Caring for Wood Cabinets
Now that your cabinets are like new again we wanted to give you some information that you would probably receive from a manufacturer when you buy new cabinets. There are some problems that can occur with wood cabinetry that are not a result of poor workmanship in the cabinet or the finish coatings. It is likely that you will not have any of these problems, but if you do we want to help by providing you the proper information to troubleshoot the problem.
With proper care, your cabinetry will stay looking and working great for many years. Proper care includes providing an environment that is wood friendly. Controlled temperature and humidity with minimal changes from day to day and season to season will allow your cabinets to be their best. Temperature and humidity levels that are healthy and comfortable for humans are generally great for wood cabinetry as well.
Although there are many cleaners that may work on our coating we recommend using dish soap and a soft cloth/ towel. For regular cleaning, a small amount of dish soap saturated throughout a damp washrag should do. Then wiping dry when finished to buff off any remaining residue haze from the soap will leave them looking new again. If there is any type of scuff or residue that is more stubborn add a dab of dish soap to a part of the rag with a little more water and gently wipe that area with the soapy area of the rag to take care of the difficult area. Dish soap should be enough for almost everything you will encounter.
Wiping down your cabinets occasionally and preventing gunk from building up on them will keep the finish looking it's best for a very long time. This is especially important on doors that get a lot of use, like cabinets with trash cans, where sticky residue buildup over time can compromise areas of the coating.
If you get something like permanent marker on your cabinets or anything that just won't easily come off we have found Citrus Goo-gone to work well at these hard to remove spots. Take care not to rub aggressively, you should not need to.
If you want to try other methods test on the backside of a door first to be sure it works.
Moisture and Water Damage
Repeated exposure to excessive moisture such as splashing of surfaces from a sink will result in damage to your wood which will also affect the coating on your cabinetry.
Steam, as from cooktops, crock pots and improperly sealed dishwasher doors, could cause problems with the wood. If you see problems developing consider making some changes.
Moisture should be wiped from surfaces immediately to minimize damage.
Immediate attention reduces the amount of damage and also reduces the likelihood of mold and mildew.
Even finished wood will change with long term changes in humidity.
Wood expands as humidity increases and shrinks as humidity decreases.
As wood expands (swells) and contracts with changes in humidity, the finish at joints will crack.
This cracking is universal but is much more evident on light colored paint than on stains or dark paints.
Under really dry conditions, the insert panels in panel doors will shrink and the panel edges will be exposed.
Where humidity exposure is uneven, pieces may warp, cup or bow.
Extremely dry conditions can result in wood parts splitting and/or cracking in addition to shrinkage as described above.
The optimal humidity level is 35% to 50% relative humidity.
Extreme conditions (lower than 20% or higher than 80%) especially need to be avoided.
Most often, if the humidity level is returned to a normal level and maintained for a period of time, these issues will disappear.
Temperature variation can cause some of the same problems as humidity variation and the two are often interrelated.
Temperature increases cause materials to expand, temperature decreases cause materials to contract or shrink.
Sudden temperature changes cause more dramatic material changes.
Cabinet boxes and trim attached to them can also stress with changes to the indoor climate or in some cases improper fastening. Being attached to the house settling can also have an effect. Hairline cracks may develop on edges in some areas under these circumstances.
Movement in joints can also be a cause for hairline cracks or openings. This happens even with brand new cabinets, don't be alarmed this is not a coating failure. If the joint can move and shift with the use of the door, the finish along that joint will open as well to allow for the wood movement.
Use dehumidifiers and/or air conditioners in summer to control excess humidity in the summer.
Use a humidifier to keep the air from becoming too dry in winter.
Maintain climate control during the offseason of vacation homes to reduce the risk of damage.
Do not dial down too low while away from home.
Properly controlling temperature and humidity inside your house is healthier for you as well as your cabinetry and all of your woodwork and furniture.
Enjoy your Cabinetry! Wood is resilient and if accidents happen we are here to help. The fresh look of your painted cabinetry will bring you joy every time you enter the room!