Forever Kitchens

10 Things You Can Do to Make Your Kitchen Cabinets Last (Almost) Forever

published Mar 11, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Kitchen cabinets are expensive! According to Home Advisor, they can range from $100 to a whopping $1,200 per linear foot, and most cabinet projects fall in the range of $4,000 to $13,000. In other words, you should do what you can to make yours last —whether that’s updating how they look or just taking care of them.

Here are 10 things you can do to help your cabinets last (nearly) forever.  

1. Wipe up spills.

We think to wipe our countertops down but lots of people overlook their cabinets. Go check them now and we almost guarantee there’s a dribble of coffee on at least one of the doors. Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe up spills as they happen. This means you have to notice these spills, so try to be a little more aware. Yes, even when you’re sleep-deprived and needing coffee.

Credit: Amelia Lawrence/Kitchn

2. Give them a deep clean every few months.

Cabinets have a way of attracting grease and grime — and then dust on top of that. They can get so dirty, the doors (especially around the knobs where your grubby hands are always touching) will start to take on a darker hue. Every few months, it’s best to give them a deeper clean and you have a few ways you can do it. Warm, soapy water works great. If you need something stronger, we like baking soda or this specialized wood cleaner.

3. Install soft-close hinges.

Fancy cabinets these days have soft-close hinges which are nice for your ears and they also cut back on unnecessary rattling. It’s not like cabinets often come crashing down after someone slams a door, but the harshness probably doesn’t help. You can get soft-close hinges at Home Depot (or other hardware stores) and either install them yourself or get a pro to do it.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

4. Don’t put dishes away if they’re still wet.

It may be tempting to take everything out of the dishwasher and put it away ASAP, just to cross the task off your to-do list. But if anything is even a little wet, put it on your dish rack to dry. Just a few drops of water can cause mold to grow (cabinets are cool, dark spaces, after all!) and that can be bad for your cabinets, your dishes, and for you!

Credit: Melanie Rieders

5. Line cabinet tops with wax paper.

If your cabinets don’t go all the way up to the ceiling, the tops, like the faces, will collect that greasy-dust paste we mentioned earlier. Line the tops with wax paper or newspaper, which will collect the grossness and is easy to swap out when you’re ready to clean the space.

Credit: Coco Morante

6. Line the shelves, too.

Shelf liner is a little old-fashioned but we still recommend it. It’ll help protect the wood and make spills easier to wipe up. And should things come to it, it’s easier to replace the liner than it is to get new shelves!

7. Paint them (following ALL the steps).

A little bit of paint goes a long way when it comes to dated wood cabinets. You can do the job yourself (we’ve got a detailed post on how to paint wood cabinets), just as long as you know one thing: there are a lot of steps and you have to do them all. The most important part so that the transformation looks good for years to come is the prep.

8. Resurface them.

Maybe you’ve heard of cabinet resurfacing, but have never been quite sure what it is? Basically, it’s like getting all new exteriors for your cabinets: new doors entirely, and new veneers on the cabinet body. It’s usually best to call in a pro and will cost a couple thousand dollars, but is still cheaper than getting new cabinets.

Got any other tips to add? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!