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Are You Keeping Up With Your House?

Cabinet Edition

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Are your cabinets looking a little worse for wear? Do you use harmful cleaning solution that could damage your cabinets? Are you ready for your kitchen and bathroom to look like it did when it was first installed? If you answered yes to any of these questions, please continue reading and hopefully my tips and tricks for keeping a clean and happy home are helpful. If you answered yes to all of these questions then you should definitely continue reading.

But first a brief introduction

Welcome to our series Are You Keeping Up with Your House? In addition to this being the first post in this series, it’s also the first Arcadia Kitchen and Bath blog post. At AKB, we want to make sure you don’t wake up one day and realize your house is barely hanging on by its hinges—literally and figuratively.

What to expect in this post...

  1. How to clean your cabinets depending on what material they’re made out of, and what to avoid when cleaning them.
  2. How to adjust your cabinet doors depending on what hinge they have.

NOTE: In this post we mention cleaning product recommendations, make sure you follow ALL the manufacturers instructions on how to use their products.

Cleaning Your Cabinets

The most important step to keeping your kitchen and bathroom cabinets looking brand new is to keep them clean. By regularly removing dust, grease and grime, stains, scratches and dings, and excessive moisture your kitchen and bathroom will keep its value and keep you happy and stress free.

What material are your cabinets?

Traditional Kitchen / Kitchen cabinets

Wood: Painted or Stained

The beauty of wood lies in its grain and coloration, or rather in its unique variations. A tree’s growth pattern effects the grain of the wood, and the growing conditions in the forest accounts for the differences in color. Wood cabinets require more up-keep than acrylic or thermofoil, but since they’re so charming and elegant, the extra care is totally worth it.


    Dust the outside and inside of your cabinets at least once a week with a damp, soft cloth. Make sure your cloth isn’t dripping wet because the water will gather in the corners causing the wood to warp and possibly mold. 

    Kitchen Cabinets

    It’s important to remove all the grease and oil every day using a soft, damp cloth and a mixture of mild dishwasher soap and warm water, followed by a clean water rinse. If you still see residue, we recommend Guardsman® Anytime Clean & Polish or Guardsman® Deep Clean Purifying Wood Cleaner. Both these products safely and effectively remove grease, cooking oils, smoke film, and several kinds of stains.

    Bathroom Cabinets

    For cabinets in your bathroom, in addition to their weekly dusting, make sure to remove any excess water after you shower with a soft dry.

    Products and solutions to avoid:

    When dusting and cleaning, avoid using an abrasive sponge, cleaners containing abrasive materials, polishes, oils, and wax or oil soaps because these will damage your cabinets.

    • Petroleum-based products
    • Solvents
    • Bleach
    • Paint thinner
    • Nail polish remover
    • Strong detergents and soaps
    • Plastic brushes
    • Steel wool
    • Scouring pad
    • Ammonia
    • Carbon tetrachloride
    • Tetrachloromethane
    contemporary kitchen / kitchen cabinets

    Acrylic and Glossy Thermofoil

    Because acrylic conducts a lot of static electricity, make sure to always use a wet micro-fiber cloth with a mixture of mild dishwasher soap and water when doing your weekly dusting. You can also use Ultra-Gloss Superpolish and DGS, Novus1Polish, or Plexus Plastic Cleaner on a weekly basis to maintain the acrylic finish.

    Avoid using harsh cleaners and abrasives, and do NOT use paper towels, brushes, scourers, and scrapers on your acrylic because they will cause micro-scratches.

    contemporary kitchen / kitchen cabinets

    Matte and Wood Grain Thermofoil

    The best way to clean your matte or woodgrain thermofoil cabinets is to dampen a cotton cloth or nonabrasive sponge with a 50/50 mixture of warm water and either mild soup or Simple Green®. The Simple Green® is especially good on tacky surfaces and stains. When removing a stain, you’ll want to lightly scrub the stained surface for 10-20 strokes.

    Contemporary Kitchen / kitchen cabinets

    It's All About the Hinge

    Now that we’ve covered how to clean and care for your cabinets, we can move on to fixing cabinets that have gone askew. Unfortunately, there are so many different kinds of hinges out there that I couldn’t possibly go over all of them, but I will explain the two kinds that are more regularly used: European hinges (concealed hinges) and pin hinges, which are usually a full-wrap inset hinge.

    European Hinge and Concealed Hinge

    The concealed hinge can be adjusted in three different directions:

    1. Up and down, which adjusts the height of the cabinet door.
    2. Left and right, which adjusts how close the cabinet door is to the other door or the cabinet frame.
    3. Forward and backward, which adjusts the depth of the cabinet.

    Up and Down Adjustment

    If your cabinet door is too high or too low and is rubbing against the cabinet frame, you’ll want to adjust the mounting screws on both hinges. You may need someone to help you with this adjustment because it’s helpful to have someone hold the door in place while it’s being adjusted.

    Three steps to adjust height of door:

    1. Loosen the screws, but don’t take them all the way out because you still want them to stay in the hole.
    2. Adjust the cabinet by gently lifting the door or gently lowering it. This is where it’s helpful to have someone help you out
    3. Retighten the screws while your helper holds the cabinet in place.

    Left and Right Adjustment

    If your cabinet door is crooked, you’ll want to adjust the side screw which moves the cabinet left and right. To get the cabinet in the proper position, you’ll need to go through a trial and error process. It can seem tedious, but it’s completely worth it.

    Forward and Backward Adjustment

    If your door is sticking out further than the cabinet frame or is too far back, you’ll want to adjust the depth screw. Some hinges will adjust just by tightening or loosening the screw. Other hinges require you to loosen the screw and then lightly tap the door in or out and then retighten the screw.

    Pin Hinge and Full Wrap Inset Hinge

    The full wrap inset hinge only has two adjustments:

    1. Up and down
    2. Forward and backward

    Up and Down Adjustment

    To adjust the door up or down, loosen the screws of both hinges in the cabinet frame. Similar to adjusting the door in or out, to adjust it up or down gently slide the door in either direction, then retighten the screws.

    Forward and Backward Adjustment

    To adjust the full wrap inset hinge forward and back, loosen the screws of both hinges in the door. Adjust the door in or out by lightly tapping the door in the direction you need and then retighten the screws. Again, it would be helpful to have someone help you with this adjustment.

    What if your cabinet is still loose or crooked?

    We’ve covered how to adjust the two most widely used hinges, but what if after all that loosening and adjusting and retightening your cabinet is still crooked? Unfortunately, this probably means the screw hole is stripped. Luckily there’s an easy fix and all you need is toothpicks and wood glue!

    Fixing stripped screw holes:

    1. Start by removing the door and hardware.
    2. Then take your wood glue, put a drop on the tip of the toothpick, and stick it in the hole.
    3. Cram as many toothpicks into the hole as you can, and make sure you’re putting glue on all the toothpicks.
    4. Once you’ve filled the hole and the glue to dry, take a utility knife and cut the excess toothpicks so the filled in hole is flush with the cabinet.
    5. Reinstall the hardware and door by drilling a hole into the original hole with a bit that is smaller than the screw.
    6. Reattach the cabinet door and hardware and make any necessary adjustments.

    I hope these tips and tricks were helpful and your cabinet doors are squeaky clean and properly adjusted. Stay tuned for Post #2 in Are You Keeping Up with Your House? If you have any questions or comments, then please leave them below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

    Until next time,

    Taylor Connell

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