How To Fix Scratched Kitchen Cabinets

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The kitchen is one of the most used places in your home. Scratches can not only damage your kitchen, but they can also make you feel uncomfortable when you look at them all day long.

The good news is that there are many ways to fix scratches on kitchen cabinets. However, before you go ahead with the methods discussed below, first try cleaning your cabinets to see if this helps. Your cabinets may also be damaged due to water leakage so be sure to check out ways for kitchen cabinet repair from water damage and ways to waterproof your kitchen cabinets.

Let’s get started.

1. Use a towel to remove the scratches

A common mistake people make is to sand the scratches out of the kitchen cabinets. 

However, you must be careful when doing this because it can cause more damage. This method should only be used if your cabinet finish is already damaged.

Instead, you can try a variety of methods, including using a sponge, to remove the scratches.

First, take a towel and dampen it with dish soap and water (use a sponge or cloth). Take another dry towel and gently rub the soapy part of the towel down on the scratched area until lightly buffed away. 

2. Using steel wool that has been dusted in olive oil to remove scratches from wood surfaces

This method uses natural oils for its ability to shine and revitalize wood surfaces. 

All you need to do is first, take a rag or sponge and dampen with olive oil (or vegetable oil) and then rub down onto the scratched area until the surface is smoothed out.

Toothpaste contains baking soda and it can also be used to remove minor scratches that aren't deep enough for sanding. 

You need to clean off your cabinets first before starting this method otherwise you'll just scratch up the cabinets. 

3. How to fix scratched kitchen cabinets using cream of tartar

Here's How to use Cream of Tartar to fix scratched kitchen cabinets:

  1. Put some cream of tartar powder into a bow.
  2. Add about 1/4 cup distilled water
  3. Add in about 2-3 drops of dish soap
  4. Mix ingredients together
  5. Using an old rag or towel, apply the mixture on all areas that have been scratched
  6. Let the mixture sit for at least 10 minutes before wiping off with a clean cloth.

4. Sand down and repaint the scratched area

Sanding down the scratched area is a technique used when your cabinet finish is already damaged. Sanding down the scratched area can be a difficult process, you want to start with using coarse sandpaper (80 grit) 

Follow these steps to do it:

  1. Apply paint remover fluid over the entire surface of the scratched area 
  2. Sand down until smooth.
  3. Apply primer and then paint over the entire surface again.

This can be a time-consuming process if you have a lot of cabinets and might take a few days or even weeks to complete depending on how many cabinets you have to fix.

If necessary, paint over the rubbed-off area with a new coat of paint or wax – follow this guide if you want to learn how to do this without sanding.

sanding the scratched cabinet
Image Credit: Kitchen Infinity Photo

5. Paint over any scratches in the cabinet with matching paint to make them less noticeable

By painting over any scratches, you will be able to hide them from the naked eye.

Use a material that will protect your clothing from getting stained and apply paint carefully over the scratched area. Once you have applied enough coats of paint, allow it to dry for at least 24 hours before using. 

You want to make sure that the paint is nice and dry or else any liquid would be able to seep through the cracks which can damage your cabinet more.

This is not something that you want to happen while you are doing your cabinet renovation.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

6. Seal up any gaps between cabinets or drawers with silicone sealant for a more professional-looking finish

When using a silicone sealant, it is important to use one that will not dry out and does not crack because it can be a health concern for the people in your home.

Here’s how to do it in 2 easy steps:

  1. Seal gaps between the cabinets by cleaning and sanding the area 
  2. Apply a generous amount of silicone sealant. 

Make sure to wipe your hands clean so you don't get the sealant anywhere else that you didn't mean to apply. This will do more harm than good.

Silicone sealants are not created equally and choosing the wrong sealing product could cause damage to your cabinets, as well as other problems, So make sure  to waterproof cabinet wisely

Is it cheaper to reface cabinets or replace them?

Replacing all the cabinetry in a kitchen is not an easy task, but there are numerous reasons why you may choose to replace them. 

Perhaps they're looking well worn after years of hard use, or maybe you've decided to refocus the kitchen on your cooking rather than hosting parties, and want to replace those old-fashioned cabinets with a more contemporary design.

This is a question that you need to think about carefully.  

How much you spend on refacing the cabinets will depend on whether or not you can reuse any parts from the existing cabinets, and if they're in good enough condition to be reused. 

If it's a matter of just refinishing them, then this is going to cost around $100-$150 per door. repair cabinet door and trimming to fit new cabinets will add another $70-$80 per door.

Painting kitchen cabinets cost

Final thoughts on how to fix scratched kitchen cabinets

It is completely possible to fix scratched kitchen cabinets with just a few different techniques. 

How you do it depends on how bad the damage is and how much work you want to put into fixing your cabinet. Do not forget to change cabinet door handles to give them a fresh look.

If the scratches are too deep, then sanding down the entire finish of your cabinets may be the best option for you because this will ensure even coverage when applying paint or refinish coatings. In the case that fails, in this blog post, we will show you 6 ways that might work we will when it comes to fixing kitchen cabinets.

Dino Paccino

Dino Paccino

Dino is a lifelong writer and home improvement specialist. He enjoys bringing cutting-edge information on home renovation and remodeling to Kitchen Infinity.

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