How To Fix Worn Spots On Kitchen Cabinets

Step into any kitchen, and one of the first things you’ll notice is the kitchen cabinets. Cabinetry is not only for the practical purpose of storing canned goods, spices, or dishes, but they tie together a kitchen’s style and theme. But what do you do when your cabinets look a bit worn, have visible dings and dents, and don’t look their best? Stop yourself before overhauling your kitchen in a frantic makeover. You can save your cabinets from untimely damage and restore them to their original glory. We are here to tell you how!

To restore tired or worn spots on cabinetry, you should follow these steps:

  • Assess the type of material used to make your kitchen cabinets. Different types of wood respond to damaging elements like light, steam, and physical impact based on their hardiness and staining.
  • Wipe down your cabinetry with a dampened cloth to reveal all visible and hidden imperfections.
  • Allow the cabinetry to dry before tackling wear-and-tear.
  • Use the appropriate tool to buff away dents, dings, and scratches until the surface is more even in appearance.
  • Apply a marker to flaws that match the color of the cabinetry staining. 
  • Fill in dents and worn spots with a putty.
  • Apply a new coat of paint, or re-stain the cabinets to restore its former look and feel.
  • Use a polyurethane coating to assist with the removal of cabinet imperfections.

You could also distract the eye and give your kitchen an upgrade on a budget. Change the look of your cabinetry by removing doors, adjusting your lighting, changing the paint, or adding contact paper to improve the look and feel of your storage space without resorting to a full replacement.

Don’t feel stressed if your cabinetry looks distressed and has signs of wear. Read this article and gain the confidence to restore and reclaim your cabinets, so they regain their former visual appeal. Understand that over time any kitchen cabinet will succumb to damages caused by cooking foods, steam, water damage, light damage, and daily use.

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Get To Know Your Kitchen Cabinetry

Your cabinets can develop worn areas because of several things in your kitchen. Once you understand how your cabinetry will be impacted based on whether it is wood, metal, or a combination of both materials, you can find the right solution. Before you attempt to restore your cabinets, check to see if your cabinets are showing signs of damage from the following elements.

  • Cabinets may become damaged because of stains caused by uncleaned spilled food that has sat too long.
  • Leaks from walls where cabinets are installed, burst pipes, or liquids seeping from stored food can harm cabinetry.
  • Steam from cooking pots, coffee pots, and other kitchen devices can lead to wear-and-tear on cabinets in the kitchen.
  • Cabinets that are not adequately treated or finished with an effective sealant, staining, or thin paint can quickly show signs of visible wear and damage like chips, dents, and an uneven appearance
  • Depending on the type of wood used for a kitchen cabinet, specific kinds of wood may be more susceptible to warping, peeling, or degrading in quality.

Once you realize the likely cause of your cabinetry’s damage, you can use a method that will quickly restore your kitchen’s primary storage space. Don’t feel disheartened by cabinetry discoloration, or break your budget with an expensive upgrade to your kitchen’s cabinets. We have done the research and hard work to make treating your cabinets a breeze, so read on.

How Do You Revive Kitchen Cabinets?

How are your cabinets looking lately? Do you see minor scuffs that can be covered up with a touch-up marker? Does your cabinet need a total overhaul via stripping, sanding away imperfections to make an even surface, and re-staining or painting the exterior?
You can revive your kitchen cabinets by first conducting an assessment. Visibly look at your cabinet inside and out. Check for water damage, dents, nicks, peeling, chips, and other aesthetically unpleasing problems. Keep your cabinets looking their best by cleaning them off with a damp cloth, and apply a trusted wood cleaner and preservative to bring imperfections to light, and clean off grime and grit. Before you treat your cabinets for signs of wear, you will want to ensure your cabinet is clean first.
If you have a deep scratch on your cabinet, buff it out so it is smoother and will better take an application of staining, paint, or a  touch-up maker that matches the color. You can check with the manufacturer of your kitchen cabinet to get the right touch-up marker, or completely change the stain or paint to hide imperfections. Know whether your cabinet has damage in an area that may need to be nailed, sanded, or drilled in the future. Instead of filling in worn areas with wood putty or a marker, you may want to use a wood filler.
Metal cabinets should be agitated with a wire brush to loosen rust, paint, and show visible problems. Apply sandpaper to any uneven areas on a metal kitchen cabinet, and smooth out the surface before applying primer. Spray on at least two coats of paint before applying a finishing coat to restore your cabinet.
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Can You Touch Up Stained Wood?

