The Best Way to Keep the Top of Your Cabinets Clean

updated Sep 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

Cabinets are actually a pain to clean. “They’re constantly coming into contact with grease, dirt, food, and bacteria,” says Becca Napelbaum, a cleaning expert from the on-demand home service app Handy. And depending on how tall your cabinets are, there can be one more thing to keep on top of.

If your cabinets aren’t built all the way up, and instead have a few inches or feet of dead space between their tops and the ceiling, you can have a hard-to-reach zone that’s a magnet for kitchen grime and dust.

“Most of us neglect the tops of our cabinets because we can’t easily see them,” says Napelbaum. If you wanna give them some love, though, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s How to Clean Them

The biggest factor in how often you need to clean this high-up space is your kitchen’s ventilation. If it’s good, you might only get a light coating of grime over a few weeks, because particles tend to settle on lower, versus higher, surfaces. But if you have bad ventilation, and you have dust settling on top of a greasy build-up, then you wind up a gunky mess. “You’ll need to tackle it with a grease removal product,” says Napelbaum. If you don’t want to go the commercial route, try spritzing straight lemon juice onto the area — it’s a natural degreaser — then giving it some time to work before tackling it with a microfiber cloth and some salt, if you need extra scrubbing power.

More on Cleaning Your Cabinets

If you don’t have much build-up on top of your cabinets, lucky you! In that case, all you really need is a good dusting every once in a while. Melissa Maker, author of Clean My Space, has an easy way to get the job done: Use a rubber band to wrap a dampened microfiber cloth around the end of a mop pole, then poke that DIY duster into the offending areas. It should scoop up dust, no problem.

(Image credit: The Kitchn)

Keep Them Clean

Once you’ve got the tops of your cabinets clean, there’s a cheap kitchen staple you can use to keep them that way: wax paper! “Wax paper is a fantastic solution because it collects the grease, allowing you to simply remove the paper, throw it away, and replace,” says Napelbaum. That waxy surface acts like a magnet to collect dust and grime, you only need to change it a few times a year, and it’s far more cost- and time-effective than getting up there to tackle the area again. Note: You can also use newspaper, which will decompose quicker in a landfill.

Our favorite wax paper: Cut-Rite Wax Paper by Reynolds, $11 for three rolls

When was the last time you looked at the space between your cabinets and the ceiling? Be honest!