How to Disinfect Cabinets

By: Alia Hoyt
Cleaning your cabinets isn't fun, but it's necessary.
Sami Sarkis/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Cabinets are useful, sure, but they're also full of deep, dark corners perfect for harboring germs, stale crumbs and assorted creepy-crawlies. Fortunately, they're also a cinch to clean and disinfect well enough to pass the dreaded "white glove" test. All it takes is a little bit of time and a few common household products to get the job done.

Obviously, the easiest time to disinfect cabinets is when they're totally empty, so make the effort to do so when you move into a new pad. You wouldn't set foot into your "new-to-me" shower until you've removed all traces of the previous occupants, would you? Even if your cabinets are brand new, you should still make an effort to clean them thoroughly because you have no idea what's been in there previously.


Even if you're a self-proclaimed neat freak, it's still a good idea to clean and disinfect your cabinets a couple of times every year. Dust, hair, errant crumbs and other bits pile up over time, making even the tidiest kitchen unsanitary if left to its own devices. This is also the perfect time to add or change the shelf liner, which makes it easier to spot and clean up messes as they accrue.

Before you get started, don't be fooled into thinking that a wet sponge is all you need to excommunicate nasty germs. Doing so will just spread everything around, giving you a false sense of security and allowing germs a chance to hop aboard your dishes, glassware and other incidentals.

So roll up your sleeves and head on over to the next page for easy and efficient tips for disinfecting your kitchen and bathroom cabinets.


Tips for Disinfecting Cabinets

Since many cabinets are not finished on the interior, you need to either have these areas finished and sealed or settle for wiping them out with a dry cloth. If you have access to running water and bleach you've got everything you need to get started on the road to cabinet cleanliness. Our first quick fix involves a rag or towel dampened with a solution of 3/4 cup of bleach per one bucket of water. Once applied, carefully wipe all cabinet surfaces. Next, go over everything again with a plain, wet cloth. Throughout the process, make sure to protect your skin from the harsh properties of bleach by sporting rubber gloves. Also, make sure to wear clothes you really don't care about, in case a few errant splashes of bleach come into contact with your duds.

If you don't have the time or inclination to mess with mixing things together, you can pick up a container of standard disinfecting wipes. Generally, these ready-to-use wipes are approved for use on polyurethane treated wood surfaces, but check your specific brand to be certain.


When grease is the problem -- as is often the case with lower cabinets under stoves -- a standard degreasing agent is generally all it takes to get things spic and span again. Fantastik or 409 are good products to start with.

Many people prefer to steer clear of chemicals as much as possible. For a green cleaning option, mix hot water with equal parts white vinegar. Dampen a rag and scrub gently.

No matter which cleaning method you choose, it's generally a good idea to run a dry cloth over the cabinet surfaces once they've been disinfected to keep them from streaking. Otherwise, restore the shine to your cabinetry with an approved polish and a dry rag.


Lots More Information

Related Articles


  • Beach, Emily. "How to Clean Kitchen Cabinet Handles." SFGate. 2012. (June 20, 2012).
  • Clorox. "FAQs." 2012. (June 20, 2012).
  • Cozi. "Top Green Cleaning Tips." 2012. (June 20, 2012).
  • Heloise. "Degreasing Kitchen Cabinets." Good Housekeeping. 2012. (June 20, 2012).