Asked on Sep 21, 2019

How do I get my maple cabinets to look like natural wood color again?

by Stephanie

The protectant seems to have turned orangish. I really liked them when they looked more like natural wool color.

  8 answers
  • Aiya Maston Aiya Maston on Sep 21, 2019

    Have you tried washing them with a mild detergent, such as Dawn? You could add a little vinegar to the rinse water. That might be all that’s needed.

  • Lynn Sorrell Lynn Sorrell on Sep 21, 2019

    probably pulled the natural oils/tannins from the wood discoloring it, you could bleach them with wood bleach or try hydrogen peroxide to lighten them Or, mix a solution of 3 tablespoons turpentine, 3 tablespoons linseed oil, and 1 quart boiling water. Wear rubber gloves when mixing and applying the warm solution, and make new batches whenever it starts to cool. Rinse the wood with clean water. are they sealed? you'll most likely need to remove it. Water base products will discolor/ leach/ pull out tannins ; The quick fix is a sealer so the tannin or stain can't penetrate through. My favorite remedy for bleed through/stains is shellac or shellac based primer. Other stain blockers that also work are oil based primer/paints, spray shellac, polyurethane or even wax(not so good for kitchen use,not permanent). Tannic acid is brown in color, so in general white woods have a low tannin content. Woods with a lot of yellow, red, or brown coloration to them (like cedar, redwood, red oak, oak,walnut etc.) tend to contain a lot of tannin.

    • Stephanie Stephanie on Sep 21, 2019

      Lynn wow you’ve got a lot of information. I will take this all into consideration. Thank you so much

  • Zard Pocleeb Zard Pocleeb on Sep 21, 2019

    Most of the time the problem is in the topcoat and not the wood. That is one of the problems with polyurethane, shellac, and varnish. The finish that holds up best and doesn’t change color over time is lacquer. You’ll have to strip the cabinets and refinish with lacquer for the best result.

  • DesertRose DesertRose on Sep 21, 2019

    I use Old English on my furniture. I have cherry wood so I use the dark, but it comes in light too which is what your maple would need. It is wonderful for cleaning, moisturizing with natural oils, and covering any scratches so they do not show! It will bring the shine back and in homes with central air and central heat that dries the wood, it helps restore and prevents the wood from drying out. I use it regularly, once a month or more and more often in the heavy furnace or a/c use months. You can find it in the store where they sell furniture polish, but it is much much more than polish. It is an oil that nourishes the wood and brings out the shine again.

  • Sharon Sharon on Sep 21, 2019

    How is the best way to paint cabinets white

  • William William on Sep 21, 2019

    I agree with Zard. It's the topcoat and not the wood or stain. Finishes like shellac, varnish, and oil base poly do yellow or orange over time. Water based poly and lacquer do not. Sunlight, UV rays, and time can cause them to change color. You would need to sand the old finish off and recoat with a water based poly. Stripping may remove the stain with the topcoat.

  • I agree with Zard and William. Oil-based finishes yellow with time. Water-based polyurethane is much easier to work with than lacquer, which requires a solvent for cleaning.

    Sanding off the finish will be a challenge. Remove the doors and drawers first. Sand the flat cabinet strips that are left with an electric sander and MANY changes of medium grit sandpaper, followed by fine sandpaper. This is a very long job.

    To remove the finish on the doors and drawers, set up outdoors and use a stripper. This also is a huge messy job, requiring Neoprene gloves and lots and lots of rags after more than one stripping.

    And then you get to paint everything with the water-based polyurethane.

    If the finish is still good on the cabinets, maybe the best course is to accept that the finish is doing a normal quality aging.

    And do not be quick to paint your high-quality solid oak cabinets. Paint chips and cannot be restored well without stripping everything, again, a huge messy job, and starting over, only to chip again. Any chips on natural wood can easily be repaired with stain and a bit of linseed oil prepared for small jobs.

  • Stacey Stacey on Sep 22, 2019

    I would clean well and rinse. I like Danish Oil in the color they are supposed be. Buy a small sample piece of the wood type (maple) and use it to try out any product you plan to try that has any colorants or sealants.

    • See 1 previous
    • Stacey Stacey on Sep 23, 2019

      I did forget an important part. So sorry! Danish oil is all that I’ve used. So if you have varnish on them that would have to be removed. But with Danish oil, everything soaks into the wood, when it needs a freshening, you just rub more on.