Unless you’re pulling a file (and, in the age of computers, how often does that happen anymore?) metal filing cabinets are basically invisible. Your eyes see them and just tell your brain, “nothing to see here.” That being said, it should come as no surprise that filing cabinets are neglected and can get pretty dirty. Luckily they’re about as easy to clean as they are uninteresting to look at. Read these tips then go use them and get a clean filing cabinet.


clean filing cabinet and How to Clean a Filing Cabinet


Step One

Remove everything from the filing cabinet. Store your paperwork and important files in a safe place until the filing cabinet is clean and ready to use again.


Step Two

Use the attachment hose of a vacuum to remove dirt and dust from inside the filing cabinet.


Step Three

It’s very possible your filing cabinet has rust spots. One way to get rid of these rust spots is to gently scrub them with steel wool. If you have no steel wool handy, check out other methods you can use on our How to Remove Rust Cleaning Tip.

Other spots, such as oil or grease, can be taken care of rubbing alcohol. Apply some to a cotton ball and scrub the spot until it lifts.


Step Four

Use a clean cloth or sponge and warm soapy water to wipe down the filing cabinet inside and out. Pay special attention to the corners, crevices, and door tracks where dirt tends to collect.


Step Five

Dry the cabinet with a clean cloth. If you really need to speed things up, you can use a blow dryer to get those corners dry quickly.  Once the filing cabinet is dry, you can apply a coat of car wax to it and let that dry. This step isn’t necessary, but it will protect the metal and make future cleanings a little easier.

Once the cabinet is dry, replace your paperwork. We recommend taking this time to get a truly clean filing cabinet and throwing away/shredding any documents you no longer need. However, we know that could potentially be a job of many hours, so do what you can.


Clean Filing Cabinet

We recommend cleaning the filing cabinet at least once a year. Not only will your office as a whole be cleaner, but you’ll be forced to evaluate if you really need to keep so many physical documents and so much paper.

You might like these Great Organizing Ideas for Home Office Drawers.