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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    • 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

  1. 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. :))))

  2. 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!

  3. 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 :)

  4. 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.

      • 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.

    • 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!

    • 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.

    • 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.

  5. 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. :)


  6. Deniseinark says

    There is one other tiny addition and, as wonderful as this tip is, it gets even better: apply and rub it just a bit, then let it sit for 10 minutes. This gives the oil time soak in and soften the gunk and practically does the work for you with no scrubbing. If you are unfortunate enough to be faced with seriously thick gunk (I occasionally did when cleaning rentals) use a plastic card and scrape off the worst of it first. Work smarter, not harder!!

  7. Suzanne says

    Definitely going to give this a try. The last time I tried with a bought cleaner for the gunk, it took part of the finish off. I’m wanting to paint my cabinets, but have been putting it off due to my procrastinating in getting the GUNK off. I think I foresee a new project in my future!!!

  8. Ambiac says

    I have 50+ year old cabinets that are disgusting! Even after a great cleaning by my Mom before we moved into the Orchard House in November, they still look like they are dripping with…who knows what! I can’t wait to try this! Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. says

    Thanks Jill, another wonderful concoction. I have cabinets that are carved even over my vent hood. I have been trying to get it clean for the last 5 years, this will solve that issue.
    You have beautiful Oak cabinets. Rather than replace them just swap out some new hardware! Say Nickel pulls(they are really HOT right now).

  10. Donielle says

    Do you have to let this mixture sit on the cabinets for a while to better remove everything or can you start to clean them right away. I love your blog Jillie ever since I found this website I have been making everything I can possible use and have saved a lot in the process which is a good thing with 4 kids.Thanks again

  11. Sharon Rose says

    Jillee: Your cleaning recipes are great for preppers! Where they’d have to stockpile name brand or store brand items, they can now make their own with ACV, baking soda, peroxide, etc. I think your book of aquired recipes will be a big hit! I have most of the ones I “admired” printed out and in page protectors in a binder. Thank you for all your work. Love this site..

  12. Brenda says

    Just in time! I was noticing the grime near the handles last week and I chose to make myself ignore it. This looks like an easy enough project and maybe I can even get my son to help. I suspect much of the grime may have originated with him…. hmmmm?

  13. CTY says

    I feel like the Grime Fighters from that old TV commercial. That’s Fantastik— No it “One Good Thing by Jillee” I’ll tell you my house is the cleanest it has ever been. I always put the hours in but only got so-so results. I find that the cleaners/methods Jillee passes to us to be extremely effective. The house is clean– no yellowing–no residue–and no just getting the top layer. Even better–the cleaners are cheap, green, double as disinfectants and you can breath around them without going into respiratory distress. And the icing on the cake–they take less elbow grease. I spend way less time cleaning, and my house and it is cleaner. Like Deniseinark said— “…work smarter, not harder”.
    Thanx Jillee

  14. Sunshine1985 says

    I have been waiting for this post! LOL! Mine look horrible but I just kept saying Jillee will come through and deliver something amazing. You never fail! Don’t you ever quit on us! :) Blessings!!!

  15. says

    Sharon, I would test it out on an inconspicuous spot first (maybe inside one of your lower cabinet doors) but I really don’t think it will scratch even cherry cabinets. Baking soda is so gentle that way you can even use it on your face!

  16. kathy says

    do you think this would work on painted steel doors. ive tried everything to get off the winter salt stains with no luck. my trusty venegar didnt work. im afraid to try anything else, lets say some thinhs have uhmmmm left their own marks.

  17. Gail says

    I have a detailed cherry wood surround on my kitchen fume hood that is gunky to infinity and beyond. None of the finished-wood-safe products really get it clean no matter how hard I try.

    I’ll be giving this a go today! Thanks!

  18. Sally says

    I discovered this “recipe” several months ago when I needed to get labels off of some containers. I had tried nearly every idea on the internet, but the oil and baking soda was the only thing that worked.

  19. Sunshine1985 says

    It’s good to know you will stick around forever! :) Oh and I just tried this. It worked! I mean I knew it would, if you said it did! :) Mine are horrible. This house is about 25 years old and we bought it 2 years ago. These cabinets have been bugging me for TWO years! I ran off to clean and didn’t read all of the comments but I learned the hard way…let it sit for a while if it’s really dirty. :) Only a million more cabinets to go. Thanks Jillee!

  20. Marleen says

    I just finished trying out your tip on cleaning the oil build up on my hood fan with Oil – my hubby was sceptical, but we were both amazed at the resutls. I finally have a clean hood fan! I noticed my cupboards above the hood fan were looking grimy so I tried oil on those, but that didn’t really work. they look shiny, but not clean. Now I can go to work cleaning with this solution. I’ll have to get retired hubby to help me on this one! Thank you so much – I love your blog!

    • Kate says

      I sprayed my cabinets with my water with a splash of vinegar solution afterwards and it worked great. It wasn’t so much the oil I had but the baking soda left the cabinets feeling a little chalky. One wipe down was all it took to make it go away.

  21. Beth says

    Perfect! My cabinets are seriously gunked up and even my steamer didn’t really do a great job, I have tried everything I could think of and this is exactly what I needed to see right now. I never liked this kitchen, and the gunk on the dark wood doors just has been on my last nerve. Thanks so much!

  22. STACEY says

    Your timing is uncanny !!! We moved into our new house a little over a year ago (11-11-11) and the tops of my kitchen cabinets are AWFUL, FILTHY AND GREASY….I’ve managed to ignore them (you know – out of site, out of mind), but no more. I plan on cleaning them, now that I’M ARMED AND DANGEROUS TO DIRT !!!
    Thanks for EVERYTHING YOU DO and God bless ……

    • Christa says

      Here’s a little tip … once you’ve got the top of the cabinets clean, lay down strips of wax paper to fit the width and length of the space. The next time you decide to clean the tops again, all you have to do is throw away the gunky wax paper, and put down new strips!

  23. Ellen says

    Do you think this would work on furniture? My husband’s Mission style easy chair has wood arms that have a buildup of body oils on them. I’ve tried almost everything to get it off including Murphy’s oil soap. Also, our wood headboard has some spots that need “de-gunking”


  1. [...] Kitchen Gunk Remover by One Good Thing by Jillee 1 part vegetable oil and 2 parts baking soda. Scrub with a toothbrush. I was a little skeptical about this at first–vegetable oil to clean up gunk??? But seriously, that paste cleaned up some of the nastiest stuff, especially over my stove. [...]

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