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How to Clean Cabinets Before Painting

Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets before painting is one of the most, if not the most crucial steps to painting your kitchen cabinets.  Kitchen cabinets can get ridiculously dirty because of a couple of reasons. First, kitchen cabinets are the most touched and used cabinets in your house, and cabinets doors are spattered by grease and oil.

Simply put, primer and paint will not stick to oil and dirt. Painting over dirty or oily kitchen cabinets will cause you to have disastrous results.

Most dirt and grease will accumulate above and around the stove. I make it a point to spend extra time and effort cleaning all the cabinet doors and drawers around the stove.

What to use when cleaning your kitchen cabinets before painting them?

After painting dozens of kitchens, I recommend cleaning kitchen cabinets with TSP or Trisodium Phosphate. TSP is a powerful degreaser that cuts through grease and dirt like a hot knife through butter. This cleaner is very cheap and mixes up in minutes with hot water. Not only does TSP degrease your cabinets it also helps de-gloss them too.

TSP is commonly found in the painting section of the big box hardware stores. A small box of TSP cost about $5.

More on What is TSP can be found here: What is TSP

I recommend strictly following the direction on the box and use hot water. Wear protective gloves and eye protection. Use a scotch bright pad to scrub the cabinets with the TSP.

After applying the TSP wipe off the cabinets with clean water and a clean cloth, changing out the water often.

Here is a video of Nick Slavik a painter in MN, and his process is exactly how kitchen cabinets ought to be cleaned.

TSP is Cheap and Mixes With Water in Minutes

Cleaning kitchen cabinets is the first step in properly painting your cabinets. Your kitchen cabinets must be clean before you start the scuff sanding because if you skip the cleaning process and sand first, you risk pushing dirt and oil into the surface, making it difficult to remove. Make sure that your cabinets are clean and dry before you scuff sand your kitchen cabinets.

I hope this article helped you learn what to clean your kitchen cabinets with before you paint! If you are looking to paint kitchen cabinets call Ainsworth Painting for a free estimate.

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