Scruba-dub-dub, but NOT in a tub!

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For those of you who know me, know I am OCD, and I tend to go a bit overboard with cleaning, but when it comes to taking over some one else’s old home… I’m gonna strip that baby down!  From my last blog post, you saw that I had removed all the cabinet faces and doors.  Now that I packed them up into my trunk, and lugged them to my parents house, it was time to clean them!

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I set up a system on the kitchen table- I laid out the labeled cabinet and drawer faces on the kitchen table, a little at a time: there are 21 total faces that need to be cleaned….. yeah I KNOW- A LOT.

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I had gone down to the Home Depot to find some industrial grade cleaning supplies- Dawn was just NOT gonna cut it.  I bumped into this woman in the aisle, and we started making small talk about cleaning.  I told her I had a lot of grease to deal with, and she suggested “Zep..” I was intrigued- do tell me more!  I thanked her and started looking at all my options.  There are plenty of Zep cleaners, but I was looking for something serious- nuclear warfare style. I found Zep 505, grabbed some gloves, sponges, and stainless steel brushes… I’m not going to lie- I rushed home to get started, I was very excited (sick, I know).

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I cut down a huge black trash bag to cover the surface of the Butcher Block, and placed ONE face at a time on there.  I put the posit it at the top right of the butcher block to make sure it followed the damn cabinets everywhere.  At first I was spraying the faces, letting it sit for a second, and using the front and back of the sponge to clean it.  It just wasn’t cutting it.  I busted out the stainless steel brush and went to town.  I can’t even describe to you the amount of grease that I scraped off each face.  I scrubbed and scrubbed.  I rinsed each cabinet after and hand dried them.  Some of them I had to re-wash/scrub because there was still some residue.  I managed to get into every nook and cranny!  I dried them off, and replaced the post-its.  I started placing the dry clean faces on a drop cloth in my parents dining room.  Have I mentioned they are less than thrilled that I have turned their home into a temporary workshop?

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Look how beautiful they are, all clean and pretty!  I couldn’t stop there though…. I realized that I spent (in total) 5 1/2 hours cleaning the faces (front and back) of these cabinets and doors, but the cabinet frames were left untouched…. so I went back to my new house, took a look around and realized  I had my work cut out for me.

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Every single shelf had faux marble contact paper on it.  No surface had been left untouched!  I personally can’t stand it, so I started ripping it off, and it must have been there for a while, because it came off easily.  Unfortunately, when you remove the contact paper it leaves a sticky residue behind.  So gross.  I knew all the surfaces would have to be cleaned.  So I got my bucket of hot hot water (scalding actually), my gloves, and brushes, and started with the bottom cabinets.  I knew instantly two things: 1) This was going to take forever and 2) I couldn’t stop I HAD to finish (OCD)- it’s a double edged sword. I knew I would feel better once I finished, but it was going to take a while to get there.  I scrubbed inside the cabinets, drawers, and the outsides, and even the hinges and drawer tracks.  This time it was ME who left no surface untouched! TAKE THAT!

 Ok, so at this point I am 4 hours in, a little delirious, but still motivated.  Jammin’ to a mix of Dave Matthews Band and Elvis in the background, I reached the range and overhead microwave.  Now I gave them a good stern look, and realized this was going to be a nasty job.  I had the cleaners come in, and they did the top of the range, and it looked great, but they didn’t do the underside of the microwave, or the walls next to the range….

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Honestly, when I looked under the microwave and adjacent cabinets and walls I almost vomited.  The surface was ORANGE with grease.  GROSS, GROSS, GROSS.  The wall to the right, was COVERED with grease splatter.  I began to panic.  I sprayed the surface, soaked it with hot water, and waited.  I loosened the gunk up a bit with a scratch sponge, but re-applied the cleaner.  At this point I have probably taken off about 10 years of my life because I didn’t use a mask- though I did use gloves, so give me some credit….  I used the stainless steel brush- brush brush brush brush…. but still the grease remained.  So I resorted to a flat razor.  I LITERALLY scraped the grease from the underside of the cabinets and wall.

Good news it, I managed to get it all done; Bad news is: it took me a total of 5 hours to clean all the cabinets and walls.

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Make do with what you’ve got!

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This is going to be a quick one, because realistically there isn’t much to talk about!  Once I had taken off the old hardware from the kitchen cabinets I was left with these ugly brass handles:

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I had gone to both the Home Depot and Lowes to pick up some hardware, but none of them lined up with the holes that already existing in the cabinets.  I instantly felt defeated, because I was looking for an antique bronze look.  I went online to try and find some that would fit, but they would end up being quite expensive… little darn things are pricey!  Ok, so I re-grouped.  In the essence of saving money, I decided that I would give it a shot and spray them.

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I stopped in Home Depot and headed straight for the paint section.  I know that RUST-OLEUM is a good name brand, and was rummaging through them.  I did find the antiqued bronze color I was looking for.  I used “Flat Burnished Amber.” I should note here, that when spraying metal surfaces you’re best bet is using a spray that has a PAINT AND PRIMER IN ONE.  It adheres better.  If you don’t prime your pieces the paint will chip off (especially metal)…. so why buy a can of primer AND a can of spray paint when you can kill to two birds with one stone? Exactly.  Again I am going to reference my crazy cleaning- you know how I love to clean… I prepared the brass handles by using a brass cleaner.  I scrubbed them clean, rinsed and dried them.  They were ready for paint.  I laid out another trash bag on my parent’s butcher block and sprayed the back side first (I didn’t want to rest the painted hardware on the top surface).

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First coat came out pretty good, but knew for sure it needed another one.  At this point, my mother was going to kill me for spraying in the house, but I was past the point of no return.  I turned on the fans, opened the doors, and sprayed febreeze.  I gave the back side a second coat, let it dry and flipped them.  I repeated the process on the other side.

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The end product was better than I expected!  I really like the antique bronze look with a slight shimmer that the RUST-OLEUM gave the hardware.  I saved a good chunk of money by only spending $3.00 for a can of spray paint!  Now I don’t need to patch old holes, drill new ones, and buy new hardware.  Sometimes its just better to use what you have and up cycle them.  All twenty one brass handles came out pretty good if I do say so myself:

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