Crystal Cabinet Care
Kitchen Care is Simple with Expert Advice from Western Products and Crystal Cabinet Works!
Arm yourself with a few helpful care tips, and Crystal cabinets will provide a lifetime of beauty. People celebrate natural wood for its durability and versatility. But, be mindful of several factors. Proper care includes attentive cleaning, polishing, and careful avoidance of damaging household cleaners.
We also offer tips on how to care for your laminate countertops, butcher block, and sink base. For optimal appearance and functionality, follow the care and cleaning instructions below.
Crystal Cabinet Care 101
After installation, wipe the cabinets clean with a soft, damp cloth. Then, dry immediately with another clean, soft cloth. Always wipe in the direction of the wood grain.
Regular cleaning (including spills) only requires wiping with a microfiber cloth dampened with warm water. After that, immediately dry using a second clean, soft cloth. For best care, clean spills immediately. Make sure to do a thorough cabinet exterior cleaning a few times a year. We recommend cleaning small areas at a time. If left uncleaned, oils and contaminants can build up on frequently touched cabinet surfaces.
To remove stains, oil, grease, food residue, or daily spills, use a clean cloth dampened with a solution of mild dishwashing liquid and water. Crystal Cabinets recommends mixing four to five drops of Dawn® soap to one gallon of water. Do not use a dirty dishcloth to clean the cabinets. Dirty cloths may contain remnants of detergents and grease that can be harmful to the finish.
Of course, after wiping/blotting, promptly dry the surface with a clean, soft cloth in the direction of the grain.
Avoid Harsh Cleansers & Self-Polishing Waxes
Harsh cleaners and self-polishing waxes can damage the finish of your cabinetry. Avoid using cleaners that contain the following: bleach, ammonia, citrus products (including orange and lemon oil), mineral oil, organic solvents, harsh detergents, strong soaps, abrasive cleansers, or self-polishing waxes (particularly products that contain silicone).
We do not recommend using paste wax because of the build-up and yellowing effects over time. If desired, you can use a high-quality cream furniture polish found at high-end furniture or paint stores, but it is not necessary.
Maintain, Protect & Adjust
Even with high-quality finishes, touch-up finishing may be required. Cabinets may get chipped or scratched during installation or from common items like cutlery, jewelry, or fingernails.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays in natural sunlight may affect the color appearance of your cabinets. As a result, wood and painted finish colors can fade, darken or discolor if exposed to prolonged direct sunlight.
Even with normal use, adjustments to cabinet hardware may also be necessary. Occasional hinge screw tightening or door/drawer alignments are also common maintenance. Please contact your Western Products consultant for options and recommendations.
Appliance Humidity & Water Exposure
Appliance humidity and water spills are the worst enemies of any finish. Cabinetry near the sink, dishwasher, and baseboards are most susceptible to damage. If water spills, dry off the areas immediately. Avoid draping dish towels or other wet items over doors, or placing coffee makers or crockpots where steam vents directly onto cabinet surfaces.
Avoid Extreme Temperature & Humidity
Extremes in temperature and humidity can cause wood to expand and contract. Lack of temperature care means potential damage to the finish of your Crystal Cabinets in terms of swelling, warping, and drying out. It is important to control the temperature and humidity in your home all year long in order to properly follow product care procedures.
You should allow minor warping to go through one heating cycle before considering replacement. See the “Wood and Moisture Guide” for more information.
Note: Extreme heat from the self-cleaning feature on your oven can result in damage to the surrounding cabinetry. To minimize the risk of damage, it is recommended to remove cabinet doors and drawers closest to the oven before using the self-cleaning feature.
Wipe Away Moisture
- Repeated short-term exposure to excessive moisture, such as splashing of surfaces from a sink or even a single longer-term event such as flooding WILL result in irreversible damage to wood cabinetry.
- Farm and apron sink cabinets are especially prone to water exposure.
- Steam, as from cooktops, crock pots, and improperly sealed dishwasher doors, can cause problems as well.
- Moisture should be wiped from surfaces immediately to minimize damage.
- If wood has a chance to absorb excess moisture, efforts should be made to dry out the wood, including substrates, immediately.
- Avoid direct high heat and instead use fans, dehumidifiers, and moisture-absorbing cloth and compounds.
- Immediate attention reduces the amount of damage and also reduces the likelihood of mold and mildew.
How Humidity Affects Your Cabinetry
Proper care of wood and any Crystal cabinets includes providing an optimal, temperature-controlled environment. Thankfully, many of the internal environmental issues that affect human comfort also contribute to a wood-healthy environment. Specifically, controlled temperature and humidity with minimal changes from day to day and season to season will ensure a long life for your cabinetry.
It’s important to note that wood expands as humidity increases, then shrinks as humidity decreases.
While unfinished (exposed) wood will exhibit the most dramatic changes, finished wood will still change with long-term humidity variations. Regardless, this is the nature of a product made from wood, and not a reason for replacement. Most often, if the humidity level is returned to a normal level and maintained for a period of time, these issues will disappear.
Exposure to extreme humidity, moisture, and temperature will cause permanent damage to cabinetry. Indoor relative humidity should have a range of 35% to 50%.
