Some useful tips on how to fix worn spots on kitchen cabinets

The kitchen is not only a cooking space but also a place where the family members gather together most often. Naturally, we want our kitchen to be cozy and look tidy and attractive.

Much to our regret, the kitchen furniture is subject to rapid wear due to its purpose. The faded wood surfaces, dents, smudge marks, and other signs of wear don’t add attractiveness to our kitchen appearance.

But all this isn’t such an insolvable challenge as it may be seen at first sight. In this article, we’d like to suggest some relatively easy and inexpensive ways of fixing the worn spots on kitchen cabinets.

Before you begin the fixing process

However, before deciding on how to fix worn spots on kitchen cabinets, it is required to inspect the furniture, determine the areas needing repair, gather the necessary materials, tools, and appliances, and prepare the work area.

Assessment of damage and expected repair

Some useful tips on how to fix worn spots on kitchen cabinets
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To assess the level of damage you should inspect your kitchen cabinets and find the damaged parts.

The decision on how to fix worn spots on kitchen cabinets will depend on their nature. Usually, in the case of normal wear, the worn spots are superficial.

If the damage didn’t penetrate the wood you can eliminate the superficial worn spots on kitchen cabinets using ordinary touch-up methods such as applying a new finish or stain.

However, the kitchen cabinets are subject to significant deep damage. The deep worn spots may require serious repairs. To give a seamless look to the surface of kitchen cabinets you may need to fill the worn areas with wood fillers, sand the surface, and, finally, refinish the surface.

Selection of required tools and materials

Some useful tips on how to fix worn spots on kitchen cabinets
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Based on the assessment of damage you can determine what tools and materials are needed to fix worn spots.

Firstly, it is necessary to clean the kitchen cabinets thoroughly. So, you will need a soft cloth, or brush, and mild detergent to clean the cabinet from dirt, grease, and debris.

Then, to prepare the worn areas for fixing the sandpaper of various grit will be needed.

If the worn spots are deep the wood filler or putty will be required.

Finally, the paint or stain to achieve the seamless look of the cabinet surface color, and polyurethane or lacquer to finish the cabinet surface will be needed.

As for the tools, there is nothing extraordinary. You will need the basic tools usually used for repair: a screwdriver, putty knife, paintbrushes, and similar.

The above list of tools and materials is just an approximate minimum. However, the selection of tools and materials depends on the technique you have chosen to fix worn spots.

Preparing the work area

Some useful tips on how to fix worn spots on kitchen cabinets
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To prepare the work area it is recommended to remove all items from the space under the cabinets and around them. To avoid falling the paint drops and splashes on the floor and all kitchen devices that cannot be removed cover them with the construction film.

When preparing the work area you should keep in mind safety considerations.

Safety considerations

Do not allow the uncontrolled access of children and pets to the kitchen.

Ensure the proper ventilation during the fixing works to avoid the toxic effect of paint and lacquer of healing of sanding dust.

Naturally, using only safe materials and substances would be the best option. However, do not neglect to wear protective goggles, masks, and gloves.

Preparing the cabinet

To ensure the smooth process of fixing the worn areas, it is recommended to remove the cabinet doors and drawers and place them on a flat stable surface.

The next step is to unscrew the handles, hinges, and knobs and store them in one safe place.

Not removable fixtures or ornamental elements on the kitchen cabinets shall be covered with adhesive tapes or other material to protect from splashes of paint, stain, or lacquer.

Cleaning the kitchen cabinets

Some useful tips on how to fix worn spots on kitchen cabinets
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When the cabinets are free of removable parts it’s time to clean them. First, you should clean the kitchen cabinet surface with a clean cloth using a mild detergent or even a common dishwashing liquid. Always use only a soft cloth to avoid accidental scratches.

However, sometimes the grease is hard to clean from the surface. In such cases, you can clean the kitchen cabinets using the plastic scrubber followed by wiping with a soft damp cloth. Afterward, thoroughly wipe the damp surface with a dry cloth.

Sanding the warn spots on kitchen cabinets

Some useful tips on how to fix worn spots on kitchen cabinets
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Sanding the wood kitchen cabinets is a very important procedure used to fix worn spots. It makes the surface smooth and more adhesive. If you plan only to touch up the worn areas there is no need to sand down the entire surface of kitchen cabinets.

For this process, you need to use various types of sandpaper gradually changing the rough grit to medium grit sandpaper, and finally using fine-grit sandpaper to finish the surface.

Upon completion of sanding down the surface and space around the cabinet and work area should be cleaned from sanding dust.

It is important to perform sanding gently and carefully to avoid damage to the surface around a worn area.

Tips on how to fix worn spots on kitchen cabinets

The vast expanse of the internet is filled with pieces of advice and suggestions on how to fix worn spots on kitchen cabinets. We have selected the methods which, in our opinion, are the most popular and easiest.

