How To Refinish Kitchen Cabinets with Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirits can be used to refinish your kitchen cabinets. Kitchen cabinets are usually finished with a layer of varnish to ensure that the wood is protected from excessive moisture in the kitchen. Through time, however, the varnish will fade and naturally disintegrate. To refinish the cabinets, you can use mineral spirits, which is a very effective type of solvent that can efficiently and quickly remove the varnish or the polyurethane cover on the kitchen cabinets. Here’s how.

Clean. Begin by cleaning the entire surface of the kitchen cabinets. This is especially necessary for cabinets that are located on top or near the stove, where plenty of moisture and oil splatters can be found. Use a soft cloth that has been dampened with warm water and mild soap to do this. After cleaning, use another piece of soft and dry cloth to completely remove the moisture from the wood.

Applying the mineral spirits. To apply the mineral spirits, you will need to use a soft cloth. Apply enough of the liquid on the cloth and then use it to remove the varnish on the cabinet. You will notice that the stain and the varnish will stick to the cloth. If the cloth has become very dark, then turn the cloth over and use the other side. Once the other side has become darkened with old varnish as well, fold the cloth over so that the interior part of the cloth is exposed, and use this to clean the kitchen cabinets. For larger kitchens with plenty of cabinets, be prepared with a handful of clean cloth squares.

Sanding. Once you have removed the varnish, the next step is to remove the stains. The stains are a bit more difficult to remove, since staining the wood involves allowing the stain to be absorbed into the wood. To fully remove the stain, use a sander on the wood. There are sanding blocks that can be used to polish and sand the hard to reach parts of the cabinet, such as those near the hinges and the knobs. Use a soft cloth to clean away the dust that accumulates and forms as you sand the cabinets.

Staining. Finally, take the stain and stir it carefully. This is important since the stain will sometimes separate into two parts – the colored part and the oily part. Once the stain is completely mixed, use a brush to apply the stain on the kitchen cabinets. Make sure that you apply at least three layers of the stain. When applying layers of stain, make sure that the previous layer has already dried out and been absorbed by the wood.

Varnishing. Once the final layer of stain has been applied, let the kitchen cabinets dry overnight. Only after it is completely dry can you apply the varnish. The varnish or the polyurethane will let the stain last longer on the kitchen cabinet and will prevent moisture from damaging the wood.

Use a stain that matches the décor for the rest of the kitchen. With these steps, you can easily update your kitchen just by refinishing the kitchen cabinets.


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