- Extreme conditions (lower than 20% or higher than 80%) need to be avoided.
- Finishes and other coatings, such as laminate or foil, temper humidity swings by slowing the transfer of moisture, but they do not stop it entirely.
- Solid wood will dimensionally change more across the grain than with the grain.
- Plywood, particleboard, and fiberboard are more dimensionally stable.
- Particleboard and fiberboard, exposed to water directly, will expand in thickness quickly and dramatically.
- 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.
- 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.
Dry Air Conditions
While most focus is on too wet (damp) or too humid conditions, overly dry conditions can be equally damaging to cabinetry. To properly care for your Crystal Cabinets, it’s important to note the following issues:
- Cracking in solid wood components.
- Under dry conditions, the insert panels in panel doors will shrink and the panel edges will be exposed.
- The exposed, unfinished panel edges will not match the finished surface of the rest of the panel and door.
- This is not a reason for replacement but is instead an indication that humidity levels are too low and need to be remedied.
Temperature variation may cause some of the same issues as humidity variation and the two are often interrelated.
- Increasing temperatures cause materials to expand.
- Temperature decreases cause materials to contract or shrink.
- Sudden temperature changes cause more dramatic material changes.
- More likely to lead to cracking, and splitting in solid wood.
- More likely to lead to warping, cupping, and bowing in any wood components.
- Use dehumidifiers and/or air conditioners in summer to control excess humidity.
- Use a humidifier to keep the air from becoming too dry in winter.
- Maintain climate control during the off-season of vacation homes to reduce the risk of damage.
- Prior to installation of new cabinets, well in advance, acclimate the cabinetry by moving it into the room it will be in when done. If this is not possible, use an adjoining room of similar climate conditions.
- Do not store in a garage, basement, or other unheated or unconditioned space prior to installation.
- Be sure to have proper outside drainage, adequate insulation, properly installed vapor barriers, adequate and proper ventilation, and air exchange.
Crystal Cabinets' Laminate Basic Care
With proper care, Crystal Cabinets’ laminate products will last a lifetime. Luckily, a damp sponge or soft cloth is all you need for everyday maintenance. However, you can wash the surface with warm water and a mild dishwashing detergent. The important thing is to avoid abrasive cleansers and cleaning tools.
You should also steer clear of products containing aggressive acids or abrasives as they may cause damage to laminate finishes (Lime-A-Way, Soft Scrub, Tilex, etc.)To clean, we always recommend a soft cloth. Stay away from “stiff” paper towels. These can leave tiny scratches that dull the surface. In this case, fine scratches may be covered with a light spray furniture polish.
Put the Knife Away!
Never, ever use a laminate countertop as a cutting surface. Always use a chopping block to avoid chipping and scratching.
Spots & Stains
For stubborn spots and stains, mix baking soda and water to create a paste. Use a soft bristle brush to gently rub the spot in a circular motion. The paste will be slightly abrasive, so work carefully, pressing very lightly. Rinse and dry with a soft cloth. Repeat the process as long as you’re making progress.
If the stain remains, use undiluted household bleach; the label should read 5% solution of sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl). Take special care to protect your eyes, skin, and clothing. Apply the bleach using a wet sponge or paper towel, then place it on the stain, and let sit for no longer than one and a half minutes. Rinse repeatedly with warm water and dry with a soft cloth.
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Crystal Cabinets' Maple Products and Butcher Block Basic Care
Crystal Cabinets’ top-quality butcher block is intended to be used as a true cutting surface. Clean your Crystal Cabinets block like you would any cutting surface, taking care not to allow water to remain on the surface for any prolonged period of time.
Occasionally, use mineral or vegetable oil to reseal and help preserve your block. Reseal only the area on which you frequently cut. Upon years of heavy use, it may become necessary to refinish the block. Sand off the finish and reseal using either a mineral or vegetable oil or with “Good Stuff” Urethane Gel clear protective finish. For extra protection, use felt or cloth under plastic or rubber objects, as their ingredients may react with wood countertops.
Crystal Cabinets' Sink Base Care
Our sink bases do not require an extra liner or treatment to protect against chemical and moisture damage, unlike other companies. Crystal’s melamine and clear-finished maple veneer interiors are both impervious to moisture and can withstand protracted exposure to water and household cleaning products.
However, extra measures should be taken if holes are drilled through the bottom for plumbing and/or wiring. At a minimum, to prevent moisture from coming in contact with the substrate, the edges of the hole(s) should be carefully sealed.
We recommend cutting the minimum size hole(s) needed. After the plumbing and wiring are done, we recommend completely fill the remaining space with a high-quality caulk. This will prevent moisture from getting to the substrate, and/or passing into the space under the cabinet.
At the same time, a narrow bead of caulk around the perimeter of the cabinet bottom will prevent moisture from seeping into the cabinet joints. This is where damage to the substrate can occur.
Since 1948, Western Products has provided quality products, professional installation, and exceptional service. This is how we became the most trusted name for custom cabinets in the Upper Midwest. Schedule a free consultation, or contact us for more information on Crystal cabinet care at 800-743-3632.