How To Care For Your White Bedside Cabinets

How do you keep your furniture in good condition? The temptation to replace it at the first sign of trouble isn’t good for the planet, or your wallet.

When that dream piece becomes marked or damaged, you’ll want to know how to fix it up. These are crucial for white bedside cabinets – white shows the dirt, but it’s the perfect shade for a country bedroom. Read on to find out how to keep it good as new.

White Bedside Cabinet Care Tips

Wooden furniture stains easier than other common materials and is more vulnerable to moisture, so wipe up spillages as soon as possible. Here are some tips for removing stains old and new, and some general cleaning and upkeep advice.

Cleaning Tips

 1. Spills

When wiping up spills, use a damp soapy cloth and a dry soft one afterwards. Using something soft protects the wood by preventing scratches, leaving it with the perfect finish. 

2. Stains

Stains from mugs or cup rings can be an eyesore if not cleaned up. They can be hard to remove if left too long. Mix olive oil and vinegar in a solution, apply it to the affected area for a few minutes, then wipe it off. This is an effective and cheap way to remove annoying stains. 

For tougher, older stains, pure vinegar works wonders. (Never mix vinegar with bleach – it produces a toxic by-product). Only use soft fabric cloths and sponges to clean your wooden cabinet.

3. Water Stains

You can use Vaseline to remove water stains. Apply a thin layer over the affected area overnight - it will replace the trapped moisture with oil. This allows you to wipe it clean the next day. If the stain hasn’t gone completely, repeat the process.

4. Prevent Discolouration

Prevent your white wooden cabinet from yellowing over time by keeping it out of direct sunlight. You can also get your windows covered with anti-glare material.

5. Clean Often

Cleaning your wooden furniture monthly (along with regular dusting) can keep the material and colour nice and bright. Use a solution of 1 cup of white wine vinegar to 2 cups of warm water. Wipe with a soft material towel to keep it looking fresh.

6. Eraser Sponges

If your cabinet sees a lot of use, it can quickly become covered in fingerprints and other marks. On white wood, this will build up over time and look messy. Using magic eraser sponges weekly keeps your cabinet free from marking and leaves it looking great. You can find these sponges at most shops.

7. Toothpaste

It may seem like an odd cleaning material, but toothpaste can remove cup rings. Apply a small amount of non-gel toothpaste to a soft cloth and rub it into the affected area, then wipe clean with a damp cloth. Wait for this to dry and then apply furniture polish.

To remove heat stains, try creating a paste with non-gel toothpaste and baking soda. Rub into the stained area until it feels warm, then wipe this clean with a second damp cloth and dry it immediately. When the mark is gone, use furniture polish or oil to spruce up the affected area.

8. Dark Stains

Dark stains can be a pain to get out of white wooden furniture, especially if they aren’t treated immediately. If you have black stains on your cabinet, this is usually because water has reached the wood underneath the finish. To remove you can try one of two options:

Sand and Varnish

  • Lightly sand the affected and surrounding areas to match with medium grit sandpaper. Take care not to push too hard, and make sure you work with the grain.
  • Once the stain is sanded out, apply several light coatings of varnish to match the original finish. 
  • Finally, feather edges with fine steel wool and finish the whole lot up with wood polish.
  • Get a bowl of bleach and a brush and apply to the stained area lightly. 
  • Let this sit for a few hours, making sure the stain has faded to its original colour.
  • Next, remove the bleach with a damp sponge. 
  • Apply vinegar to neutralise the wood and prevent it from lightening further. 
  • Let the wood dry and finish with a stain remover followed by wood polish, if necessary.

If you have bad stains on your white wooden bedside cabinets, it’s best not to try hard chemicals on the affected area straight away. This can damage the colour and texture of the material and the finish. 

Instead, clear the excess from the affected area and then try dabbing with soapy water and white vinegar, using a microfibre cloth. Also beware not to scrub, especially on rougher finish wood - this can result in irreparable damage to the finish.

If neither of these methods removes a deep dark stain and you’re at your wit’s end, it might be time to consider a repaint. 

Cleaning Essentials

It’s annoying when there’s a spillage that you need to clean right away, but you can’t find anything in the house to clear it up with. Here are some great cleaning materials it’s always good to have on hand around the house:

  • Microfibre cleaning cloths – They are very soft and pick up fine dust, making them exceptionally useful for wooden furniture. Pick up a multi-pack to always have some on hand.
  • White vinegar – As mentioned, this can easily remove the toughest stains from wood. White shows the dirt, so keep some on hand at all times.
  • Dishcloths – You can never have enough of them. Always remember to keep a good supply so you can give things a wipe down when necessary.
  • Magic sponge – These are very useful and effective on most furniture pieces. Always have a pack lying around the house in case you need them.
  • Washing up liquid – You probably always have this around the house but it’s best to keep an extra bottle or two. You can use it as a soapy solution when you need to clean furniture.
  • Hairspray – This may not be the most obvious cleaning product, but the alcohol content works wonders in cleaning felt tip or biro marks on hard surfaces.
  • Feather dusters – An essential household item, and great for removing dust from delicate surfaces such as mirrors, frames and yes, wood cabinets.
  • Repair pens - For smaller scratches, nicks or holes, repair pens are useful for quick and easy touch ups. You don’t have to do any large scale sanding or repainting. You simply apply and rub in and then scrape off the excess. You can find repair sticks in most DIY shops, and online, so they’re quite easy to get ahold of.

