Our Favorite TikTok Star Shared Her Secret for Cleaning Wood Cabinets

published Jun 20, 2022
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Have your kitchen cabinets seen better days? Mine have — and, lucky for both of us, I’ve got a super-smart cleaning tip you can add to your smudge-busting, cabinet-cleaning repertoire. In a recent TikTok video, pro cleaner Vanesa Amaro shared her go-to, two-step method for cleaning wood cabinets. And, yes, it all starts with Murphy Oil Soap, an old-school cleaner you may remember smelling at your grandma’s house. 

Turns out you can use this classic cleaner to take care of almost any wood surface, including your kitchen cabinets. Just skip using it on unfinished or unsealed wood, which may be vulnerable to moisture damage. While the soap results in a polished, shiny finish, the name is a little deceiving. According to the product’s website, pine oil is used to create the soap, but no “free oil” is in the final product. 

Credit: Ashley Abramson
Going strong since 1910.

The best way to use Murphy — which has been around for more than 100 years — is by diluting it in water. The company recommends mixing a quarter cup of Murphy Oil Soap in a gallon of warm water (or half a cup of Murphy if you’re dealing with a bigger mess). For cleaning cabinets, Amaro offers some tips of her own — and if you know me, you know I had to try it in my own kitchen!

Credit: Ashley Abramson
Mixing up a solution of Murphy Oil Soap and water.

Here’s what I did: First, I found a cabinet that needed some love — the one above my toaster, where I store my dishes and cups, was especially greasy. I mixed the solution in my bucket, just as Amaro instructs, and dipped a microfiber cloth into the mixture. Starting at the top of my cabinet doors, I wiped the cloth in circles, focusing on any visibly dirty areas. They looked clean but streaky after just a minute or so on each door, so I grabbed my second microfiber — just as Amaro recommended — and wiped the excess moisture away.

Credit: Ashley Abramson
See those smudges?

My thoughts? Well, there’s a reason people have been excited about Amaro’s hack: It works! My cabinets look shinier than the day they were installed last year, and I attribute that to the cleaning product itself rather than the method. Murphy Oil Soap reminds me of Pine-Sol because of how it works and smells. And even though it’s supposed to have pine in it, Murphy actually smells more like citronella.

Credit: Ashley Abramson
Easy peasey, all clean!

I also liked the efficiency of Amaro’s simple method — it makes sense to start cleaning cabinets from the top, in case water or grime drips down. It’s ingenious to keep two cloths on hand to prevent streaks from happening right after cleaning. Microfiber is definitely a smart move here if you don’t want to waste paper towel — it’s way more absorbent, so it’ll hold more cleaning solution and absorb water when you’re wiping off streaks. Plus, it magically won’t leave behind any fuzzy residue (which I definitely don’t want on my white kitchen cabinets).

While I can confidently say this mixture and method work beautifully, my Blueland multi-purpose spray will still be the main cleaning tool when it comes to weekly cabinet cleaning. But for those monthly deep-cleans, I’ll pull out my bucket and Murphy Oil Soap for a thorough wash and a full-on sensory experience!

How do you deep clean your kitchen cabinets? Tell us your tips in the comments below.