What are Shaker Cabinets and How to Keep Them Clean?

White kitchen design in new luxurious home with white shaker style cabinets

So, you were shopping for kitchen cabinets and you ran into the term ‘Shaker’. What are Shaker-style cabinets?

In the following article, we’ll outline a quick definition and history of this oft-confused term. Plus, we’ll offer up some useful tips for cleaning your Shaker cabinets once you have them installed.

What Are Shaker Style Kitchen Cabinets?

Let’s start by taking a look at a simple Shaker cabinets definition:

Shaker cabinets are characterized by flat-paneled doors with raised rail frames (the horizontal and vertical edges of each cabinet front). The most traditional Shaker cabinets feature five pieces: four rectangular rails cut at 90-degree angles with a recessed flat panel center.

Shaker cabinets are characteristically made of top-quality, close-grain wood. Historically, they were produced with a dark finish. Today, you’ll find them in a variety of wood finishes, or they can be painted — usually a simple color like white or grey.

The History of Shaker Cabinets

Shaker cabinets get their name from the first manufacturers of this cabinet style — the Shakers. More formally known as the United Society Believers in Chris’s Second Appearing, the Shakers originated in Manchester, England in the mid-1700s before largely emigrating to colonial America around the time of the Revolution. Today, there is only one Shaker village active in Maine.

At the height of the Shaker movement, the group became well-known for their hard work and dedication to absolute perfection in the craftsmanship of fine woodwork, including furniture and other handmade goods. They believed that making these items was an act of prayer.

The result was some of the finest furniture and wooden handwork of the 19th and 20th centuries — including their trademark Shaker cabinets. Shaker pieces tended to be produced with the best wood, natural-looking dark finishes, and overall simple lines.

The Benefits of Shaker Style Cabinets

Homeowners have flocked toward Shaker cabinets for years because of their many lasting benefits.


Counter-intuitively, it’s the plain and basic style of Shaker cabinets that makes them so versatile. Simply by switching out the hardware (knobs, handles, and pulls), you can create a whole new look with Shaker cabinets.

Clean Lines

Ornate cabinets tend to look outdated over time. Shaker cabinets, on the other hand, have clean perpendicular lines that never go out of style. Instead, they allow for a plain, straightforward appearance that’s modern and refreshing, no matter the accompanying décor.

Easy Cleaning

Because Shaker cabinets are so simple in terms of wood detail, they are exceptionally easy to clean. When compared to Mission and other style cabinets, it’s a breeze to maintain them.

White modern kitchen interior with a black fridge next to double ovens surrounded by white shaker cabinets.

Best Way to Clean Shaker Cabinets

Most Shaker cabinets can be easily maintained with a soft microfiber cloth (for dust). For regular cleaning or small stains, use a simple spray solution of equal parts warm water and white distilled vinegar (never soak the wood, and always wipe away excess moisture immediately).

How to Clean White Cabinets

White-painted cabinets can be a bit trickier to get clean because they tend to show dirt more readily. Here are some tips:

  • Use baking soda for hard-to-remove stains (two parts warm water mixed with one part baking soda)
  • Try a magic eraser if that doesn’t work (always spot test in a discreet location first)
  • Consider backplates to avoid persistent finger marks

Are Shaker Cabinets Right for Your Kitchen?

Most likely, they are!

That’s because Shaker cabinets tend to look good no matter the setting.

Still, the question remains as to whether they’re right for the unique look you’re after. If you have something ultra-specific in mind, you may need to pinpoint a clearer style. But if simple, versatile, and easy-to-clean all sound good to you, Shaker cabinets may be just what you’ve been looking for.

Kitchen Cabinets in Phoenix, AZ

Making sure to stay organized with different sizes and options, the design team at Diamond Kitchen and Bath will help you fit your kitchen with everything you need. We have been serving the valley since 1986 as the leading retailer of gorgeous kitchen and bathroom cabinetry at incredible prices. Visit one of our four kitchen showrooms in Phoenix to get a FREE 3D design. Call 602-246-1518 Today!