Clean Cabinets Before Painting

Cabinets are a must in the kitchen; they offer enough space for storing goods and uplift the overall aesthetic appearance of your kitchen. However, they are prone to splatters of oil and steam from cooking which, combined with dust, turn them into a dull, ugly, and grungy surface inside and outside.

At this point, painting can bring back the eyesome of cabinets. However, you need to clean them before kick-starting the further process.

Cleaning your cabinets thoroughly before painting is a crucial step to ensure a successful and long-lasting paint job. Here is all the nitty-gritty you must know to clean cabinets before painting without burdening your budget. So let’s spill the beans without delay.

1- Prepare In Advance

Before you start:

  • Wear your safety gear.
  • Clear the work area from any objects.
  • Cover the floor with a leak-proof floor protector.

Assess the old paint condition; If it is good, you can move to the next step; otherwise, pick any stripping product, pull out the old paint, and make it ready for a new smooth and fine finish.

2- Empty and Detach the Cabinet Doors and Drawers

Empty the cabinets from storing goods and unfasten all the doors and drawers. Make sure to bag all the hardware and label it for later use. You can also tag the drawers and doors with painter’s tape to put them in the right place later without being twisted up.


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3- Clean And Degrease the Cabinets

  • Once you remove the doors and drawers, the next step is to degrease them properly. For that, choosing the right cleaner is crucial to ditch the layers of grim and filth on the surface. You can try both natural and commercial cleaners for this purpose.
  • Apply any suitable degreaser to the cabinets and scrub with a drill brush attachment. Or apply the cleaner to a soft cloth or sponge rather than directly on the cabinet surface. This allows you to control the amount of cleaner applied and prevents excess moisture from seeping into the wood. If you don’t have the drill brush, no problem; try a soft-bristle brush and scrub it by hand. Take a damp microfiber cloth and strip off all the grease and dirt. Allow the cabinets to air dry completely before proceeding with sanding or painting. Moisture trapped in the wood can affect paint adhesion and result in an uneven finish.
  • Don’t use water for cleaning purposes; it can damage your cabinet’s wood.

Best Cleaner / Degreaser to Clean Kitchen Cabinets Before Painting

Degreaser to Clean Kitchen

The best way to clean kitchen cabinets before painting is to degrease them with the right product. Here are a few suggestions for you,

i- TSP ( Trisodium phosphate)
Before using, it’s better to dilute it with water. TSP is the most efficient cleanser and can scarp off the old paint’s tidbits. But it can irritate your skin ans eyes, so safety wear is a must.

ii- Krud Kutter
The most potent and inexpensive cleaner that can cut all the grease and dirt in a few minutes with a simple application of sparing it on the affected area.

iii- Baking soda And Water
Natural but ideal product to spruce up the kitchen cabinets. All you need is to mix one part of soda with two parts of water and one lemon. Spray on the surface and wait for 3 to 5 minutes to work it successfully. And clean with a wet soft wet towel.

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iv- Vinegar And Lemon
Another fantastic alternative is mixing an equal quantity of vinegar with hot water. Apply for 3 to 4 minutes to work it. And clean with a damp soft microfiber towel.

v- Dishwasher
One of the best degreasers to clean the kitchen cabinets before painting. Take a bowl of water and add a few drops from a dishwasher. Soak the sponge or any cloth and rub it on the surface to eliminate all the stains and dirt. Clean and dry with a soft microfiber towel.

vi- Commercial Cabinet Cleaners

There are many commercial cabinet cleaners available, which may be suitable for your specific cabinet material and condition.

Test in an Inconspicuous Area:

 Before applying any cleaner to the entire cabinet surface, test it in a small, inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t cause damage or discoloration.

Read also: How to Removing paint from concrete and Other Stains

4- Sanding The Cabinet Doors And Drawers

Sanding improves the adhesion of primer and paint on the surface and gives the most appealing finishing. Try 150 grit to 220 grit sandpaper to make the cabinet surface even before painting.

But ensure you clean the cabinets appropriately before sanding; otherwise, the result can be awful.

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5- Caulk And Repair

Caulking helps to fill the gap between the cabinet doors and walls for a tempting appearance. You can also caulk the cabinet doors, especially white ones, before painting to smooth the imperfections like dents, cracks, and holes.

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6- Priming And Painting

Now, it’s time to prime and paint the cabinets in your favorite color. Priming hides any leftover defects and provides paint with better adhesion to stick. Apply two coats of primer in small intervals. Wait for it to dry. Oil-based primers are ideal over latex as they provide additional force to paint for adhesion along with better stain blocking ability.

Then paint the cabinets with a paintbrush and leave them until it is scorched.

Read also: What is the Best Primer for Cabinets

7- Wash And Assemble the Hardware

Wash and scrub the hardware with hot water and a dishwasher. Clean and dry it. A light spray of primer can be helpful to restore the look.

Assemble all the doors and drawers with hardware. And you are all set. Congratulations, I have done the job perfectly!

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