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What Do You Clean Food Pantry/Cabinet Interiors With?

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Okay. For the first time in a couple of years I'm taking a New Year's plunge & going thru everything in my food pantry cabinets. Saving/tossing, etc. Am wondering what I can use to clean the interior of the cabinet before replacing the good "goods".

There's a "old" smell inside. Not rancid or bad, just sort of "old". I don't want to use furniture polish or anything like that (pantry cabinet is finished inside), but would like to scrub down the shelves & also get rid of that old smell before re-installing the good/fresh stuff.

Any ideas?

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  1. What's the inside of your cabinets made of?

    I've got Formica cabinets. I take everything out, wipe down with water. Then, fantastik or Lysol kitchen cleaner. Let it sit a few minutes and wipe down with a paper towel.

    If I'm feeling ambitious, wipe down with ammonia or Lysol liquid and a rag.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cheesecake17

      The interior is finished wood.

    2. If it's wood, try some citrus oil based cleaner or make a solution from CitraSolve or similar, maybe? I love the smell of orange oil. It leaves behind a great, clean smell.

      Alternatively, a white vinegar solution will be germicidal and odor killing.

      This is a great winter task, one that I did in autumn this year, so I'm going through file drawers and getting back to the perfect order I try to attain at the first of every year.

      1. I use baking soda on a damp sponge and then wipe clean with a damp paper towel. Also helps to just leave the cabinets open for a day so they can "air out."

        1. White vinegar and water solution. Smells good, cheap, no toxic mystery chemicals.

          4 Replies
          1. re: tcamp

            I thought of vinegar, but am not sure - even diluted with water - if that's safe for finished wood.

            1. re: Bacardi1

              Likely not.
              Where I have finished wood/hardwood it's extra diluted Murphy's or water only and wipe dry.If there something harder to get off I may resort to GooGone and get it off ASAP.

              1. re: Bacardi1

                I would not think a weak vinegar solution would hurt the finish. As they say, "try in an inconspicuous area first" if you're concerned about it. It will take care of the smell.

                1. re: Bacardi1

                  It is. In fact, white vinegar in plain water is what my floor refinisher told me is the only thing to use on my wood floors. Very dilute, it doesn't take a lot to disinfect or kill odors.

                  One thing he told me never to use is Murphy's oil soap. He said it penetrates and does something to the wood or the finish that is irreparable, just a beast to ever get rid of in future refinishing maintenance. I think it prevents adhesion by floor finishes of any kind, he said.

              2. Mostly plain water.If that isn't up to the task I use Murphy's Oil soap or Cinch,both will take care of odors.I don't like the smell of either so I wipe again with plain water.
                Old,stale odors will likely be solved with a good wipe and air out in cabinets you go in and out of a lot.Not so easy when it's two antique corner cabinets you buy,not opened so much because they were only used for silver and dolls for forty years.

                1. I use the Amway kitchen cleaner. It is okay to put in your body, cleans surfaces and leaves a fresh (but not disinfectant) smell.
                  My pantry is finished wood.

                  1. Usually just hot water and a clean cloth. Can get greasy in parts so our usual general purpose cleaner gets added to the water. 'Tis a twice yearly job for me, which includes a check on "use by" dates and binning any other crap that's lurking in there. These are the cabinets in the kitchen - wish we had a house big enough for a pantry.

                    1. A little dish soap and hot water, with an overnight "air dry" would be my suggestion. It's what I did in my old apartment that had wood cabinets.

                      Now I have formica, they are much easier to clean.

                      1. Sounds so old fashioned, but I am a big fan of shelf liner. If anything drips or gets messy, it's easy to change out the liner next time you do a clean out.

                        1. My cabinets and pantry are wood. I use removable shelf liners for the ones that hold my tableware/pots and pans but the rest are bare wood. Once I year I pull everything out and clean them top to bottom using a spray bottle of water and vinegar and a scrubby sponge.