To keep your kitchen’s upper cabinets looking good, lightweight shelf paper on the bottoms, and making a habit of drying any wetness off of dishware you may store there, may be all you need. Protecting the bottoms of lower cabinets is more of a challenge, however. Leaks, spills and everyday use can damage the surface of the cabinet bottoms and even increase the risk of mold and mildew growth. With proper care and maintenance, you can protect the interiors of your lower cabinets and preserve their condition.
If the interiors of your lower kitchen cabinets have already suffered some damage, repair them. Placing a protective covering over existing spills or leaks can trap moisture and create a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Under-sink cabinets are especially prone to water damage, but food and liquid can splash anywhere in a kitchen. Clean spills with household detergent and a damp cloth and dry the cabinet thoroughly with a fan. If you find a small amount of mold in the cabinets, wear a protective mask and remove the mold by vacuuming and wiping the area down with a bleach solution. Apply a coat of mildew-cide paint to the bottom to prevent future mold growth. If you suspect your cabinets have a major mold infestation, consult a professional.
Choose a Liner
A kitchen’s lower cabinets usually serve several different functions. The cabinets under the sink typically hold household cleaners. The other cabinets may be used to store pots and pans, small appliances or pantry items. Choose a liner for each cabinet that provides the protection it needs. Non-adhesive liners, which can be removed for cleaning, are available in a variety of styles. For under-sink cabinets, choose a waterproof liner with a smooth texture that you can wipe easily. Use a cushioned liner to protect the bottom of a cabinet that houses heavy cookware or canned goods. In cabinets that receive light use, adhesive-backed paper creates a protective surface that’s inexpensive and easy to clean. Vinyl tiles provide lasting, heavy-duty protection for cabinet bottoms, although installation requires some DIY skills.
Install Drawers and Shelves
Liners protect the bottoms of your kitchen cabinets from spills, dents and scratches, but a cabinet storage system also reduces the risk of damage. In deep cabinets, install sliding wire drawers to hold pots and pans. The drawers allow easy access to heavy cookware without dragging it across the floor of your cabinets. If you use your kitchen’s lower cabinets as a pantry, outfit them with wire shelves that let you store and stack items without creating the potential for a damaging avalanche of cans and jars. The plumbing in under-sink cabinets makes them susceptible to moisture from condensation and leaks. You’ll have to be vigilant for water issues in this area, but you can reduce the risk of spill damage by storing cleaning products in plastic bins.
Keep Them Clean
No method for protecting the interior of your kitchen cabinet is foolproof. Liquids can find their way around the edges of liners and into the gaps between vinyl tiles. Over time, shelf liners may become less effective. To keep your lower cabinets safe from damage, address any issues as they arise. Check the liners periodically and replace them when they show signs of wear and tear. If spills — which are inevitable in a kitchen — occur, wipe them up and make sure moisture and stains don’t seep through the liner to the surface of the cabinet bottoms. The under-sink cabinets require special vigilance. Repair any leaking pipes immediately and always be on the lookout for mold and mildew.