How to Clean Shelves

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Sabi asked: Is there a procedure for cleaning shelves? How can I clean my kitchen shelves?

Shelves offer valuable storage room as well as a beautiful way to showcase special pieces all over the house. Whether your shelve are in the bedroom, living room or kitchen, they will need to be cleaned from time to time. Here are some steps to make the job a little easier.

You Will Need:

  • Boxes
  • Paper towels
  • Cleaning products:
    • Wooden shelves: Murphy’s Oil Soap or other wood cleaning product
    • Plastic/Resin shelves: all purpose cleaner
    • Glass shelves: Windex or other glass cleaner
    • Metal shelves: Cleaner designed for specific type of metal
  • Soft cloths
  • Swiffer duster (optional)

Steps to Clean the Shelves:

  1. Begin by removing all of the items from the shelf. If the individual items need cleaning as well, this is a great time to do so.
  2. Place the items in a box and set it off to the side.
  3. If there are several shelves, start at the top and work your way down. This way, if any dust or debris falls, it will land on a shelf that has not yet been cleaned.
  4. Once the shelf is clear, dust it with a soft cloth or Swiffer duster to remove any loose dust. If the shelf is lined (such as a bathroom, kitchen or closet shelf), remove the lining and clean that as well.
  5. Now you are ready to clean the shelf itself. Use an cleaner designed for the material that the shelf is made of.
  6. Wipe the shelf down with a soft cloth and the cleaning product.
  7. Rinse if necessary.
  8. Dry with a soft cloth.
  9. Replace the shelf liner, if applicable.
  10. Return all of the removed items to the shelf.
  11. Continue onto the next shelf, repeating the steps above.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If the shelves have greasy residue or dirt and dust build up, see the guides How to Clean Kitchen Cabinets and How to Remove Dirt Build Up from Wooden Furniture for additional cleaning tips and advice.
  • Dusting the shelves periodically (at least weekly) will help extend the time between needed deep cleanings.
  • Shelves in high moisture rooms, including the bathroom and kitchen, will need  to be cleaned more frequently.
  • When all of the items are removed, it allows for a great time to sort through items that need to be kept or thrown away. These items can be sorted as you are removing them or replacing them, whichever is easiest for you.
  • Bookshelves are another area that need to be cleaned regularly. It not only looks better, it helps to make the books last longer as well.

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