2-Ingredient Homemade Kitchen Cabinet Gunk Remover

kitchen gunk remover

A couple of months ago I did a post on cleaning greasy kitchen oil splatters using……OIL! (See Fighting Oil With Oil).  As contradictory and crazy as that sounds, it really works!

So when I came across this cleaning idea from Melissa at No. 2 Pencil for cleaning kitchen “gunk” with vegetable oil and baking soda…it made perfect sense to me and I was eager to try it on my “gunky” kitchen cabinets!

kitchen gunk remover

My cabinets were LONG OVERDUE for a good cleaning. I keep daydreaming about replacing them all…so I tend to ignore them in the meantime. But the other day, upon close inspection, I discovered a considerable layer of grime that had been accumulating on them that I hadn’t even noticed! Especially near the handles where all our grimy hands touch them over and over.

It was time to mix up a batch of this stuff and give it a go!

kitchen gunk remover

This is all there is to it:

kitchen gunk remover

Kitchen Cabinet Gunk Remover

1 part vegetable oil
2 parts baking soda

Mix together with a spoon and go crazy!  I like to use my fingers when I use baking soda (ie. Miracle Cleaner) because I feel like I can really work the fine grains of baking soda into the surface best that way. But you can certainly use a cloth or a sponge if you prefer to keep your hands mess-free.


kitchen gunk remover

However, in the “nooks and cranny’s” I used an old toothbrush.

kitchen gunk remover

Here is a picture of one grimy door handle area done….and one NOT done. Pretty impressive huh!?

kitchen gunk remover

It was pretty amazing/disgusting to see all the dirt that came off with the gunk remover.

Baking soda really IS an amazing substance! I could wax poetic about the stuff…but I will refrain. Bottom line – it works great as an abrasive cleaner that won’t harm your surfaces. (Even the surface of your skin! See Wednesday’s post!)

kitchen gunk remover

Looking GOOD!


Now I only have approximately 20 more doors to clean! I’d better get busy!


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  1. luanna says

    Jillie, thank you for all your many helpful posts. They are MUCH APPRECIATED!! Its admirable the way you show such love in being helpful to the world like this. Rock on!

    • elba says

      After you clean the kitchen cabinets should we seal them??

      Does using the baking soda, hydrogen peroxide & vinegar & water remove the clear coat on the cabinets?

      Thank you

    • elba says

      After cleaning the kitchen cabinets with baking soda & hydrogen peroxide, vinegar & water
      Should we seal the doors.

      Does using the above products remove the clear seal on the cabinets?

      thank you

  2. Christine says

    This is great! I have gunk to get rid of, too.
    And it’s a good way to use that GMO veggie oil that I bought before I knew about GMOs~~
    Thanks again for a great idea. :))))

  3. Vicki says

    I will definitely have to try this! Also, an area in my kitchen/dining room that gets really disgusting are the window frames and ledges. It’s worth a shot to see if the oil and baking soda mixture will clean the grunge there as well. I know what I’ll be doing today…

    • Yolanda says

      Did you ever try cleaning the cabinets with oil and baking soda? Did it work? I’ve got cherry cabinets and wonder if that would work. I need to clean them without stripping them.

      thank you

      • Angie says

        I am wondering the same thing. I know you only posted a couple days ago, but I was wondering if you tried it and how it worked for you? I don’t want to scratch my cabinets, but they are really dingy. I really thought it was just because they were dark cabinets, but then I went to a friends house yesterday and hers are beautiful, clean, and shiny. -_- our homes were built at the same time. So, I know there has to be a way to get that build up off!

  4. Rupali says

    Yesterday night I went to my Pantry for getting some light snack and amazed to see that my containers were real grimy (I have open shelves in my pantry). I got a panic attack and decide to clean it at that time only (I do get crazy sometimes) I cleaned with a solution of half cup vinegar + 4 Tb sp Baking soda and dish washing liq in warm water. All the gunk just dissolved in that solution without any need of elbow grease. Credit goes to you for enforcing the power of BP and Vinegar so many time in ur blog. Now my kitchen gleams and I am thinking few more places to use this concoction. Happy cleaning :)

    • Deniseinark says

      Totally with you on this. My stripping/cleaning/stain removal arsenal improved dramatically when I learned this. Sharing tips to help friends remove Sharpie and other alcohol solvent inks has given me guru status with them. LOL

      • Trudy says

        Do you know how to remove sharpie from painted walls? My son decided to ‘decorate’ his bedroom with one.

