How To Clean Kitchen Cabinets Before Painting

You should clean your kitchen by using a heavy-duty degreaser to clean them. You can use your regular dish soap or a commercial product cleanser.

You will also need a light sponge to scrub the surfaces. Before you paint your kitchen cabinets, you need to go clean them. Why? The paint will not stay.

Krud Kutter is a commercial cleaner you can use to clean your cabinets.

Make sure that the brushes you use are gentle on the surface of the cabinets so that they will not scratch them.

However, some cabinets situation might call for coarse brushes. After scrubbing all surfaces, wipe their form with a clean and wet cloth.

How To Clean Kitchen Cabinets Before Painting

How To Clean Kitchen Cabinets Before Painting

Should you clean your kitchen cabinets before you paint?

Yes, you should.

Cleaning your kitchen cabinets before you paint bid perhaps the most crucial step you have to take before you paint.

They, the cabinets, can get extremely dirty and for good reasons.

Firstly, kitchen cabinets are the most touched and used of all the cabinets in a home, and the doors are usually stained with grease and oil. Paint will not stick to oil and dirt.

Rather than make a beautiful and fantastic sight, painting over dirty and greasy cabinets will produce disastrous results.


Read: How To Clean White Laminate Cabinets That Have Yellowed


Painting Kitchen Cabinets For Beginners

What to use when cleaning your kitchen cabinets before you paint them?

A commercial cleaner you can use to clean your cabinets is TSP. You can also check for powerful degreasers that will cut through the grease and dirt without any stress.

It would be best if you used a moist cloth to wipe down the cabinets after using cleansers to clean them.

Other things you can use include liquid de-glosser, denatured alcohol, de-greaser, and dish soap.

Dish soap can remove light grease and dirt, but it will not cut through thick amounts of grime or grease.


Denatured Alcohol


Denatured alcohol is very good for heavy grease. It can also deal effectively with sticker adhesive and tough stains.

What’s more? Denatured alcohol will evaporate from the surface of the cabinet without leaving any residue.

This is unlike TSP, which leaves a residue on the surface of the cabinet, and this will cause adhesion problems when you do not rinse it off.

You should also wear gloves when you handle denatured alcohol or liquid cleaner.

If the cabinets are not greasy, you can use dish soap to clean off the dirt and food stains. Use coarse scrub pads to wipe down the surface.




Stained cabinets have a protective lacquer finish that can be de-glossed with a chemical cleaner or sanded off.

You need to remove the glossy lacquer finish on the surface, allowing the applied paint to stay better on the cabinet.

Sanding your cabinets is a good method of removing the lacquer finish on your cabinet, which is a better type of cleansing agent than just using a de-glosser.

You can also sand the cabinets regardless of the type of cleaning agents that you use. 




Sanding helps to bare the cabinet surface, removing all iota of dirt and grease so that the paint and primer can sit and bond well on the surface of the cabinet.

You should use an electric sander for sanding the cabinets before you paint them.

Electric Sander

Sanding multiple cabinets and doors can take too long, so an electric sander will be of great help.

Please search for the best electric sander that will fit your cabinet needs and use it for sanding your cabinet before you paint.


Remove Dust


You cannot paint a cabinet ridden with dust. Always remove the dust after you have sanded the cabinets.

If the dust is very heavy, you can use a vacuum to draw the dust out even from cracks and tight corners.

Wipe down the cloth with a damp rag. Make sure to wipe the cabinets dry with a dry cloth to remove any watermarks.

How To Clean Cabinets Before Painting

5 Steps To Painting Kitchen Cabinets For Beginners

There are two types of paint that you can use to paint your cabinet: oil-based cabinet and water-based.

Oil-based paint dries to a durable finish that works well in high-traffic areas and is less likely to show brushstrokes than water-based paint.

Oil-based paint takes longer to dry, and the paint tolls must be cleaned up with chemical solvents.

Water-based paint dries quickly and can be cleaned with water.

You should use a semi-gloss or gloss paint, which is durable and easy to clean.


  1. Clean the cabinets

Clean the outside surfaces of the cabinet boxes and the drawers, and the doors with TSP or other cleaners to remove grease and grime.

If you will paint the interior of the cabinet, you should endeavor to clean it too.

If you are using TSP, you should wear rubber gloves because TSP is a mild irritant that can deeply affect your skin.

You should dismantle the cabinets to make cleaning easy. By doing this, you will be able to touch every part of your cabinets without any barrier.


  1. Patch and sand

Inspect the cabinet boxes for areas that need patching. If you find these areas, you can use a putty knife and a wood putty to repair the damages.

First, smooth the putty using the knife and allow it to dry for some minutes. Then, sand the putty until it is smooth.

You should also sand the outside of the cabinets using the electric sander or a sandpaper grit.

By doing this, you will ensure that the paint sticks to the body of the cabinet without making a mess of things.

Wipe down the surface of the cabinet with a moist cloth to remove all iota of dust on them.


You can wipe the surfaces with a tack cloth again to double-check that there is no dust on them and make sure that the cabinets are very dry.

Make sure that you sand everywhere, including those small corners, the indentations of the cabinet door panels, and around any trim.

Sanding roughness up the surface of the cabinet so that paint can stick.

Therefore, if you get through to these places, you ensure that the paint and primer will adhere to the cabinets on every part of their surface.


  1. Apply primer

You should apply an even coat of primer to the exposed surfaces of the cabinets.

Make sure you get through to all the doors and drawer fronts by using rollers, brushes, and sprayers.

Apply the primer in long, smooth, and even strokes, and make sure that the brushstrokes do not show. Paint the edges of the cabinet’s doors.

Once you are done, allow the primer to dry completely before you apply the first coat of paint.

You should use an oil primer because it will allow the paint to stick well to the cabinet.


  1. Apply paint

The painting should come in two coats. The second coat of paint is to bring out the color of the paint well.

The first coat should cover all the surfaces of the cabinets.

Paint all sides of the doors, paint the backs, paint the corners, and make sure that the paint dries before you add the second coat. You should read the manufacturers instruction before you paint.


After the first coat, apply the paint a second time on every place you painted at first. Make sure you paint in smooth and even strokes.

After painting, leave the cabinets to dry for as long as the manufacturer prescribes.

Leaving the cabinets to dry will ensure that the finish hardens and sticks well to the cabinet.


  1. Reassemble the cabinets

After you have finished painting and the cabinets are now dry, you can now reassemble them back so that they can go back to their normal and regular use.

You may reattach the old hardware if they are still in excellent condition, or you get new hardware and use them on your hinges.

Slide the drawers back into place and reattach the drawer boxes of the cabinets.

It is very important that everything goes back to their pre-assigned areas to allow the cabinets to fit for use when you begin to use them again.


Read: How To Clean Painted Kitchen Cabinets properly


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Should I paint my cabinets myself or hire a professional?

How good a painter are you? How many cabinets do you have to paint? What are the conditions of the cabinets you want to paint?

These are the questions that will determine whether you can paint the cabinets yourself or not.

If you realize that you cannot handle the strains of the project, call a professional.


  1. Must the cabinets be clean?

Yes, you should make sure that your cabinets are clean before you begin to paint.

Dust will not allow the paint to stick on the primer and will result in a messy job.

Try to dust down your cabinets. You can detach the cabinets to ensure that the cleaning gets into all required spaces.


  1. Should I remove the doors of my cabinets before painting?

A professional painter will remove all the hardware before they paint to make sure they get the best possible result they can get.

Should you remove the doors before you paint?

Yes, you should.