Asked on May 18, 2018

How do I clean 60+ year old cabinets?



I need help!!! I moved into my parents 60+ year old house. The kitchen cabinets to my knowledge have the original “varnish“ finish plus 60+ years of greasy kitchen buildup. I am wanting to clean them and depending on how they look I may even decide to paint or white wash them. BTW, the walls are the dated knotty pine paneling. Please help.
17 answers
  • Lizabeth Garrett
    Lizabeth Garrett
    on May 18, 2018

    I think I would get some goo-gone and clean it first and then get some varnish remover.
  • Janet Pizaro
    Janet Pizaro
    on May 18, 2018

    Make a solution with white vinegar and water 50/50 and add a dab of blue dawn dish soap in a spray bottle
  • Adina Fulsom
    Adina Fulsom
    on May 18, 2018

    Best thing I've ever used for greasy kitchen clean up is Lysol All Purpose cleaner. It comes in a spray bottle, kills 99.9% bacteria and smells so fresh! Cuts grease like crazy. Sounds like you're gonna need to do some work! Good luck😊
  • Lan32154549
    on May 18, 2018

    Many antique stores sell a remover that will take all that off. ask them about it per phone if you like. It really works.
  • John Biermacher
    John Biermacher
    on May 19, 2018

    I would try Howard's Restore-a-finish (in a light color) using #0000 steel wool. Good chance that will not only clean them but might be all you need. Search Hometalk and you tube.
  • Manning Tillman
    Manning Tillman
    on May 19, 2018

    Warm water, TSP cleaner add elbow grease.

  • Audrey Trauner
    Audrey Trauner
    on May 19, 2018

    Murphy's soap--fantastic product.
  • Fiddledd224
    on May 19, 2018

    The best way to loosen grease is with oil!

    Pour some vegetable oil on a t-shirt and buff the wood - the oil should loosen the grease.

    After this, follow up with a wipe down with Windex to remove the oil.
  • Danielle
    on May 19, 2018

    I have sworn by Murphy's Oil Soap for 30 years. There is a reason it's still on the market! I've even seen it clean off decades of tar and nicotine in a heavy smokers house and take the smell out too!
  • Elaine
    on May 19, 2018

    Murphy’s has a wax in it and I’ve used it for decades. Howard’s is fantastic stuff, but they make a cleaner you could use before the restore a finish. You might want to try warm water and vinegar with a pot scrubby that doesn’t scratch. It will be a lot of work. If you use anything with wax in it and then decide to paint, you will end up removing that to be able to paint.
  • Dawn Fulton
    Dawn Fulton
    on May 19, 2018

    I clean apartments, my recommendation is Krud Kleaner from Lowe's. Cuts grease like you wouldn't believe, very little elbow grease required and unlike tsp does not have to be rinsed off.
  • Hope Williams
    Hope Williams
    on May 19, 2018

    I agree with dawn, krud kutter. And use steel wool and take outside to clean.
    i wanted to add that those cabinets are the bomb! So much potential!!! I had them and put molding on them and painted mine.
  • MiMiVanV
    on May 19, 2018

    Replace them 😖
    • Tracey
      on Jul 11, 2018

      My grand daddy built them that is why I want to make sure I don’t harm them in the process of cleaning them!!

  • Emily
    on Jul 11, 2018

    If you are going to refinish or paint cabinets anyway, why not start with paint remover itself?
  • Theresa
    on Oct 17, 2020

    I know this post is a few years old, but I was wondering how this project turned out? These are the exact same style cabinets that are in my parents home and looking for ideas without a total tear out.

  • Sharon
    on Oct 19, 2020

    I use Dollar Tree Awesome Orange in the half gallon in hot water using a car sponge. Then I also get the Awesome Degreaser for the hard spots and a round plastic scrubby to get off blobs. I get the kitchen rubber gloves as can be a bit hard on the hands for a whole kitchen.

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