Staining The Inside Of Cabinets

Staining the inside of cabinets is similar to staining any other wooden surface (which may be cut to precision using a power tool such as a CNC machine), although it's recommended that the result be odourless since there's likely to be food nearby.


Here are the steps on how to stain the inside of cabinets:

  1. Sand the wood.
  2. Apply a wood conditioner.
  3. Apply a stain.
  4. Apply a finish (optional but recommended).

1. Sand the wood.

The first step is to lightly sand the wood with 120 grit sandpaper, whether it is birch or oak. To avoid scratches, you need to work in the same direction as the grain.

After that, you need to sand the wood with the use of 220 grit sandpaper. This is usually suited for removing any scratches left by the 120, and it also gives the wood a smooth finish.

2. Apply the wood conditioner.

Make sure there's no dust, and apply a coat of conditioner. Leave it to dry.

The conditioner acts as a sealer that enables the stain to go on evenly.

3. Apply the stain.

This should be done in a circular motion to enable the stain to penetrate deep into the wood.

To achieve a final even finish, you should do a final pass with the wood grain.

4. Apply the finish.

The last (optional) step is to apply a finish; this protects the wood, gives it a nice look, and locks in the colour. Stain is generally meant for colouring only.

If you use an oil-based stain, you also need to use an oil-based polyurethane for a finish. Applying the two coats ensures it is protected and is also durable.

Best Paint Finish For Cabinets

Satin and semi-gloss are good choices.

Satin Finish

Satin looks soft, silky and glows a little, and it also resists stains and dust. You can also scrub it easily.

Semi-Gloss Finish

Semi-gloss on the other hand is shiny and reflects a lot of light. It can last a long time and is easy to clean.


Shellac is an ideal finish for the inside of cabinets; it only takes a few hours to dry and is odourless.

Things to keep in mind when staining the inside of cabinets:

  1. Make sure you pick the right colour.
  2. Make sure you use a good finish.
  3. Don't forget to sand the wood beforehand.
  4. Don't expect the job to take less than a few days. Many people tend to think it's a weekend job, but it normally takes four to seven days from start to finish.
  5. Don't forget to clean the wood of dirt and dust.

Good luck staining the inside of your cabinets!

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