How to Make Old Cabinets Look New Without Staining?

For many homeowners, the kitchen is the hub of the house. The kitchen is central to cooking, eating and entertaining, which exposes the cabinets to a lot of wear and tear. Cooking oils and grease build up on cabinets and make them look dull and dingy. Scuff and wear marks around the edges of doors, drawers, knobs and pulls leave the cabinets looking old and worn. Making old wood cabinets look new without the use of messy wood stains rejuvenates an old kitchen.

Save money by restoring and rejuvenating wood cabinets yourself.

Step 1

Empty the cabinets of their contents.

Step 2

Lay towels or tarps over kitchen countertops, floors and appliances. Do not lay tarps over gas stoves with a pilot light, because the pilot light may ignite the tarps or towels, causing a fire.

Step 3

Remove the cabinet knobs, handles and hinges with a screwdriver. Set the hardware aside if you intend to reinstall it. Remove the doors and set them on a towel.

Step 4

Fill a bucket with warm water and add 1 to 2 tbsp. of a grease-fighting dish detergent.

Step 5

Dip a sponge into the soapy water and wipe all cabinet surfaces. Dip a nylon scrubbing pad into the soapy water and scrub the cabinets to remove built-up grease and oil.

Step 6

Wet a sponge or rag with warm water and wipe the wood cabinets to remove the soap residue. Dry the cabinets with a microfiber cloth.

Step 7

Examine the cabinets for nicks and scratches. Match colored wood putty to the existing cabinet color. Press the wood putty into the scratches and nicks with a flexible putty knife or your fingers. Let the putty set for 45 to 60 minutes.

Step 8

Sand the surface of the wood putty with 220-grit sandpaper until it is smooth and flush with the existing surface. Wipe the sanded areas with a tack rag to remove the dust from sanding.

Step 9

Dip the corner of a clean, soft rag into liquid scratch cover. Follow the wood grain and wipe the scratch cover over worn areas at the edges of the cabinets, around the door or drawer pulls and over worn areas of the face or frame of the cabinets. Let the liquid scratch cover dry for 20 to 30 minutes. Add another coat of scratch cover to worn areas if they still appear lighter than the rest of the cabinet.

Step 10

Match a colored wood paste wax to the cabinet color. Dip a clean, soft rag into the colored wax. Wipe the paste wax onto drawer and door faces and the cabinet framework. Let the wood wax dry to a dull haze.

Step 11

Buff the wood cabinet doors, drawers and frames with a well-worn, clean flannel or cotton rag.

Step 12

Replace the cabinet hardware with new hardware or clean the old hardware with a soft scrub brush and soapy water, rinse and dry. Hold the cabinet doors in position, aligning the hinges with the existing holes. Insert the tip of the screw through the hinge into the wood and tighten with a screwdriver. Screw cabinet handles, pulls and knobs onto the cabinets.