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How To Care for Your RTA Cabinets To Make Them Last

Learning to care for your RTA cabinets to make them last keeps them looking new despite all the humidity, stains, and cleaning products thrown their way.

by KCD Blog • July 03, 2023


One of the first things a visitor in your kitchen will notice is the cabinets. For that reason, many homeowners shift their attention toward cabinetry if they want to enhance their kitchen’s appearance. Finding your dream cabinets is only part of the issue—knowing how to care for your RTA cabinets to make the last is where you can make the most out of your investment.

Finding a pH Balance

Avoid using aggressive cleansers or scrub brushes on your kitchen cabinets, as you might scratch the finish or chip the paint. The pH scale distinguishes between alkaline and acidic materials and chemicals. An acidic substance or chemical has a pH value below seven, while an alkaline one has a pH value above seven.

Dish soap has a pH between seven and eight, making it neutral. The pH of untreated wood is around four, making it mildly acidic. However, wood contains several chemical substances, and even trees among the same species can have significant chemical variations between the outer and interior layers.

Wood reacts chemically with any alkaline or acidic cleaning product. Negative outcomes are a given because of the wood’s inherent acidity range. Strong alkaline cleansers—ammonia, baking powder, or sodium hydroxide—may darken wood by removing its natural oils.

Wood cabinets, finished or not, are vulnerable to the corrosive effects of acidic cleansers like vinegar, lemon juice, and tub and tile cleaners. Finding that perfect pH balance and avoiding acidic chemicals ensures your cabinets look clean and not worn.

The Right Cloth

We’ve all been guilty of using multiple sheets of paper towels while cleaning the kitchen. At the very least, you’ve probably grabbed an ordinary dish rag to do the scrubbing. Regardless of how soft these companies market their paper towels, they pale in comparison to a soft microfiber cloth.

Microfiber is very fine, thinner than one denier, and much lighter than standard dish or hand towels. A denier is a unit of measurement equal to the thickness of a single strand of silk. In this context, microfiber refers to a material with thinner and less dense fibers than silk fibers.

The ability of microfiber to trap microorganisms is far superior to cotton. This is ideal when scrubbing the kitchen countertops, the floor, or other surfaces. Microfiber towels are excellent at cleaning up dust, grime, and other small particles due to the net-like arrangement of their strands. You may use a standard cotton towel, but it will spread grime and dirt everywhere.

While microfiber is not as durable as other cotton options, it is reusable. This material does not lose its durability after several washings. You can wash a microfiber towel upwards of 500 times before it deteriorates!

Hot & Humid

The recommended range for indoor relative humidity is no more than 50 percent. Long-term exposure of wood cabinets to excessive humidity may cause structural damage. When the relative humidity is well above 80 percent, cabinet drawers and doors may bend and warp if subjected to it for an extended period.

Identify and address these issues before they worsen. Using your air conditioner and a dehumidifier is the best approach to controlling humidity levels in your home. You’ll notice a difference if the humidity returns to normal. Keep in mind that it can take a few days or weeks for these changes to take effect.

New RTA cabinets require time to adjust to your home, so do your best to maintain the same relative humidity. Avoid storing RTA cabinets in damp and musty environments like the basement, garage, or any other unheated or poorly ventilated area; otherwise, you’ll ruin them before you can install them in the kitchen.

Don’t Forget the Tops

If you’ve never glanced at the top of your cabinets, you will be in for a rude awakening. Grease and dust are inevitable byproducts of daily kitchen use, and they accumulate quickly atop cabinets unless yours extend to the ceiling.

Grease swirls in the air and settles on horizontal surfaces, particularly those near the ceiling, which is why cabinet tops always seem so nasty. You probably see most of your kitchen’s surfaces daily, so you clean them more often. However, the tops of the cabinets need cleaning as well.

You can begin by vacuuming the top of your cabinets with your handy-dandy hose attachment. You should vacuum the loose dirt and debris without contacting the greasy buildup. The following steps will be less chore if you do the dry work first.

Apply a degreasing cleaner to the top of your cabinet, and give it a few minutes to work its magic. You can use one of your microfiber cloths to wipe it afterward. Carry on until you’ve scrubbed all the cabinet tops. Vinegar and lemon juice are two natural alternatives to chemical cleansers, but we know their acidity can cause future problems with wooden cabinets.

After doing this once, you’ll quickly realize you never want to see the tops of your cabinets again. If you’re in that boat, place wax paper on your clean cabinetry to prevent grime from accumulating quickly. Wax works as a powerful magnet for dirt and filth. Changing the wax paper twice a year is all you have to do to keep things looking great.

Stains, Stains, Go Away

You may be the most meticulous cleaner in the world, yet accidents like spills and splatters still happen. They may cause discoloration to your kitchen cupboards, ruining the room’s aesthetic.

Fortunately, making a cleaning paste out of baking soda and water can help you remove stubborn stains. You may use a toothbrush with soft bristles or a damp sponge to apply the paste to the spots. Then, scrape very gently as you go. After letting the paste sit for a few minutes, wipe it off the cabinets with a clean sponge. Your cabinetry should react favorably, leaving you with a sparkling kitchen.

Learning to care for your RTA cabinets to make them last ensures your kitchen looks polished for years. Kitchen Cabinet Depot has frameless cabinets available when you want to do right by your kitchen and upgrade it. You can always count on us when you’re ready to make your vision a reality!


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