DIY and Upkeep

If you’ve had your bedside cabinet for a while, there’s a good chance that it will have become damaged or run down over the years. Never fear - with a bit of DIY skill and some basic tools, you can upcycle an old piece into something almost brand new!

  1. Plan - First, plan for what you want to do with your old piece of furniture. Are you looking to give it a complete makeover, or just restore it with a fresh coat of paint and finish?
  2. Gather your tools - This isn’t just about physical tools such as paintbrushes, sanders, etc, but ideas and tips. Read around home magazines, sites and bloggers to get info on the latest trends and techniques.
  3. Take your time -  Planning and patience are required for a successful DIY job. Rushing through stages such as painting and glueing can leave your furniture irreparably damaged, and cost you money so it’s much better to take your time to get the best finish.

Spot Repairs, Scratches and Dents

If you’re doing spot repairs, you need to refinish the area after completing the initial work. That work may be filling in gouges and scratches, or repairing burn marks. 

Spot repairs don’t always work, especially on stained surfaces, but it’s worth trying it if the damage isn’t too bad. If there are several areas that need repair, it might be better to repaint and refinish the entire cabinet.

Here are a few tips for fixing small issues on your cabinets:

  1. Small Scratches

You can use a repair marker for this. It fills smaller dings and scratches with wax. Scrape away the excess after, and your cabinet will be as good as new. It’s not recommended to use them for larger damaged areas.

  1. Deep Scratches

Bad scratches usually have to be refinished, but with very deep ones, you may need to apply oil-based stain along with the scratch. You can get this at any DIY shop. 

Apply it, let it stand for 15 minutes, then wipe it off. Repeat the procedure if necessary, until the scratch matches the rest of the wood.

  1. Small Dents

You can raise small dents with water. After sandpapering the finish around the dent, apply a small amount of water to it and allow it to penetrate for a day or two. 

If this doesn’t work you may need to use wood swelling liquid, in line with the instructions. Larger dents should be filled in and refinished.

A Quick DIY Example

  1. Sand

To begin, you’ll want to sand down all the old paint and surfaces. Remove any fixtures, draws and doors – you don’t want to sand down the screws or hinges. 

You might need to use an electric sander if the unit is quite large, but you can use sandpaper for smaller and harder to reach areas. Wipe down the dust after you’re finished. 

If you’re giving your cabinet a complete makeover, sanding down all the protruding decorative features in this stage is crucial.

  1. Identify and fix any defects or damage

Do this while the cabinet is in a ‘rough’ state. Applying PVA glue or wood filler to cracks, allowing it to dry and then sanding down the excess will usually fix all but the biggest cracks in the wood.

  1. Cosmetic changes

At this point, replace any shelves or make cosmetic changes if you wish, such as turning a lattice cupboard panel into a solid door. This is the stage in which planning is essential! If you are simply just giving your wood cabinet a new coat of paint, you can skip this step.

  1. Finish

Next, give the wood a new finish. Get your primer undercoat and give it a good stir, then apply a generous amount to the entire cabinet. In addition to giving your cabinet a good paint base, it helps even out any dents or uneven areas. Once it’s dried, give it another light sanding all over to remove imperfections and help the paint stick easier.

  1. Paint

Add the first coat of your chosen colour. Focussing on the smaller, more intricate areas first and work your way up to the larger areas. 

Once you’ve got an even coating inside and out, wait for it to dry, then give the unit another light sanding to keep the paint layer smooth. 

Add your second layer after cleaning up - make sure you roller over any brush strokes on the larger areas and use a paintbrush on the detail areas.

  1. Decoration

After this, you can add decoration if you wish. If not, you can now varnish the unit to seal the wood. Apply an even coating with a brush, then allow it to dry. After this, you can re-attach the doors and fittings, and you should be left with a reinvigorated cabinet!

To Sum Up

You now have plenty of tips to keep your white wooden bedside cabinets clean, and to keep it looking great! From tricks on keeping water stains and fingerprints off your cabinet to DIY suggestions, you know just about everything to keep it in top condition.

If you’re looking for a new piece, this white bedside cabinet is made with mahogany and finished with a semi-gloss paint. Its tranquil beauty is the perfect complement to any bedroom.