How to Make My Kitchen Cabinets Look New Again


As the social hub of the home has become more focused on the kitchen, it's important that the kitchen look its best. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to make the kitchen look new again is to focus on the cabinets, whether by cleaning or refinishing them.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Sander
  • Marker
  • Screwdriver
  • Cloth towel
  • Rubber gloves
  • Goggles
  • Liquid stripper (type depends on door finish)
  • 3 tbsp. turpentine
  • 3 tbsp. linseed oil
  • 1 qt. boiling water
  • Cleaner, such as TSP (trisodium phosphate)
  • Polish (type depends on door hardware)
  • Wood filler
  • Sanding sealer
  • Stain
  • Remove the cabinet doors. As you take each one off, it's critical to label each door to ensure proper placement when they're ready to be reattached.

  • Lightly sand the doors to ensure there are no rough patches.

  • Clean the doors with a cleaner that preps surfaces for paint jobs, such as trisodium phosphate. Make sure to wear gloves and to keep the cleaner away from direct contact with skin and eyes. Another option is to make your own cleaner with 3 tbsp. turpentine, 3 tbsp. linseed oil and 1 qt. boiling water. Thoroughly rinse the cleaner off the doors.

  • Clean the cabinet hardware by soaking it in warm, soapy water for about 30 minutes. Dry the hardware, and polish it according to the material.

    Another option is to replace the hardware. This is an easy way to make your old cabinets look brand-new.

  • If doors still don't look up to par, they might need to be refinished, a process that, according to Lowe's, is similar to refinishing furniture. First, remove the old finish by sanding it--with a sander, not sandpaper--and using the liquid stripper. Lowe's notes that using a stripper is faster and easier, though some sanding may be required afterward.

  • Apply sanding sealer. This decreases the amount of stain the wood absorbs and allows it to absorb the stain more evenly. Allow the sealer to completely dry, and sand the doors lightly before applying the stain.

  • Apply the stain. The type of stain you use depends on the material of your cabinet doors. Wipe off any excess and allow to dry completely. Apply any finish as desired.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before using any cleaner or polish, test a sample area. Each finish may require a different product.
  • Always use rubber gloves when handling chemicals. Goggles may also be used as an additional safety precaution.
  • When using a chemical stripper, make sure to read all directions and work in a well-ventilated area.
  • When using the sander to remove the old finish, be careful not to sand too deeply or you risk ruining the door.

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