You can touch up stained wood instead of opting for an upgrade to kitchen cabinetry, but you will want to clean it off and remove any dust, debris, or lingering dirt first. Once the surface area has been cleaned, you can use a felt tip marker that matches the color of the wood’s stain to fill in marks. If you want to re-stain the wood, clean the surface, remove any hardware you don’t want to be damaged, and buff out the surface, so it is even and smooth. Strip away any layers of polyurethane that may already exist, so the new coat of stain will adhere.
Prep your space where you want to work with painter’s tape. Apply an even layer of staining with a foam brush and allow the surface to dry overnight. Make sure to add a coat of polyurethane to the coating to ensure everything looks uniform to finish.

Can You Restain Cabinets Without Sanding?

Unless your cabinet has some severe and visible damage like deep dents, scratches, or scuffs, you might be able to avoid sanding your cabinets before restaining.  Remove any visible hardware that you don’t want stained. Wipe down your cabinetry with a damp cloth to remove any dust and debris and allow the storage space to dry completely before continuing.
Strip any polyurethane coating so the cabinets will readily accept restaining. Scrape away the old surface and smooth it out with a buffing tool. Clean the cabinet thoroughly with a de-glosser or cleaner with a sturdy rag. Allow your cabinet to dry before applying the first coat of staining and let dry overnight. Apply one more layer of staining, make sure the cabinet looks even, and lastly, apply a coat of polyurethane to seal everything. Once the job is done and dry, you can then replace the hardware on your cabinetry.

How Do You Remove Excess Dried Stains?

Stains from food and water damage can dampen the look and feel of wood cabinets, as well as take away from its integrity. You can remove excess dried stains from kitchen cabinets using a cleaning pad, durable rag, or a sponge. Dampen your choice of cleaning tool and remove any grease, sticky areas, or dried substances on your cabinet. Loosen up debris and make stains easier to remove from surfaces with a solution of diluted white vinegar and water.
If you are having a problem with an uneven coat of stain on your cabinets, make sure the cabinet surface is clean and dry before applying an additional layer. Regularly clean your cabinets with a degreaser and polisher to keep your cabinet looking its best.

How Do You Clean and Shine Kitchen Cabinets?

If you want to keep your cabinets looking pristine, you will want to regularly clean them with a dampened cloth to remove any dust or dirt. Apply some elbow grease and use a buffing pad, sponge, or rough surface to remove grit, grease, or even out visible imperfections. Clean up your kitchen cabinets with a quality cleaner or use diluted water and a dampened sponge to remove grime. Allow your cabinets to dry thoroughly before applying a coat of polish, degreaser, or another substance to enhance the natural gloss and shine on your cabinets.

What is the Best Way to Protect Cabinets From Damage?

Damage to your kitchen cabinets over time is inevitable, but you can help protect your cabinets from taking on excessive damage. Make sure to routinely clean your cabinets off, inside and out with a dampened cloth and a solution of diluted vinegar and water, or use a commercial cleaner for wood or metal surfaces. When possible, apply a coat of protective sealant on your kitchen cabinets to prevent unwanted peeling, cracking, and reduce the appearance of dents, dings, and wear-and-tear.

Check out this polyurethane coating on Amazon.

We hope you found these ideas helpful! If you have more ideas on how to remove stains and revive old kitchen cabinets, leave us a comment and let us know!

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One comment

  1. The paint is worn off under the cabinet handles for. Fingernails. How can I protect this area after repainting?

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