      • Nancy McManus says

        Magic Eraser. Generic exactly the same as the brand name, and Do Not pay extra for perforated. They tear easily; who cares if it isn’t perfectly straight.

      • Babs says

        I know this will sound strange, but my sister is an art teacher who loves Sharpies. She told me what really works to remove Sharpie ink is white board marker (like Expo brand). Something in the ink works as a solvent on the Sharpie. Go over the Sharpie mark with the white board marker and then wipe away. Seriously. I’ve tried it and it works. Of course, you should probably test in on your surface first.

      • Babs says

        I know this will sound strange, but my sister is an art teacher who loves Sharpies. She told me what really works to remove Sharpie ink is white board marker (like Expo brand). Something in the ink works as a solvent on the Sharpie. Go over the Sharpie mark with the white board marker and then wipe away. Seriously. I’ve tried it and it works. Of course, you should probably test on your surface first.

    • Martha says

      Any suggestions for candle wax that was splattered on a painted wall?
      Also, anything besides ammonia to remove built up wax on a linoleum floor?
      Thank you :)

      • Melanie says

        You’ve probably already dealt with this, but my go-to for wax is (on heat-safe surfaces, even carpet!) place a paper bag over the wax, then iron the bag on the lowest effective heat setting. The heat will melt the wax and it’ll get drawn into the paper.

  5. says

    Baking soda is amazing. I always at least 10 boxes because I use it for everything – from cleaning to washing my hair to eliminating smells.

    • Susanu says

      You can baking soda in bulk and if you have a place to store it…you can get 50 lbs bag at a feed store (sodium bicarbonate) for around $15.

  6. Cynthia Elliott says

    Finally. I have tried everything to get that gunk off of my cabinets and all I did was make them sticky. Although, the vinegar and Dawn concoction worked pretty good. Now if someone can tell me how to get the baked on stuff off of my gas stove burners……..

    • JO says

      There is a recipe on Pinterest for this. Put each of your burners in a gallon size ziplock bag along with 2-3 tbsp ammonia. Make sure you don’t puncture the bag. Let them sit for 12 hours.

      I haven’t tried this and am a little concerned about the ammonia as it’s pretty strong stuff. If I try it, I will set the bags in my kitchen sink in case they leak. Good luck!

      • Becky says

        The amonia trick absolutely works! It’s what I used to do before I got a flat top stop. My grandmother showed me that trick years and years ago. I don’t care for amonia either and don’t really have a use for it anymore but it never failed to do the job. Placing the bags in a sink is always a good idea too, then no worries if they do leak.

      • Marianne says

        I have used this method for years with the racks from my oven. I do it OUTSIDE, put them in a black yard bag on a warm, sunny day – works like a charm, without any major elbow grease. Depending on the level of caked on grease, you might have to do it again, but IT DOES WORK!

      • CTY says

        Cynthia If you mean the grates I second Jo’s method. If you mean the actual burners–I don’t have electric so I am no help there–but if they are gas try this. Go to a hardware store and buy a metal brush (like a tooth brush with metal bristles)–use it all around where the gas flows from. Don’t use it on the main stove because it will scratch severely. The gas technician cleaned mine rather vigorously this way—I used to think such drastic measures would do damage–but not here.
        Also I used every chemical I had to try and get rid of burnt on orange marmalade (on the main stove) that I canned–it would not budge. So then I tried Jillee’s baking soda and peroxide paste and tiny pieces came off. There were 4 spots the size of a quarter and hundreds little spatters. Well I did this over & over. I made the jam in Jan 2012 and just last week (Feb 2013) I got the last bit off. 2013’s marmalade canning I had foil as a barrier.
        Good Luck

      • Betty says

        About Ammonia to clean stove top burners; rings around burner elements, etc. My mother would take a heavy duty garbage bag and put all these inside, then she would pour about 1/2 cup ammonia in the bag and tie it tightly and set it outside on her back steps until next day when cleaning them was a breeze.

