Routine cleaning helps maintain the finish of your cabinetry and prevents long-term damage to the natural beauty of the wood. When caring for your cabinets, remember the following:
- Remove buildup by wiping down cabinets with a damp, soft cloth at least once every two weeks
- Use only warm water
- Wipe in the direction of the wood grain
- Remove any residual moisture with a dry, soft cloth
If water alone doesn’t clean cabinets completely, mix a small amount of mild dishwasher soap with the water, and then clean as described above.
If routine cleaning fails to remove buildup or stains, try the following:
- Mix baking soda and water to create a paste
- Apply paste to the buildup or stain with a sponge
- Scrub the area until the buildup or stain disappears
- Rinse with water and dry with a soft cloth
A mix of vinegar and water is another option for removing sticky grime or film from cabinetry.
SCRATCHING & ABRASION
Due to the abrasive nature, avoid using the following products to clean cabinetry:
- Strong detergents/soaps
- Petroleum-based products
- Nail polish removers
- Paint thinners
- Solvents (including organic)
- Citric acid (including lemon and orange oil)
- Plastic brushes
- Steel wool
- Scouring pads
Many substances become difficult to remove as they dry and may stain or cause other damage upon prolonged contact. If a spill occurs, wipe it up promptly. Use a damp cloth or sponge to blot the spill, rather than a wiping motion. Remove any residual moisture with a dry, soft cloth.
Moisture is one of the worst enemies of any finish. Cabinetry near sinks and dishwashers are most susceptible, but you may find moisture accumulating in other areas as well. So, remember the following:
- Dry off any areas immediately where water has spilled
- Pay close attention to steam from cooktops, crockpots, coffeemakers, etc.
- Keep an eye on surfaces of repeated short-term exposure to moisture (i.e. splashing, slow leaks, etc.)
- Avoid draping dishtowels or other wet items over doors
Besides moisture, extremes in temperature and humidity are sometimes problematic. Either extreme can cause wood to expand and contract. It can also cause wood to swell, warp, and dry out, damaging not just the finish but the wood itself. Control the temperature and humidity in your home all year long.
Further information on humidity:
- Unfinished (exposed) wood will exhibit the most dramatic changes
- Even finished wood will change with long-term changes in humidity
- Finishes and other coatings can temper swings in humidity by slowing the transfer of moisture but don’t stop it entirely.
- Solid wood will dimensionally change more across the grain than with grain
- Plywood, particleboard, and fiberboard are more dimensionally stable
- Particleboard and fiberboard, exposed to water directly, will expand in thickness quickly and dramatically
- As wood expands and contracts with changes in humidity, the finish at joints will crack. This cracking is universal but is much more evident on light colored paint than on stains or dark paints. Regardless, this is the nature of product made from wood and not a reason for replacement.
- Where humidity exposure is uneven, pieces may warp, cup, or bow. Most often, if humidity is returned to a normal level and maintained for a period of time, these issues will disappear.
- Extremely dry conditions can result in wood parts splitting and/or cracking in addition to shrinkage as described above
- The optimal humidity level is 35% to 50% relative humidity. Extreme conditions (lower than 20% or higher than 80%) especially need to be avoided.
- Use dehumidifiers and/or air conditioners in the summer to control excess humidity
Further information on dryness:
- Extreme dry conditions can lead to cracking in solid wood components. Under dry conditions, the insert panels in panel doors will shrink and the panel edges will be exposed. The exposed, unfinished panel edges will not match the finished surface of the rest of the panel and door. This is not a reason for replacement, but is instead an indication that humidity levels are too low and need to be remedied.
- Use humidifiers during the winter months to add moisture in the air
Further information on temperature:
- Temperature variation can cause some of the same problems as humidity variation and the two are often interrelated. Increases in temperature can cause materials to expand, while decreases in temperature can cause materials to contract or shrink.
- Sudden temperature changes cause more dramatic material changes. With solid wood, this can lead to cracking and splitting. As far as wood components, sudden changes can lead to warping, cupping, and bowing.
If you do see minor warping, we recommend allowing the material to go through one heating cycle before considering a replacement.
Product Care & Maintenance
We take pride in our outstanding workmanship. So much so that we want to make sure your cabinetry lasts as long as possible, and one of the easiest and most effective ways of doing this is with proper care and maintenance.
In your new home, nothing makes as much of a statement as the cabinetry. The warmth of the wood. The sweeping lines they create. The way they pull the rooms together. We work with the areas top builders creating homes that appreciate in value because of the attention to quality design and construction.