The three most common cabinet materials are wood, laminate, and thermofoil, says a 40+ year old Residential Cleaning Company servicing Highland Park, Il. General care is the same for all, but treatments of scratches and stains differ for each.
Wood cabinets can be made of many different wood varieties, including maple, birch, and cherry. Often, cabinet boxes and doors are covered in a veneer bonded to lesser-quality woods or medium density fiberboard rather than being made of solid wood. Wood cabinets are usually finished with either a tough, clear coating that seals and protects the wood or a painted finish. Do not apply oil to sealed or painted wood cabinets. the oil will not penetrate the finish and will attract dust and grime. Camouflage superficial scratches with shoe polish or a wax fill stick designed for repairing furniture in a color that matches the original finish. Deep scratches will necessitate refinishing.
Thermofoil, is made of medium-density fiberboard coated with a layer of vinyl. Unlike laminate cabinet doors, which are generally flat, thermofoil cabinet doors often have raised or recessed-panel designs. Because the vinyl layer is extremely thin, it can be bonded to more intricate shapes than laminate can. Camouflage superficial scratches using a repair kit made specifically for thermofoil cabinets, available at home centers or from cabinet retailers. Deep scratches cannot be repaired: you will need to replace the cabinet door.
Laminate, also know as Melamine, is made of layers of draft paper impregnated with plastic, laminate veneers are generally bonded to wood or medium-density fiberboard to create cabinet boxes and doors. Stains on laminates can be treated with a paste of baking soda and water. Do not rub, as baking soda is abrasive. Camouflage superficial scratches using a repair kit made specifically for laminate cabinets, available at home centers or cabinet retailers. All of the above are in Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook and are followed by a 40 + year old Residential Cleaning Company servicing Highland Park, Il.