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How To Clean Kitchen Cabinets Before Painting?

how to clean kitchen cabinets before painting

When it comes to painting your kitchen, you must know how to clean it before painting it. The most vital aspect of cabinet painting is surface preparation. In case cleaning is not accomplished correctly, you are likely to experience problems with your adhesion. However, if cleaning is done, when you paint your cabinet kitchen, it will be long lasting and have an excellent impression. You need to understand that painting your kitchen cabinets varies from paint your drywall since it comes with a lot of preparation. Additionally, you can paint your drywall repeatedly, but this does not apply to cabinets since you have to commence from preparation to painting once more. This article will take you through the entire process of how to clean the kitchen cabinets before proceeding to paint.

1. Thoroughly Clean Your Cabinets

You must know that paint and primer do not bond with greasy and dirty surfaces in case you have ever painted. Furthermore, cabinets situated below and above your sink are not suitable; hence they require thorough cleaning before sanding. Before you start cleaning, make sure that you remove the entire hardware and doors for easier painting and cleaning. Bear in mind that you can use multiple dozens of products for cleaning your cabinet, such as trisodium phosphate (TSP). If you want a suitable cleaner for your kitchen cabinet, which gets rid of light grease and dirt, opt for the dawn dish soap. However, it does not function well when it comes to thick grease.

During thorough cleaning, you can either decide to de-gloss or even use denatured alcohol. Many cabinets that are stained have protective lacquer finish coating. This means you can either choose to de-gloss with sand off or chemical cleaner. Note that it gets rid of the glossy lacquer, hence making the surface dull. It enables the paint as well as the primer to mix perfectly. You can choose to clean your cabinet surfaces and ensure that you entirely sand to de-gloss.

On the other hand, you can use denatured alcohol. It is a fantastic product that will help you eliminate sticker adhesive, stains, and tough grease. Ensure that you have protective gear if you want to use the denatured alcohol.

2. Caulk the Moldings as Well as Cracks on Your Paneled Doors

If your cabinet doors feature recessed panels, it would be appropriate that you caulk them since the cracked edges of the panels are likely to be notified whenever they are painted. The white paintable caulk is suitable when caulking. It will dry one hour before painting. However, before you go ahead with calking, it is appropriate that you ensure that the sanding dust has been eliminated, especially from the cracks and surfaces you will be caulking. When you fail to get rid of the dust, you will completely ruin the caulk bed.

A few cabinet doors feature floating panels, but it is not yet clear whether these floating panels can undergo caulking or not. Some people say no to caulking since they think it can cause cracking, hence damaging the door, which is painted. On the other hand, others agree with it fully and have no problem with it.

3. Commence Sanding the Cabinet

Sanding is a necessity when it comes to cleaning the kitchen cabinet before painting. As much as several liquid de-glosser and primer products advertise that there is no sanding required, do not attempt to ignore sanding in whichever scenario. For a cabinet to be painted and primed, it needs to undergo sanding and thorough cleaning. Besides, sanding removes glossy lacquer on top, exposing the bare wood primer, which bonds perfectly with the paint. You can achieve sanding via sand grit or an electric sander. When you use the sandpaper grit, you need to do away with lacquer from your cabinets’ surface until the wood s exposed barely.

Furthermore, a sandpaper grit of 150 and 120 have a reputation of working successfully. Note that you are not supposed to use any grit below 100 since it has the maximum ability to impose damages on your wood. On the other hand, a grit of 220 is suitable for sanding between the primer coats. In case you are working on multiple cabinets, you can use the electric sander, which delivers outstanding performance. The narrow-paneled parts do not require the electric sander since such areas need a faster scuff sanding plus a sandpaper folded sheet. [Source]

4. Dust Removal

Before you paint, ensure that you have got rid of the dust since it is not friendly when painting cabinets. Therefore, after every sanding, ensure that you get rid of dust. Moreover, you can use a shop vac, which features a brush attachment to eliminate heavy dust; after that, you can also use a tack cloth or even a damp rag. You better opt for the damp cloth than the tack cloth that leaves residue behind. Ensure that you also do the sanding on the outside, far away from any of your paintings.

5. Apply Two Primer Coats

After a thorough cleaning and everything is set, you need to apply two essential primer coats. The perfect primer to use while prepping the cabinet is an oil-based or shellac primer. Both are dry and can maximally prevent stains from any of your wood that might be bleeding. How well you are likely to apply this primer depends on the methods of your application. Besides, the primer coats play a vital role in ensuring it generates an added durability and ensures that the surface is entirely sealed before you proceed to paint. When you do this effectively, you will not have a problem when it comes to painting your kitchen cabinet.


Based on the above information, you now have a clear understanding of how to clean the kitchen cabinet before painting. Therefore, it calls upon you to implement the information above to clean your kitchen before painting effectively. This will enable you to have an excellent painting at the end of it all.

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