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My kitchen cabinets don't go all the way to the top. That means, on the top of it a greasy layer builds up regularly.

The options I thought were cleaning them regularly (time intensive) or covering them with newspapers and throwing these away. However, I wonder whether this second option isn't a fire risk. After all, a pan could catch fire, the flames could go up and ignite the paper+grease easily spreading the fire through the whole kitchen.

What is the standard hack to deal with this?

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I'd suggest getting a range hood to prevent most of the grease from getting to the top of your cabinets.

This can be vented outside or even recirculated, but the hood should have a grease trap air filter to prevent most of the grease from accumulating where you don't want it. Most of the time, these filters are washable or at least replaceable.

Some over range microwaves have this built in, so you could do double duty and regain some counter space at the same time.

That is, if you don't already have a range hood.

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If the kitchen cabinets do not reach the ceiling, provide a panel to fill the gap that does reach the ceiling.

Depending on your design skills, budget, and decor; it might be possible to enclose the space. Make or contract a free-standing unit sitting on top of the existing cabinet or one hanging from the ceiling to the cabinet, or both.

On one extreme is additional matching-finish closed storage over the existing cabinets. On the other is a simple close-fit frame with appropriate easily cleaned material stretched to cover it. You'd clean the first instance when you would your cabinets. The second case would be pulled down and cleaned periodically when you're in the mood.

Good luck

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I doubt you'd experience a significantly increased fire risk with greasy paper over greasy dust, especially if you're careful not to leave paper sticking up - igniting paper that stops a few mm short of the face of the cupboard and is taped down, using only a burning pan, will prove difficult. If the flames from a burning pan have reached the top of the cupboards you likely have bigger problems, and it's fairly unlikely that the paper would burn long enough to ignite the cupboards (have you seen how long it takes to get chipboard burning after you throw it on a fire?!)

But if you can't get away from this worry about a fire risk, use aluminum foil instead of paper - it might even be more recyclable than grease laden paper come cleaning time

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'If the mountain will not come to Muhammad…'

Another approach would be to lower the ceiling to the height of the kitchen cabinets. Now, there is no dead air space above the kitchen cabinet(s).

A 'drop ceiling' would also help conserve energy as the subsequent reduced room volume would need less energy to heat, cool, hydrate, filter, etc.

The panels used for a drop ceiling are available in a variety of finishes and colours. In effect, it's a minor renovation.

In my experience (watching intently) the whole project is not even a full day's work for an experienced installer unless you want refinements such as indirect or accent lighting, vents, etc. No heavy construction is necessary (blasting, excavation, etc.)

Good luck.

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Not sure there is one - I've got the same problem, but I store large (too big to put in ordinary cupboards), rarely used kitchen/dining items on top of the cupboards. Each one is wrapped in plastic, and about every 6-12 months (if I'm honest, its annually!) I take it all down, remove the sticky plastic bags, bin those and replace with new, then degrease and clean the tops of the cupboards. The presence of large, bagged items does at least significantly reduce the area of the cupboard top that collects grease, so that's an advantage.

I don't think I'd risk newspaper up there, just in case it does increase the fire hazard, especially for cupboards near the cooker, though I'm guessing greasy plastic bags on top of the cupboards might be considered a bit of a risk too, but probably not so much as newspaper. On the other hand, the grease that collects on top of the cupboards is presumably an increased fire hazard in and of itself.

The other option is to pay someone else to come in and clean the cupboard tops every six months or so, the way you might get someone in to clean the oven.

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I cover mine with foil on top, then throw it away like monthly.

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