Removing Grime from Kitchen Cabinets - help! Takes more!

In cleaning my mom's kitchen cabinets (the grime that collects over the years - esp where your hands have touched) ... I find that the grime isn't all that is beading up to be washed off.... so is the stain! Eeeks! Any suggestions? Or am I going to have to refinish these cabinets?
q removing grime from kitchen cabinets help takes more, cleaning tips, kitchen cabinets, painting, woodworking projects
q removing grime from kitchen cabinets help takes more, cleaning tips, kitchen cabinets, painting, woodworking projects
  22 answers
  • Jane Rowinsky Jane Rowinsky on Sep 30, 2013
    I have found that Otagon soap works well on built up grease and oil. Just rub the bar with a damp cloth and was the doors. If you cannot find Otagon soap in local grocery stores, try Walmart or The finish may already be loosened by the long contact with grease.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Sep 30, 2013
    You may need to touch these up with some more stain. Once that is done you will want to "top coat" them as well to protect them for future cleaning. I have been very happy with how durable Minwax wiping poly can be. I have also used a touch of WD40 on a paper towel to get up some "greasy" type residues. Mineral spirits also works. Oily dirt needs either a detergent or soap to bind with the oil or just a thin solvent.

  • Jan Jan on Sep 30, 2013
    Thanks, y'all !!

  • Jan Jan on Sep 30, 2013
    Minwax is actually what they used... Jocoban or something like that. I can't believe Mom remembers that.... she is a months shy of 92 - amazing that she'd recall that!

    • See 3 previous
    • Jan Jan on Oct 29, 2013
      Thank you so much!

  • Kelly S Kelly S on Sep 30, 2013
    I use alcohol in a spray bottle to clean the kitchen grease off my oak cabinets. They are only 15 years old so the finish is still intact. Vinegar in a spray bottle may also cut the grease. Just be sure to use plenty of ventilation (open the windows turn on the fans) no matter what you use. We used poly by Minwax on most of our wood projects because it applies easily and is very durable.

  • Tamie A Tamie A on Oct 01, 2013
    Murphys soap works great

  • Vici Anderson Vici Anderson on Oct 01, 2013
    i heard that olive oil and baking soda work. Haven't tried it yet.

    if they still have jubilee on the market it works wonders on cabnets... if not try viniger & water..

    • See 1 previous
      @Donna Bell found it on wee haawww the good stuff.. debra

  • Gwendolyn Schilling Gwendolyn Schilling on Oct 01, 2013
    Denatured Alcohol cuts through grease pretty good.

  • Kim Kim on Oct 01, 2013
    if it built up grease use a paste of baking soda and lemon juice cuts threw grease like lighting.

  • Betty Fox Betty Fox on Oct 01, 2013
    a spray bottle with a squeeze of dawn, a little vinegar, and fill the rest with water. it breaks the grease well and won't take off the paint or stain on the cabinets. Years ago in the 80's in the smoking days, I cleaned the paneling with ammonia and water to remove the smoke off. it worked but it probably maybe would fade the cabinets.

  • AmericanWoman AmericanWoman on Oct 02, 2013
    I use Go-Jo or Goop Hand Cleaner. It's terrific in the laundry too. Give the hand cleaner a shot before you refinish. Good stuff.

  • CDC Contracting Inc. CDC Contracting Inc. on Oct 02, 2013
    you can try head & shoulders, the active ingredient that kills dandruff is actually very good for tough kitchen stains, even stains on exterior siding. In my Hicksville Long Island home we love to use it for curry and other stains all over our home. If you need more help you can contact me, my info is on

    Malco Jubilee Kitchen Wax - 524815 $4.08 Quantity: 1 Change Only 5 left in stock. AMAZON.COM

    Malco Jubilee Kitchen Wax - 524815 $4.08 Quantity: 1 Change Only 5 left in stock. AMAZON.COM ALSO A PLACE CALLED "THE VERMONT COUNTRY STORE IS $7.95. EBAY HAS IT BUT YOU HAVE TO BUY 6 FOR $30.00 GOOD LUCK. DEBRA

  • Jan Jan on Oct 07, 2013
    Great day, y'all !!! These are great ideas! Of course in some of the cabinets I already have removed the stain (see photos) ... but not all of them, so yea! Thank you all so much for the advice! (Sorry I haven't replied before now... I didn't know I had these responses!!)

  • LaVerne DeHart LaVerne DeHart on Oct 16, 2013
    I totally messed up when I tried to clean the grease and grime off the kitchen cabinets in my house when we moved in. We removed them and took them outside and used a orange smelling grease cleaner for wood (sorry, cannot remember name). It removed the stain as well as the grease. I did restain some of the cabinets. There are so many that I just let the rest sit as are! Does anyone know of a stain that is lung friendly? no fumes? I intend to finish them inside and until I can find something that will not affect my lungs, I am stuck.

  • Jan Jan on Oct 17, 2013
    I considered sanding and painting. :) But...... I really like the wood!

  • LaVerne DeHart LaVerne DeHart on Oct 19, 2013
    @KMS Woodworks....Thank you for the product information, it's very helpful!

  • Kasey smith Kasey smith on Sep 09, 2015
    Baking soda and Dawn dishsoap works good without taking off the stain

  • Rachel Sprangers Rachel Sprangers on Jun 08, 2016
    Zep. Found at Home Depot.

  • Comet Comet on Sep 14, 2016
    IF yu have scratches--the deep kind or the kind that really dull the finish--or a loss of finish--try OLDE ENGLISH FURNITURE POLISH--0it is pigmented; does not smell; and you can use several coats to get the color you need. Found at LOWES and other places. You can use it for any furniture--I have even used it for damaged laminate--and floors; cabinets etc. Also--plain old SHOE POLISH can work wonders on woods! Use the color closest--I like the wax version in the little tins--and the clear wax to seal. Costs about $2 a tin and lasts a long time--I also use it for smooth leather with scratches or scuffs (duh!) and am re-doing the faded finish on my faux leather hard saddle bags on our motorcycle with this.