Oh no! The worst has happened – your kitchen cabinets are full of water. Not only is the contents of each cabinet wet, but your cabinets themselves aren’t looking good. Water damage is a serious threat to your cabinets, especially wooden ones. However, there is sometimes nothing we can do to predict a leak.
If you find yourself in the position of contemplating what to do about water-damaged kitchen cabinets, read on.
Step 1: Empty your kitchen cabinets
Be sure to empty the contents of all affected cabinets, and surrounding ones too. You never know if the leak might spread to other cabinets. Keep food that was stored in glass or plastic containers, because they should remain unaffected by the water. You should throw away any food in cardboard boxes or paper bags, as the water will have penetrated these.
Step 2: Dry your kitchen cabinets
Once your cabinets are empty of food and any other contents, be sure to get them as dry as possible with thick cotton towels, followed by paper towels. After this, your cabinets should feel dry to the touch, although you might still see evidence of water damage if they are made of MDF or other types of wood.
It is important to dry your cabinets as soon as possible to reduce the chance that they will need replacing. Wet cabinets can become a breeding ground for mold to grow and spread throughout the kitchen, which is unhygienic to say the least!
Furthermore, leaving your wooden cabinets wet will only increase the chance that irreversible water damage will cause the material to crumble. In this instance, you will need to prepare to replace your kitchen cabinets.
Step 3: Remove cabinet doors
This might feel like a waste of time if you have already dried your cabinets, but removing the doors will allow for more air flow and reduce the chance of mold growth.
Removing the doors from their hinges will also reduce the weight being taken by the shelving and flat surfaces, meaning they are less likely to crumble under the water damage.
Step 4: Fully dry with dehumidifier
Once your cabinets are free of water and their doors are off, you can get some high-volume fans and a dehumidifier to target the rest of the moisture. Your cabinets might take around 24 hours to dry under the influence of a few fans and one dehumidifier.
Step 5: Assess the damage
When your kitchen cabinets are fully dry, you will have a few options. If they are made of particle board, the chances are that the water damage has caused them to crumble and you will need to replace them with new units.
If your cabinets are warped with visible water damage, but are still sturdy, you can try screwing in some boards to act as braces to help straighten them out.
If your cabinets are ready to be used again but are still sporting water stains, you can try sanding down the finish before removing the stains with a combination of oxalic acid and water. You will need to brush a couple of coats onto the stains before neutralizing the acid with a solution of baking soda and water.
Written by Jack Vale