Cleaning wood cabinets in the bathroom requires a different approach. The sink, bath, shower, and toilet can generate lots of moisture, heat and germs that can accumulate on your wood. Even for stained and finished wood, water and heat are primary causes of damage. But if you learn the proper maintenance and cleaning techniques, you can prevent damage and keep your cabinets looking great.
Moisture and Heat Damage
In many homes, bathroom cabinets are constructed from strong hardwoods with closed grains, such as birch, maple or poplar. Even these hardy woods are susceptible to heat and water damage, and require your regular attention. Every time you run a hot bath or shower, the heat and moisture generated puts stress on the cabinets. Extreme heat and temperature changes eventually dry the wood and wear away the finish. The moisture created by showering and bathing also leaves behind a layer of condensation, and moist conditions are ripe for mold growth.
Tips to Protect Your Wood
Here's how to tackle the problem:
Wipe Down Your Cabinets. After bathing or showering, wipe your cabinets down with a dry rag or towel. This process not only removes the water that could potentially damage the cabinets, but you'll also prevent mold and mildew from growing.
- Clean the Cabinets. Better Homes and Gardens suggests using an antibacterial cleaner every so often to remove the germs from the surface of your wood. After you wipe the cleaner on, rinse it with a damp rag and then, dry it with a third rag.
- Disinfect Regularly. For a general cleaning, you can use a product like Murphy® Oil Soap, which is safe for use on wood surfaces. Once you've cleaned the surface, it's time to disinfect, by attacking germs with a spray solution of water and white vinegar. Vinegar is a safe acidic product that prohibits bacteria and mold growth, and cuts through germs and bacteria, too. Apply the mixture to the surface of the cabinets on the outside and the inside. Let the vinegar solution rest on the surfaces for at least five minutes to allow the vinegar time to disinfect. Rinse the surface, and then follow up with a dry cloth.
- Run a Fan. Exhaust fans help keep temperatures down and moisture out of the bathroom. The most important thing is to use a fan that's properly sized for the space to remove moisture and heat. Run the exhaust fan while bathing, and keep it running for about 15 minutes after.
Maintaining and cleaning wood cabinets isn't an overly complicated process. So long as you keep to the regular tasks of wiping cabinets down after bathing, keeping them clean, disinfecting and running an exhaust fan, your cabinets will remain in good condition for years to come.
This article was brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive Company, the makers of Murphy® Oil Soap. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.