        Don’t worry about dogs, cats, etc. getting in the bag as one way to stop dogs from turning garbage cans over when set out for pick up is to put a little ammonia inside top of garbage can and the smell keeps animals away.

      • Betty says

        One additional thought: A friend introduced me to ammonia to clean just about everything in her kitchen. She used it on her small toaster oven inside and out, just about everything.

        Upon seeing her great success, I began using same on everything in my kitchen…even put the filters for stove top vents in bag along with oven racks, etc.

        Word of caution: I made the mistake of using it on the painted vent hood of my stove top and eventually the ammonia made the paint blister and peel up, resulting in having to replace the hood. So, beware of using it on paint.

      • stacy says

        The amonia in the zip lock bags really does work. I put mine in the sink just in case of leaks. With 2 teenagers in the house I have never been able to leave them in for the whole 12 hours and it works good.

      • Ruth says

        I use ammonia to clean the racks of the grill outside and the oven racks also put a cup or two of ammonia in a garbage bag and put the racks in the garbage bag and tie tight and put in the garage or outside for a day and the take the racks out and put in sink and the dirt falls off. Really works also.

      • Judy H says

        I HAVE used this method, and it’s amazing. My burner grates and trays look like brand new, and they had a lot of burned on grease spots on them.

      • Harriette says

        I have been putting my oven racks and burners in a double trash bag with a cup of ammonia, tying it tightly and placing it outside overnight. That way, you are not overcome by the fumes. The next morning, rinse, scrub the tough parts and they are shiny clean.

    • GA Gyrle says

      A paste of baking soda and Dawn worked wonders on my oldglass baking dishes with the years of baked on “gunk”. They look brand new. Try that for your stove and see if it works. Good Luck.

    • Melanie says

      Try using her tip about soaking oven racks in the tub overnight with hot hot water and 4 dryer sheets. Worked on my racks–bet it would work for your burners, or at least help a lot.

    • Christy says

      Yes!! Would love to know how to deep clean my gas stove “pans” (where everything drips). Thanks for motivating me to get cleaning!!

      • Cynthia says

        Thanks everyone!! I guess there is no reason not to clean my stove now. Gotta get some ammonia and get busy.

    • katie says

      pumice! sounds crazy, but it works wonders! we bought ours in a stick shape at the grocery store and they have them in bed, bath, and beyond, too!

    • Bobbi says

      Put the burners in a garbage bag and splash with amonia, close and tie bag shut, let set for 2 – 3 days take out and wash with soap and water. Works awesome.

    • Nicole says

      Try putting the burners each in a gallon storage/freezer zip top type bag with about 1/4 cup ammonia in each and let them sit over night. I set mine in the sink in the event that they leaked, but they didn’t. In the morning take them out of the bags and effortlessly scrub off the baked on gunk with the scrubby side of a sponge. I’ve tried and it and to my AMAZEMENT it WORKS!!! They looked brand new; clean and shiny!

    • Susan says

      If you have a self cleaning oven, place them in the oven and set the self clean on..they will be like new after you wipe them down!

    • carolyn says

      Put your grates from you stove in your dishwasher. They come out very clean. Use Cascade powder. Not the liquid. It does work.

      For the wells below the grates, use baking soda with a small bit of water to make a past and scrub, that will help take the grime off.

      If your wells come out, put them in a pan of boiling water with a couple of teaspoons of baking soda, and let them boil. The baking soda helps it to boil off.–this also works in pans with stuck on food.

    • Heather G. says

      Make a paste of baking soda and water, and a little elbow grease. Works like a charm…I use it often. :-)

    • susanne says

      I put the burners in a ziplock back full of ammonia and left it outside overnight. Worked like a charm. I have these burner plate thingies under mine, and i admit i haven’t tried it on those yet, but I won’t do it for as long.

    • Laura says

      Tyr making a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Leave on all day. Clean it up by wipong it away. Works on baked on greasy ovens

    • Diana Solko says

      Put dawn dish soap , vinegar and baking soda in hot water in sink let them soak and wash off. I use this and works if really bad it takes some scraping.

  7. Mayra says

    Hi Jillee,

    Definitely going to try this!! Question: will it work on tiles (backsplash) and refridgerator?? The tiles behind my stove as well as my fridge (being next to my stove) gets hit with the gunky stuff as well and i would love to try it on it if i can. :)