may scratch some surfaces, so do a patch test in an inconspicuous area before you start.
- Drill brush attachment.
Using a special attachment on your drill like this one works well with a degreaser as long as you don’t overwet the surface. This kit has so many different attachments that you can use all over the house for many other tough jobs.
- Household Ammonia.
If you have household ammonia to hand, you can use it with dish soap and hot water to remove grease. Beware that the smell of Ammonia can be very overpowering, so it would be better to use a filter face mask like this one to prevent inhaling the fumes.
Always use in a ventilated area.
- Dawn power wash.
Spray the cupboard tops with Dawn Power Wash, let it sit for a few minutes, then use a scraper to remove the grease.
- Dish liquid and two parts warm water.
Use dish soap diluted with two parts warm water and apply it across the top of the cabinets, allow it to sit for a few minutes, then wipe/scrub off. Use a scraper or razor to scrape up the buildup if it is particularly bad.
- Sugar soap.
Sugar soap, like this ready-to-use solution, is great for removing grime and tobacco.
Dilute with warm water, spray, and let it sit for a few minutes, then use a microfiber cloth to wipe off the greasy residue.
- Elbow grease degreaser.
Elbow Grease is one of the best degreasers on the market and inexpensive.
Read how I degrease my whole kitchen using elbow grease in this post.
Just spray it on thickly, leave it for five to ten minutes, and then wipe the grease away.
Elbow Grease Degreaser can also be used on clothing, fabric, and car engines and is solvent-free!
- Flash bleach spray.
If you can stand the pungent bleach smell, Flash Bleach Spray will melt away the greasy residue without too much scrubbing. Ensure you rinse the area well after cleaning and always use it in a ventilated area.
- Oven cleaner
Spray a thick layer of oven cleaner over the area and cover for a few hours with plastic wrap. Scrape off with a scraper or razor, then rinse the area. Be sure to wear gloves and a mask and test in an inconspicuous area before proceeding.
- Eucalyptus oil
Eucalyptus oil will dissolve some greasy residue from the top of the kitchen cupboards, but you will need to be careful if you have diabetes as it can lower blood sugar levels.
- Goo gone.
Goo gone is excellent for removing sticky residue from most hard surfaces, but you must be careful not to over-saturate wooden cabinets or over-scrub them as it may cause damage. It’s purely a matter is spot cleaning. After the spot is clean, go over it with another cleaner of your choice to make sure there is no goo gone residue.
- Rubbing alcohol.
- Powder or cream cleaner, hot water, and a magic eraser
- Soda crystals.
Soda crystals dissolved in warm water make a fantastic degreaser. But wear gloves as it burns the skin! Soda crystals are also excellent for putting down the drains to unblock them and eliminate any nasty smells. I also use a scoop in every laundry wash to help get rid of moldy washing machine seals.
- Castile soap
Castile soap diluted in hot water and sprayed onto the greasy area is good for removing the sticky buildup on top of your cabinets.
- Zep degreaser
Zep Degreaser works great for cleaning off years of dirt, dust, and grease easily. It may take a couple of cleanings, but it cuts nicely through the grimy buildup.
- Vinegar and baking soda
Make a paste using white vinegar and baking soda or sodium bicarbonate. You can add lemon juice or essential oils to the paste to make it smell better.
Using a soft brush apply the paste to the surfaces and leave it to work for a little while. Then clean the paste and gunk off with a damp cloth.
- Liquid hand soap
- Sal Suds by Dr Bronner.
Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds and a magic eraser are very good at grease-fighting.
- Awesome concentrated cleaner.
Spray Awesome on your cabinet tops and let them sit. Get some hot water in a bucket, and wipe down the greasy coating.
- Window cleaner.
A window cleaner like this one is less toxic, less irritating, and cheap! However, you may need repeat applications to eliminate all the grease.
- Methylated Spirits.
Apply methylated spirits to a cloth, wipe the area, and any sticky grease is gone in a flash. It will also sanitize the area simultaneously, with no residue to clean up. Anything you accidentally leave behind will evaporate away.
- If your cabinets are wooden, spray them with Orange Glo
Spray a microfiber cloth with Orange Glo and wipe your wooden kitchen cabinets clean. It’s super easy and leaves the wooden cabinets hydrated and polished simultaneously. Citrus oil is excellent for removing grease stains and cleaning wooden doors. To read more, check out this post
- I/2 scoop of powdered Tide and one dishwasher tablet.
Dissolve the Tide powder and dishwasher tablet in a bucket of hot water. Tide powder works wonders on grease. You only need very little to remove sticky residue. Be careful not to overwet the surfaces. You can also sprinkle tide powder on your patio or driveway to save you hours of jetwashing!
- UPVC solvent cleaner.
- Hydrogen peroxide 3% spray
This hydrogen peroxide 3% spray can be sprayed onto the greasy residue and wiped straight away using a microfiber cloth.
- Spray Starch
- How to keep cabinet tops clean
Once you’ve learned how to remove grease from kitchen cabinet tops, you’ll need to keep them clean. So once you’ve removed the grease and allowed the tops to air dry thoroughly, you should cover the area with either:
✔️ Greaseproof paper
✔️ Wax paper
✔️ Wrapping paper
✔️ Tin foil
✔️ Brown paper
✔️ Kitchen roll
Then change it regularly to keep your cabinet tops grease-free!
The grease on the cabinets that sit directly above the stove can be very thick if they have been neglected for years.
When cleaning kitchen cabinets, make sure you use the correct cleaner for the surface of your cabinet. Read how to clean high gloss cabinets here and how to clean wooden cabinets here.
One of my favorite DIY kitchen cabinet grease removers is neat dishwashing soap or liquid hand wash, as it is cheap, non-toxic, and cuts through grease quickly, leaving you with a fresh-smelling, clean kitchen.
You can spruce up your kitchen cabinets by painting your cabinet doors for a fresh new look.
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