How To Restain Kitchen Cabinets Without Stripping

Kitchen cabinets undergo more wear and tear compared to other cabinetry in any other room in the house. If your cabinets are looking old and worn out, it is time to restain them so they can look nice again. You don’t need to worry about stripping if you don’t want to waste too much time. Restaining them without stripping is very much possible. This article addresses the simple steps involved in restaining your kitchen cabinets without stripping.


Can you restain kitchen cabinets without stripping them?

Yes, you can restain kitchen cabinets without stripping. Applying the polyurethane finish over the stained surface is super straightforward when it comes to refinishing kitchen cabinets without stripping them. Apply coast and allow each to dry in between before applying the next. Two to three coats should be enough to give your kitchen cabinet a beautiful look.

how to restain kitchen cabinets without stripping

How to restain kitchen cabinets without stripping

Materials Needed

There are step-by-step procedures involved in restaining kitchen cabinets without stripping them. Let’s check them out.

  1. Remove the kitchen cabinets

Among the procedures involved in restaining kitchen cabinets without stripping, removing the kitchen cabinets is the hardest and most time-consuming part. If carrying out this task will be much of a hurdle, you can hire someone to do it. If you will be doing it yourself, follow these steps

  • First, measure how much length needs to be cut off each side of the cabinet. This is to make sure that they fit back into place after they have been restained.
  • Now, place away everything inside your cabinet including all the drawers. It is necessary to ensure that every inch of space can be used when storing items after the kitchen cabinets have been restained.
  • Next, remove the cabinet doors too. It will allow you to have enough space to work and make it easy to dip your hand into the inner parts and corners that are not easy to reach. Getting your paintbrush in between the frames might be tricky but it is an important step. Use a screwdriver to remove additional hardware, such as knobs and handles.
  • Set the doors on a flat surface or workbench in the garage. All hardware removed with a screwdriver should be placed in a small can in case you need to restain them.


2. Clean

Cleaning is very important to do before proceeding to the harder parts of the project. Dirt, small stones, and grits will cause damage to the wood finish. Use a putty knife to scrape up anything that soap and water couldn’t get rid of. Remove everything including rubber bumpers.

Now, dip a rag into a bowl filled with warm soapy water. Use it on the kitchen cabinets and wipe it down. This will help to remove grime, dirt, and grease and it will become clean.

If the grease happens to be hard and is still greasy after cleaning with soap, apply mineral spirits. They always get rid of the tough greasy stuff. Use another water-dampened rag and wipe down the kitchen cabinets to clean off the soap residue completely.

Alternatively, use a clean rag dampened with mineral spirits to get rid of residue on the cabinets. Wipe it up and down to get rid of greasy residue. Repeat the process until it is thoroughly clean.

Next, use a dry towel to wipe the kitchen cabinets off. Make sure it is completely dry before proceeding to the next steps


3. Sand or degloss kitchen cabinets

After making sure the kitchen cabinets are clean, the next thing to do is sand the wood cabinets. There are two options you can explore either of them when it comes to sanding.

The first option is to sand by hand which is the traditional form of sanding. Take a 220-grit piece of sandpaper and fold it into thirds. Be sure to remember the moldings and the trim. Ensure to sand in the direction of the wood grain. Light sanding makes the surface ready to adhere to the stain application better.

The second option is to use deglosser. If you are hearing about deglosser for the first time, it is effective at removing any glossy layers. It requires a short time and is easier compared to sanding by hand. Dip a neat rag or a scouring pad into the deglosser and use it to scrub every area and corner of the kitchen cabinets.

Also, ensure to scrub the moldings and trims while applying it. Once done applying the deglosser, allow it to sit for about 1 to 2 hours so it can dry.

Both options are good to work with. It is your choice to make either of them you want to use.

how to restain kitchen cabinets without stripping

4. Remove all surface dust

Use a tack cloth to remove all the surface dust from the kitchen cabinets. You can use either mineral spirits or soap and water to clean up the dust. Avoid using a dirty rag so you won’t end up adding new smudges.


5. Stain the kitchen cabinets

Grab a touch-up pen and use it to touch up those small areas that are not in good condition.  There are several kinds of these pens that contain diverse wood tones. Choose a wood tone that is matching the color of your kitchen cabinet. If you are focusing on the entire kitchen cabinet, wood stain is the right product.

Choose the right wood stain for your cabinet. Use a paintbrush to apply the wood stain on the kitchen cabinets. While at it, use paper towels to soak up any excess stain on the wood. When you are done, you just need to allow it to sit for about 2 hours so it can dry fully.


6. Apply the finish

Use a new paintbrush to apply your chosen polyurethane finish to the already stained kitchen cabinets. Ensure it is evenly applied. Try long up and down strokes. To get the best look, apply about two layers of the polyurethane finish. Between the two coats, you will need to sand the cabinets one more time.

Take 320-grit sandpaper and use it to do a perfect job. Doing this will allow you to sand any other remaining imperfections. After you are done with the sanding, clean up all dust with a rag.

Let the finish sit there for about 12 hours and make sure it is dry before sanding again or doing anything else.


7. Replace the kitchen cabinets

Once you are satisfied with the project, it is time to replace the kitchen cabinets into place. Put everything back and fit in the restained cabinet doors. You can decide to appreciate yourself with a drink after a successful project.

Also Read: Best water-based polyurethane for furniture

how to restain kitchen cabinets without stripping

Tips and tricks on restaining cabinets without stripping

Purchase a high-quality varnish brush to apply the stain to the kitchen cabinet. These quality brushes are expensive but will save you the stress of having to pick stray bristles from the surface of the cabinets. Choose a brush that keeps bristles securely attached.

What you should avoid

  1. If you are sensitive to chemicals and strong odors, avoid working without a face mask. It is recommended wear one before starting anything at all so you won’t have issues during the project.
  2. Avoid exposing your hands while working. Wear vinyl gloves instead.
  3.  Skipping the cleaning and sanding steps is not advisable. Doing this will affect the adequate adhesion of the finish to the surface.
  4. Avoid opening the garage door to breezes when applying one of the one-step product. Not avoiding that will permit dust and debris to settle on your kitchen cabinet’s surface, which will cause you an extra effort in trying to get a smooth finish.


Restaining cabinets without stripping

The best way to restain your kitchen cabinets without stripping them is enough practice. You have to practice over time so you can master the skill. It will be a surprise when you see what can be done with just a coat of paint or using a stain.


How does sanding kitchen cabinets without stripping them help with cleaning efficiency?

When you sand your kitchen cabinets, it will smoothen the surface and make it easier to clean. This means too many cleaning products won’t be needed over time.

Conclusion: How To Restain Kitchen Cabinets Without Stripping

Finally, it is necessary to decide what style you will be leveraging before starting work on your kitchen cabinets if you want to do that without stripping. With your patience and precision, you will be able to enjoy this home improvement project.  Use a color that matches your kitchen cabinet when staining or choose a new one if you decide to give your kitchen cabinets another look.

Now that you have figured out how to restain kitchen cabinets without stripping, if you want to give your kitchen cabinets a new look, you should consider all the DIY solutions listed above. Make sure you adequately prepare your cabinets before applying the stain by removing all doors, drawers, and hardware, then clean thoroughly before moving to the next steps.