How Do I Clean Varnish Finish Cabinetry?

To clean varnished cabinets, remove grease and grime with a hot, damp sponge. For extra-dirty surfaces, clean with a citrus-based cleaning product designed to cut through grease. For general maintenance cleaning, an oil-based cleaning product cleans and protects wood.

Depending on the location of the cabinets, different types of grime build up. In kitchens, grease build-up is an issue. Warm a moist sponge in the microwave for 40 seconds then, wearing gloves to protect your hands from being burned, wipe down the varnished cabinets. The heat and moisture work to soften and remove grease. For stubborn grease, use a citrus-based cleaner to cut through grease, following the package instructions.

Clean well-sealed cabinets with de-greasing dish soap diluted in hot water, but do not use this solution on unsealed wood, as water can damage the wood. Always remove all remaining cleaning product residue from cabinets with clean hot water, and dry the surfaces with a soft cloth.

Disinfect varnished surfaces with a bleach-free antibacterial cleanser. Products containing bleach may discolor or damage the surface of varnished cabinets. For general cleaning, use an oil-based wood cleaner. This protects the wood without damaging or removing the finish and can be used on sealed and unsealed wood.