How to Deodorize Wood Cabinets with Vinegar and Baking soda

wooden cabinet cover

It’s a common problem: you’re staring at your wood cabinets, freshly painted in that stunning shade of cobalt blue or jade green or goldenrod yellow. You’ve just completely revitalized your kitchen, and it looks amazing. Then you open the door to stick some dishes away—and you’re hit with that smell.

It could be BO from a sweaty socks drawer. It could be the lingering remains of someone’s forgotten cantaloupe from two weeks ago. Whatever the source, we all have our cabinets stink out on us at some point or another.

The vinegar and baking soda combination is an ideal solution for cleaning wooden cabinets without using harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia (which can damage the wood).

Vinegar is an effective deodorizer because it neutralizes odor molecules instead of covering them up. Plus it has antibacterial properties—so hand sanitizer can’t brag about that one!

Baking soda also naturally neutralizes odors, which means this recipe works on virtually any smell-causing substance—from smoke to rotting fruit. Baking soda can handle them.

In this article, you’ll learn how to clean your wood cabinets with the help of baking soda and vinegar.

Let’s get started.

What You’ll Need:

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Soft cloths
  • Sponge
  • Water
  • Paper towels
  • Tablespoon
  • Cleaning gloves
  • Vacuum (optional)


  1. Put on cleaning gloves.
  2. Mix 3 tablespoons of vinegar with 2 cups of water in the spray bottle, then spray your cabinets with the vinegar solution. Wipe away any excess solution with a damp cloth.
  3. Sprinkle baking soda over your cabinets, and leave them overnight to sit.
  4. The next day, wipe away all traces of baking soda residue before cleaning the rest of your kitchen as usual. You can also use a vacuum for this.
  5. Open the doors to let air in to dry the inside of the cabinet. Make sure it’s completely dry before you place anything inside.

Won’t Vinegar and Baking Soda Damage Wooden Cabinets?

No, they won’t. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer and disinfectant. Baking soda is also a deodorizer, as well as a gentle abrasive that helps lift away dirt. Both baking soda and vinegar are safe for the environment and are not corrosive or toxic to humans or pets. Just make sure that you dilute the vinegar in water. Don’t spray vinegar directly on your wood cabinet.

If you have any concerns about using vinegar and baking soda on your wooden cabinets, you can test the process on an inconspicuous area of your cabinetry first to be sure you like the results.

Why Use Baking Soda and Vinegar to Clean Wood Cabinets?

Baking soda and white vinegar are both inexpensive, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly. They have odor-eliminating qualities and they’re natural disinfectants. If you have pets in your household that frequent the kitchen, this can be especially helpful to ensure your kitchen cabinets don’t smell like your dog or cat’s paws after they’ve been outdoors!

How Often Should You Clean Wood Cabinets?

How often you should use this technique to deodorize your wood cabinets depends on how smelly they are. After the initial cleaning, it’s a good idea to give your cabinets a deep clean like this once a month or so to prevent them from getting too stinky.

Once you’ve cleaned your cabinets with this method, you may want to consider applying an oil-based finish to them. This will help protect the wood and prevent smells from building up again in the future.

Also, make sure that any food items like chips and sauces are sealed before placing them inside the cabinet to avoid spills that cause stinkiness and can even be a breeding ground for germs and mold.


That’s it! You have now cleaned your cabinets without any harsh chemicals. The odor of vinegar will dissipate quickly, and you can now enjoy fresh-smelling wood cabinets.

I hope that you give this natural method of cleaning cabinets a try.

Are you looking for more ways to baking soda around the kitchen? Check out my article on how to use baking soda to deodorize your fridge.

Thank you for reading!

-Baking Soda Guy

Cover Photo by Printexstar from Pexels