What is the best way to remove years of grime/grease on old cabinets?

I have well built but very old/outdated cabinets in my kitchen. We are about to remodel our kitchen and want to save costs by keeping our current cabinets. the cabinets need something to make them stand out but bef I can update, I need to clean them. I can't remove this layer of what looks like caked on grease. I've tried wood cleaner, magic erasers but no luck. Help

  9 answers
  • Michele Pappagallo Michele Pappagallo on Jun 26, 2017
    I bought an old house built in 1853. You can imagine the grease built up on those cabinets! I used straight ammonia on them first...scrubbing with a small brush and a cloth, then wiping off with plain water. It was amazing how much grime and grease came off. Then, I cleaned them with Murphy's Oil Soap just be make sure all of the ammonia residue was completely gone. Then I was able to stain them and they turned out beautifully!

  • Tammy Tammy on Jun 26, 2017
    Heat 1 cup of vinegar and add to 1 cup hot water in a squirt bottle, add a healthy squirt of dawn dish soap. Squirt cupboard and wipe clean. For more stubborn areas you may need to use a scrubbie pass.

  • Rissa Rissa on Jun 26, 2017
    Maybe you could just sand it off. Then repaint with a nice color that makes them stand out.

  • Norris720 Norris720 on Jun 26, 2017
    Sierra Heath - Wash with TSP then sand prime and Paint, or sand and stain.
    TSP found in household cleaning section. Home Depot Lowes or Hardware stores.

  • Kathy Kathy on Jun 26, 2017
    If you are painting the cabinets, try sanding them, after you remove the doors. They may not need 'cleaned', only wiped of dust.

  • William William on Jun 26, 2017
    I agree with Michele and Norris720. Ammonia is a great grease and wax cutter. TSP would also work. Just wear gloves and eye protection when using both. Also open windows for ventilation.

  • Gale O'Neal Gale O'Neal on Jun 26, 2017
    Vinegar and hot water with a dab of dawn in the water. A good sponge with a scrubby on one side. It WILL come off. If it is really stubborn, sprinkle baking soda on it , spritz with vinegar and let sit for about 5 minutes then use the aforementioned sponge. It works on stubborn stove and oven grease buildup as well.

  • Jennie Herrick Jennie Herrick on Jun 26, 2017
    The way my family has always done this horrible job is to use Murphys Oil Soap and hot water and lots of elbow grease on wood cabinets and Dawn Dish Liquid and hot water on metal cabinets. Don't forget the elbow grease! That's the most important part! If you use any kind of abrasive sponge or cloth make sure not to use anything that will damage the finish on your cabinets unless of course you plan on refinishing them. Good Luck and Have Fun!

  • Sierra Heath Sierra Heath on Jun 26, 2017
    Thank you all for the great advice! I definitely will be changing the color. sanding may be the best option at this point but I think I will try some of the cleaning methods mentioned as well. It will be interesting to see how well it works with the stubborn grime.