Touching up the worn spots

Some useful tips on how to fix worn spots on kitchen cabinets
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Currently, paint stores offer markers and paints of various colors and shades. This makes it possible to choose the touch-up marker or paint that will match the color of your furniture best.

The only problem with this technique of fixing worn spots is to select the marker or paint of the “right” color and shade. Before starting to apply the paint just dab stain in the invisible area of the cabinet.

In practice, when using a marker you will need just apply the marker to worn spots and then evenly smear the stain layer throughout the surface. If you select the touch-up paint, evenly and smoothly apply it on properly prepared worn spots using a small soft brush.

However, this method will do only to hide the superficial worn spots on kitchen cabinets. If you deal with deep scratches, dents, shears, or holes repairing the damage is a must.

Repairing the damage to kitchen cabinets

Some useful tips on how to fix worn spots on kitchen cabinets
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To conceal the scratches, dents, or holes you need to use wood fillers or wood putty. The difference between them is in their use. The wood fillers are used for bare wood. After filling in the scratch or crack and proper hardening it can be sanded down and covered with stain.

Wood putty is used for damages on already stained surfaces. It is not hardened completely. So, you cannot sand it down and paint. However, you can conceal the patch made of it by selecting the matching color.

The putty is adequate only for holes that are not larger than 3 mm. The wood fillers can be used to repair the gaps not exceeding 10mm in size. To fill in the scratches or holes of larger sizes the protective sealant should be used to avoid the cracks.

Coating of the properly prepared and repaired surfaces of kitchen cabinets

The worn spots on kitchen cabinets can be hidden using stains or paint.

The difference between staining and painting consists of the features of the material used.

Staining a kitchen cabinet

Some useful tips on how to fix worn spots on kitchen cabinets
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A stain is a liquid transparent material that penetrates the top layer of the surface and changes its color. There are oil-based and water stains. They differ in the substances used as their solvents, that is oil or water, correspondingly. Besides, oil stain drying takes longer time than water-based one.

Stain is used only for natural wood cabinet coating. At that, the texture and grain of wood remain visible. Some people like it, some not. However, in recent years staining has become popular again due to the obtained surface resemblance to expensive hardwoods.

The process of staining is easy, and even beginners can manage the proper results. Provided that they prevent splashing and dripping. To achieve this, it is recommended to use brushes with short and even bristles and grab little stains by them.

Painting a kitchen cabinet

Some useful tips on how to fix worn spots on kitchen cabinets
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Paint is an opaque material not permeate the wood surface. One of the painting advantages vs. staining is that it can be used both with real wood and medium-density fiberboard (MDF). Before applying the paint the surface shall be primed in one or more layers.

Paints are of latex-based and oil-based types. Latex paints are popular thanks to their durability.

Oil-based paint coating looks more attractive and expensive but takes a long time for drying which leads to a longer period of repair.

If you use white or light-colored paints more frequent cleaning will be required. But the stained surfaces collect more dust.

However, the most important condition when using one or another type of coating you must wait for the complete drying of the first coat before applying the second coat.


In this article, we tried to highlight the most popular ways of fixing the worn spots on kitchen cabinets. However, the choice of the way to repair the worn spots depends on your preferences and opportunities.

As you can see it is relatively easy to fix the kitchen cabinets. Nevertheless, it would become far easier on condition of proper and regular maintenance.

Additionally, you should keep in mind that except for the natural wear and tear, there are many other causes you can avoid.

For example, the excess humidity in your kitchen causes deterioration of the quality and disqualification. You can prevent this using proper ventilation, using an extractor hood, and eliminating the water spills.

You should try to protect the wood furniture from long exposure to sunlight to prevent its fading and discoloration.

So, regular cleaning and maintenance and compliance with the above requirements will prolong the service life of your kitchen cabinets free of worn spots and other damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

u003cstrongu003eHow do you touch-up worn wood cabinets?u003c/strongu003e

To touch up the worn wood cabinets use putty to fill in deep worn spots. If it is not required you can just sand the surface down, apply the stain markers, and cover all cabinet surfaces first with paint of matching color, and finally, when the stain dries, with polyurethane finish or lacquer.

u003cstrongu003eHow do you fix worn out kitchen cabinets?u003c/strongu003e

The way of fixing worn spots on kitchen cabinets depends on the degree of damage and level of wear.

u003cstrongu003eHow do you touch-up kitchen cabinet stain?u003c/strongu003e

After removing the dust particles and washing the kitchen cabinet with a cleaning solution the surfaces should be evenly covered by primer. As a second coat of the surface, a stain of suitable color is used with further cabinet finish using lacquer or polyurethane.

u003cstrongu003eHow can I restore my kitchen cabinets without painting?u003c/strongu003e

Many people prefer kitchen cabinets made of bare wood, mostly oak. Fixing worn spots on such a kitchen cabinet may seem not easy. However, this problem is not insoluble. First, you may clean it with a damp soft cloth, fill in the deep scratches with wood putty, and finally lightly sand the surface.

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