Monday, June 25, 2012

A Recipe for Clean Kitchen Cabinets: Furniture Cleaner

My mother-in-law has a recipe which she has long used to keep her oak kitchen cabinets looking nice.  We are preparing to sell our home, so I called to see if she would share it with me so I could clean my maple cabinets.  It worked so well!!!  My kitchen looks fresh and spiffy.  It wasn't hard to do, and I have been looking around my house thinking of how many other wood surfaces that this would make shine. The possibilities!!  So, of course I am sharing.  This photo is my mother-in-law's kit which she put together for this purpose.  I thought it was clever (she is).  She told me that this comes from a presentation by an extension agent 20 years ago.  If you are worried about the finish on your cabinets reacting poorly to this, test on the inside of a door first.  Mine were so bad, I figured nothing could hurt...

Furniture Cleaner
2 Tbsp. Boiled Linseed Oil
2 Tbsp. Turpentine
1 Qt. boiling water

Measure into a bucket the oil and turpentine, pour in the boiling water.  Let solution cool only long enough that you can stand to put your hands in it.  Using rubber gloves and a rag you will throw away when you are finished, wipe soiled cabinets.  Dry/polish with a second dry cloth.  (You do not have to use rubber gloves--I liked them because it let me work with the solution while it was hot and for skin protection; however, I could only find one rubber glove, so after working with the solution with one glove on and one glove off, both of my hands were fine.  Up to you.)  When the solution is hot, you have to use less elbow grease, so start with your yuckiest cabinets first.  I made one batch for my upper cabinets and a fresh one for the lower.

We removed the hardware before we cleaned the wood.  This is before:
You can see especially the oils from hands around where the hardware goes.  This is after:

The solution does a good job of making the wood look great, however there were a couple of spots on my cabinets that the varnish has worn thin over the years.  They were visible after the cleaning, so I touched them up with some lemon oil.

Notes: To make your own kit, assemble in an old ice cream bucket the turpentine, linseed oil and a small scoop container.  (This one is like you find in a drink mix.  Measure two tablespoons of water into the small scoop and mark with a permanent marker the level on the side of the container, label it 2 Tbsp.)  Write the recipe on the side of the ice cream bucket with a permanent marker. Now you are ready to tackle that grime!

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If you are visiting, welcome! I am in the process of a Vulcan Mind Meld with my computer to put all of my right hand recipes for feeding my family on here as fast as possible. Please come back often and stay awhile. There are so many exciting things to come!

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A clearing house for all my favorite recipes. All my food musings. All my favorite cookbooks and kitchen gadgets. If you enjoy it here, and find it useful, welcome!