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Caring for Cabinetry

While we here at Dovetailed by design enjoy breathing new life into battered or scratched cabinetry, we also like to prepare homeowners for the maintenance involved with any woodworking construction. There are a couple of simple tenets to follow to keep cabinets looking brand new through years of use.


The first step is ensuring that there is a high-quality polish placed on the cabinets. While installation teams will typically do this step for you, it is not difficult to perform if necessary. Just wipe clean with a damp cloth and dry with another soft cloth. Ensure that you are always doing this in the direction of the wood grain to avoid splintering highly textured surfaces. Then, apply a high-quality polish to the surface to prevent any minor scratching, moisture, and staining.

The wonderful thing about woodwork is that each wood grain, being a natural material, has unique attributes and texture. This simply means you have to recognize the subtle differences in each to be able to take good care of each nook and cranny. Luckily, most cabinets are smoothed finely, meaning there is much less texture to worry about maintaining as long as slight caution is taken.

Basic Cleaning

Few things can dampen someone's love for their kitchen as easily as a stain that will absolutely, under no circumstances, come out of the counters. People oftentimes begin using rougher cleaning measures to attempt to solve the problem, but many of these products will permanently damage the surface. A few of these products to avoid include:

  • Petroleum-based products

  • Solvents

  • Bleach

  • Strong detergents and soaps

  • Nail polish remover

  • Paint thinners

  • Plastic brushes

  • Steel wool

  • Scoring Pad

  • Ammonia

If grease or grime begins to buildup on your cabinets, be cautious about which cleaning supply you consider for the job. For simple biweekly maintenance, a simple damp washcloth is effective in removing most small spills. A step above for tougher stains is a bit of mild dishwashing soap mixed with water. If the problem persists, mixing a tad of baking soda and water on a sponge can do wonders, as well as the alternative mix of vinegar and water. After each of these steps, go through once more with a dry cloth to remove excess moisture on the cabinetry. The most important step is to wipe any spills promptly, as it makes a world of difference regarding how much effort has to go into the stain removal. When taken care of before the spill dries, simple water and blotting can go a long way.

Things to Avoid

There are a number of different things that can be detrimental to the maintenance of cabinetry that should be avoided.

  • Avoid excessive moisture

  • Avoid high humidity changes

  • Avoid sunlight damage

  • Avoid exposing harsh cleaners

  • Avoid exposing to waxes

Following these simple steps, you can keep your cabinets smooth and clean for decades. We, however, recognize that life happens sometimes. If any damage is unavoidable and extreme, Dovetailed by design can help revitalize scratched and stained wood cabinetry to turn back time on the texture.

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