Q: My mother-in-law’s kitchen cabinets have a hard painted finish and are probably 50 years old. The house has been rented, and smoke and grease have accumulated on the cabinets. How can I clean them?
— Michele Foster
South Bend, Ind.
A: Bob Cusumano, president of Coatings Consultants Inc. in Jupiter, Fla., and a consultant to the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America, said he has found Simple Green All Purpose Cleaner to be effective at degreasing and cleaning painted kitchen cabinets. However, he recommended testing the product first in an inconspicuous place, such as inside a cabinet.
Theresa Provolt of Simple Green’s manufacturer, Sunshine Makers Inc., recommended diluting 1 part Simple Green in 10 parts water. Spray the solution onto a section of the cabinets, let it stand about 30 seconds and wipe off with a sponge, towel or microfiber cloth dampened with clean water.
If you were planning to repaint the cabinets, you could clean them with trisodium phosphate, a stronger cleaner that’s found where paint is sold. However, Cusumano said you shouldn’t use trisodium phosphate for cleaning alone, because it might degloss the finish.
Have a question about home maintenance, decorating or gardening? Akron Beacon Journal home writer Mary Beth Breckenridge will find answers for the queries that are chosen to appear in the paper. To submit a question, call her at 330-996-3756, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your full name, your town and your phone number or email address.