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How to Stain Cabinets Without Sanding [2 Effective Methods]

Repainting or staining is not so easy to do. The step of sanding leads to even more complicacy! Thus, it is common to think of an alternative to sanding. And fortunately, you can actually do it which many do not know. But how!

How to stain cabinets without sanding?

Staining cabinets without sanding is possible and quite easy too. You can mainly follow 2 methods to stain your cabinets without sanding. The first method you may try is the method of using a paint stripper. If not, then you may also use another method. That is, staining cabinets using a gel stain.

You already have got a brief about it. But I have covered all the details in the coming part. Keep reading!

Get into the main part now!

Stain My Cabinets Without Sanding: 2 Alternative Methods

You may choose one of these 2 methods for this. Both are simple to operate and also cost-effective. Take a look to know in detail.

Method 1: Using Paint Stripper

We have covered this method in multiple steps so that you don’t get confused. The steps are discussed below.

Step 1: Prepare The Place

The first step to take is to arrange the surroundings to get started. Get ready to stain or restain the cabinets. If the cabinets are new, then you have to stain them first and leave them hanging.

But if the cabinets are old, you must remove them first before you stain them. Now, don’t worry! Because removing them is not that hard. You can do it yourself using a screwdriver.

You may also take professional help for this. But I suggest you do it yourself.

Remember to cover the surroundings at the beginning. You may use old newspapers or even old pieces of cloth to cover these. 

Because any stain would damage the appearance of the surroundings.

Step 2: Wipe The Cabinets

Once you remove your cabinet doors, wipe them up. Get one clean cloth and swipe off the dust from the surface. This can help you to make your wood cabinets glossy.

But remember one thing. Make sure the wiping cloth is not wet. Because this can damage your cabinets gradually.

Step 3: Apply Paint Stripper

Apply paint stripper on your cabinets and doors’ stained areas. Read the container’s instructions and observe the specified period of time. 

Then, using a paint remover tool, wipe the stain or color off the cabinets. Scrape and reapply additional strippers till the previous coat or stain is completely removed.

Use a wood cleaner with a deglosser to wash the cabinet surfaces and doors. Scrub and cleanse all exterior surfaces of your cabinets with this cleanser using an old rag. 

After that, clean off any leftovers from the chemical stripper. Remember to wipe away any existing paint or stain too.

Step 4: Apply The Stain

Be careful not to stain any furniture or doors while doing this. Although taking off stains from doors is not impossible, be aware.

Leave the cleaner to settle before using an old rag to put the new stain. To re-stain your cabinets, rub the rag all over the doors. 

To achieve an equal color throughout the cabinet doors, wipe the rag in a circular motion.

Wait for overnight drying of the initial application of stain. Add a second layer of stain, following the same procedure as in the previous stage.

Step 5: Reassemble The Cabinet Doors

Replace the cabinet doors on the door facings to reinstall the cabinets. Put the bolts back through the hooks and into the holes with a screwdriver.

One thing to keep in mind. This can be a good time to fix your cabinet hinges if required.

And finally, you are done staining cabinets without sanding. Now, let’s move on to the second method to know about that.

Method 2: Using Gel Stain

This method is also an easy and effective method like the previous one. Get into the steps now to know in detail.

Step 1: Clean The Cabinets

First, get 3 mugs of warm water and vinegar to mix equally. Then spray your cabinet doors and keep them sprayed for about 10 minutes. 

Now, take a piece of cloth and wipe off the cabinet doors.

Step 2: Apply The Gel Stain

Put the gel stain in a uniform coating with a tiny roller. Gel stain works nicely with foam materials because they don’t leave brush strokes.

Not sure about the tiny roller? Here are a few suggestions:

Product 1
Product 2

Hope this helps!

Keep your eyes peeled for danger around the bends. The stain should ideally be identically thick all over. If it collects in the corners, those areas would look darker than the rest of the room.

Step 3: Let The Stain Dry

Allow the cabinets to rest for a day. Throughout this time, the gel stain would dry. Once a day is over, you can check it’s completely dry. Give it a small touch with your fingers to see that.

Step 4: Apply Another Layer of Stain

Once the current gel stain dries, apply another coat of it. Because a single coating may not be enough for the color. 

Generally, the desired color comes after applying it 2 to 3 times. You would apply them just like you did the first time.


Question: Is it okay if I restain my stained cabinets?

Answer: No, it is not okay to restain the cabinets that are already stained. In fact, you would not be able to do it. But a varnish or a tinted stain mixture can be applied over it. Using a delicate paintbrush, add the coat. It would be a great way to express the gloss of the furniture.

Question: Is it okay to stain on polyurethane objects?

Answer: Yes, you may stain on a polyurethane finish that has been applied. But this is achievable using a gel dye only. On the polyurethane surface, a gel stain develops a film. And it works brilliantly since it soaks into the pores of the wood. 

Question: Can polyurethane darken the stain on objects?

Answer: Oil-based polyurethane would most likely leave a yellow sheen on the dyed wood. This may let it appear darker at times. The appearance of the stained wood would not be affected by water-based polyurethane. But the gloss of the polyurethane may make the stain look brighter in certain cases.

The Final Words

Now you know how to stain cabinets without sanding! I believe I let all your confusion out.

I also have an ending tip for you. It might be inconvenient to move out the furniture while staining. In that case, cover them up with a cloth or anything.

All the best!