Metal kitchen or storage cabinets often become the recipients of sticky fingerprints, grease, and marks. The metal finish might seem like it isn’t as tolerant of dirt as wooden cabinets. However, cleaning metal cabinets is an easy task with the right tools. Protecting the finish of a metal cabinet requires the use of gentle cleaning products and elbow grease instead of a standard tough scrubber pad.


Step 1

Apply rubbing alcohol to a clean cloth to tackle the cabinet areas featuring extensive grease buildup. Wipe the area repeatedly using the alcohol-covered cloth until all traces of grease disappear. Do not remove built-up grime with any kind of sharp object or scrubbing pad. Scrubbing will permanently mar the surface of the metal cabinet.

Step 2

Mix two tablespoons of mild dish detergent with warm water in a bucket. Submerge the sponge and wring it out as much as possible.

Step 3

Wipe down all cabinet surfaces using the sponge, including around handles and hinges. Don’t forget the inside of the doors, shelving and sides of the cabinet. Rinse dirt out of the sponge as needed, making sure to never apply an excess amount of water to the metal cabinet. Do not press hard against the metal surface. Hold the damp sponge against any stubborn stains to loosen the grime and gently wipe clean.

Step 4

Dry completed areas of the cabinet with paper towels or clean, soft rags to avoid streaking. Surfaces should be shiny and clean to allow easy application of the wax.

Step 5

Apply a thin layer of car wax using a soft cloth. Use circular strokes, just like when waxing a car, to cover the surfaces of the metal cabinet. Allow the wax to dry to a haze based on manufacturer’s instructions provided with the product (10 to 15 minutes).


Step 6

Buff the wax off the metal cabinet surfaces using a clean, soft buffing rag. Flip the rag over to clean sections to prevent streaking. Finish off with a good buffing with a completely dry rag to bring the cabinet to a high shine.

Tips & Warnings

  • Repair rust spots or scratched sections of the cabinet by carefully sanding the area with fine grit sandpaper. Blend the surface just like you would when sanding drywall putty during wall patching. Apply a light spray layer of a high-quality finish that matches the cabinet color. Clear-coat sprays for this application can be found a hardware stores.

Things Needed

  • Mild dish detergent
  • Bucket
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Warm water
  • Sponge
  • Clean rags
  • Paper towels
  • Car wax

Photo Credits

  • Special Thanks to Ricardo Marquez for the lovely photo!