How To Clean Kitchen Cabinets Before Painting

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Are your kitchen cabinets looking a little bit tired? Thinking about painting it but worried the paint will peel or chip?

Don’t be. With a bit of preparation, you can get a well-finished painting efficiently. How? By prepping the kitchen cabinets in the right way. Especially the cleaning. Because a kitchen cabinet is a place where grease and food particles quickly end up and paint doesn’t get a chance to bond with the greasy wood. 

Interested to know how to clean kitchen cabinets before painting efficiently?

This article will guide and help you to save time and hassle. So, scroll down and learn to keep your kitchen cabinet clean and free from residual paint or other debris.  

Five Simple Steps To Clean Kitchen Cabinet Before Painting

Cleaning the kitchen cabinet is not a piece of cake, as it has to deal with lots of dirt and grease. But it’s not impossible either; we have five simple steps to help make the process easier. 

Equipment You Will Need

Warm water, dish liquid, white vinegar, old toothbrush, soft bristle brush, sponge, rag, lint-free microfiber cloth, rubber gloves, etc.

Step One: Prep The Kitchen Cabinet For Cleaning

Empty the kitchen cabinet and remove the doors from the cabinet frame. 

Then cover the kitchen floor area where the kitchen cabinet is placed with a leak-proof floor protector and keep the doors here. Because drips while cleaning the kitchen cabinet and its parts can cause permanent damage to your beautiful floor.

Step Two: Make The Cleaning Solution

Wear your rubber gloves, and get ready to clean. Make a cleaning solution with white vinegar and warm water in equal quantities. Add 3-4 drops of dish liquid and stir until bubbles show up. You can also use dish soap or dish detergent if you don’t have dish liquid; in that case, add two tablespoons of lemon juice.

Step Three: Clean The Kitchen Cabinets

Pour the solution into a spray bottle, and spray directly all over the kitchen cabinet. Let it chill for 10-15 minutes and then use a soft coarse bristle brush and scrub for a few minutes. Use an old toothbrush to clean the hard-reach corners. Spray and scrub; continue this process until all the grease has come out.

Step Four: Clean The Doors

Once the cabinet is free of greases, move on to clean the kitchen cabinet doors. You can also clean them as you cleaned the cabinet or follow a similar way. Take a sponge, dip it into the cleaning solution, squeeze excess water, and scrub the doors. Remember, this process will take time; you won’t get results after scrubbing once. You have to repeat this several times to get rid of greases, but this is the most harmless kitchen cabinet cleaning process ever.

Step Five: Wipe And Dry

The greases are all out; now we have to clean the residue. Take a dampened rag or kitchen towel, and wipe away the kitchen cabinet inside and outside very carefully, so no residue is left behind. Then use a dry soft, lint-free cloth to absorb extra water and leave it to dry naturally. Once the kitchen cabinet doors are dried enough, paint and then reattach.

How To Clean Kitchen Cabinets Before Painting with TSP

Cleaning the kitchen cabinets before painting is an important step to take to ensure a smooth and clean finish. 

There are several safe and effective ways to clean kitchen cabinets, and one of the most popular is TSP.  TSP (TriSodium Phosphate) is the perfect solution if your kitchen cabinet has heavy grease. It is a natural and non-toxic cleaning agent; it will remove built-up gunk, food residue, or any dirt that may have caused the paint to chip or peel. Let’s know how to use it.

  • Prep the kitchen cabinet by removing the doors and emptying them. Then make a solution of two gallons of lukewarm water with half a cup of TSP.
  • Wearing hand gloves as TSP can cause irritation. Then take a sponge or rag, dip it in the solution, wring it and scrub the kitchen cabinet doors and inside of it. Use a toothbrush to clean hard-to-reach corners and a bristle brush to scrub.
  • Scrub continuously until grease comes off, then wipe away with a dampened rag and dry with a lint-free microfiber cloth. Your kitchen cabinets are ready for paint!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Use to Clean My Kitchen Cabinets Before Painting?

Before painting your kitchen cabinets, you can clean them in a few ways so the paint goes on smoothly and without any glitches. You should use natural cleaning agents like white vinegar or baking soda to clean your kitchen cabinets, so you don’t end up damaging them. 

Do You Have to Clean Cabinets Before Painting?

Yes, you have to clean cabinets before painting. Cabinets, especially the doors, get touched with our dirty hands and end up getting greasy quickly. If you paint over greases, it’s sure the paint will crack and won’t stick with the wood. So, you have to clean the cabinets efficiently to make sure the paint has finely settled. 

How Do You Clean Sticky Wood Cabinets Before Painting?

Mix one cup of baking soda with two cups of water and one cup of lemon juice. Stir until baking soda dissolves. Now dip a sponge in this solution, squeeze excess solution and directly apply to the sticky wood cabinet.

Let the baking soda do its work for a few minutes and loosen the sticky grease. Then use a soft bristle brush and scrub until the sticky grease comes off. Wipe away with a dampened sponge or rag and dry with a microfiber cloth,

Can You Use Dawn Dish Soap on Wood Cabinets?

Yes, you can use dawn dish soap on wood cabinets. It’s a gentle, non-toxic, and effective dish soap that removes grease, food residue, and dirt and is safe for wood surfaces. It doesn’t have any harsh chemicals, it’s biodegradable and phosphate-free, making it environmentally friendly. 

What Is the Best Way to Clean Wood Before Painting?

The best way to clean wood before painting is cleaning them by using the dish liquid, lemon juice, and warm water. Dish liquid is the best degreaser ever to cut off grease efficiently, and lemon juice makes the process much easier. Mix all these ingredients, damp a sponge in this solution, and apply and scrub. Then wipe away with a clean water-dampened rag and dry with a soft dry towel or microfiber cloth.


There’s never been a better time to clean your kitchen cabinets before painting! And now it’s simpler with some commercial cleaners. But as they use harsh chemicals to get the job done quickly, you should avoid using them. They can damage the wooden cabinets. So if you want to be assured your kitchen cabinet is safe, you can definitely rely on the cleaning process we shared on how to clean kitchen cabinets before painting. 

We have used some home/natural ingredients that are effective but not abrasive. And make sure you don’t use any harsh cleaning tools to scrub the kitchen cabinet. Follow the process exactly as we said, and let us know your positive thoughts through comments. 

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