How to Clean Cabinets Before Restaining


Restaining cabinets requires a clean, smooth surface for the stain to adhere. Worn and dull colored cabinets qualify for restaining as long as the wear is not excessive. The cabinets should require only a slight sanding to even out the surface. Sanding the cabinets lightly before staining them smooths out uneven areas and gives the wood just enough grit to allow the stain to bond to the wood. Cleaning the cabinets before sanding removes any dirt or grease from the surface. Cleaning after sanding wipes away any dust. The end goal is to achieve a wood surface that is dirt and dust-free and not too shiny.

Things You'll Need

  • Mineral spirits
  • Soft cleaning cloths or synthetic steel wool pad
  • Remove the doors and hinges from the cabinet base to clean the doors and base separately. Lift out the shelves from the base. Lay the doors flat and place the shelves on top of a cloth on a clean counter or table. Remove the hinges and knobs or handles and set them aside.

  • Dampen a soft cloth or a synthetic steel wool pad with mineral spirits.

  • Wipe the cabinet surfaces, including the doors, shelves and all sides of the base, with the cloth two or three times to remove the residue. Use a new cloth or pad when it starts to look dirty. Continue to wipe the wood until the cloth or pad remains clean after wiping the surface.

  • Wipe the cabinets after sanding with a dry cloth to remove any remaining dust.

Tips & Warnings

  • Stain the cabinet doors and base separately and allow them to dry before reinstalling the doors.
  • Follow the safety precautions listed on the mineral spirits label.
  • Open all windows and allow for plenty of ventilation when using mineral spirits.
  • Do not work with mineral spirits around any open flames, including pilot lights.

Related Searches


  • Photo Credit Images
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • How to Sand Your Kitchen Cabinets

    Sanding is often one of the first steps in renovating kitchen cabinets, whether you plan to paint or stain the wood to...

  • How to Restain Stained Cabinets

    If your cabinets are already stained but you want a new look, don't buy new cabinets; instead, apply new stain. Staining previously...

  • Exterior House Trim Ideas

    Incorporating exterior house trim into your home’s design can be a great way to increase your home’s aesthetic value, as well as...

  • Help on Restaining a House Exterior

    A house exterior braves all weather conditions, and, over the years, can show wear and tear and begin to fade and turn...

Related Searches

Check It Out

22 DIY Ways to Update Your Home on a Small Budget

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!