If you experience flooding or another major water event in your kitchen, there is a possibility your kitchen cabinets could be damaged – maybe even permanently ruined. The longer the water sits and soaks in, the greater the risk of long-term damage, so it’s important to make sure your cabinets get dried thoroughly and quickly.
Of course, the best way to protect your kitchen cabinets is to prevent flooding in the first place. Unfortunately, kitchen floods can be common due to all the various plumbing lines needed for routine kitchen tasks. That’s why it’s important to regularly check and inspect for wear, damage, or malfunction. Some useful areas and issues to check for include:
Damaged Refrigerator Water Lines
Leaking Pipes Under Sinks
Cracked or Frozen Pipes
If, however, in spite of your best prevention efforts you do experience a kitchen flood, you’ll want to be able to act fast to try to save your kitchen cabinets.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for how to dry, clean, and repair your kitchen cabinets after water damage:
Identify & Stop the Source of the Water
Before you can start drying and cleaning, you need to stop the inflow of water.
You can turn off the main water supply valve to instantly stop water throughout your home.
(You may even want to identify its location now and share that information with everyone in your family, that way in case of emergency, the water can be stopped quickly).
With the water shut off, you can seek out the cause of the water damage. While you don’t necessarily need to repair it before you start the drying process, you will want to make sure there isn’t a repeat of the problem after you get everything dried and cleaned.
2. Empty the Contents of Your Kitchen Cabinets
Take everything out of your cabinets and take note of what is salvageable and what should just be disposed of immediately.
Unfortunately, any paper goods or food stored in cardboard may just need to be tossed.
3. Soak Up Any Excess Water
You want to remove as much water as you can as quickly as possible.
If the flooding is severe, you may even want to use or rent a wet dry vac or pump to remove large amounts of water quickly. Then, use thick towels or blankets to soak up the remaining water. Your goal should be kitchen cabinets that feel dry to the touch.
4. Take Off the Cabinet Doors
If there’s water seeping in near the hinges of your kitchen cabinet door, the excess weight can lead to further damage.
By removing the doors, you can limit the additional weighted stress while also improving the airflow around the affected area.
5. Dry Thoroughly
In order to dry your cabinets thoroughly and quickly, you want to use fans in combination with a dehumidifier. You may even want to rent commercial grade equipment from a local hardware company, as these will significantly help speed up the drying time.
Make sure the airflow is drying your kitchen cabinet doors too. You may even want to check the floors near your cabinets for signs of water that may need drying.
6. Clean & Disinfect
Once your cabinets are thoroughly dry, you will want to make sure they are sanitized to prevent mold growth, bacteria, and possible lingering odors.
By mixing one cup of bleach or white vinegar per gallon of warm water, you should have an effective cleaning solution to use to wipe down your cabinetry.
If there are water stains on your cabinets, you can use oxalic acid to remove them. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and be prepared to try multiple applications if necessary.
7. Repair & Refinish
Depending on the water damage your kitchen cabinets have endured, they may need to be repaired and/or refinished.
It’s common to need to lightly sand the wood and then apply a new coat of stain or paint. Be sure to start with a layer of sealant to protect the wood and a top coat at the end for a long-term solution.
Hopefully with these tips, you’ll be ready to salvage your kitchen cabinets! Unfortunately, this is not always possible. Cabinets made from particle board are especially prone to fall apart under the stress of too much water. And even solid wood can warp.
So, maybe now you’re thinking it might be time to replace or upgrade your current cabinetry….?
If so, our team of friendly experts here at RTA Wood Cabinets will be happy to answer any questions you may have – just give us a call at: 877-247-6918.