How do I clean wood furniture before painting??


It was mentioned that you should clean wood furniture with solution and a cloth before painting. What kind of solution should be used? Do I also need to strip the finish? I think the wood is maple, and I'm not sure if it has a veneer or if it is solid. I bought it at a garage sale.

  12 answers
  • Nan W. Nan W. on Apr 20, 2020

    Nancy: This link may help

    Also, I posted about a coffee table that I updated:

    And... a chest... that had veneer sides (b/c I had to glue a corner down)

  • Ken Erickson Ken Erickson on Apr 20, 2020

    A mixture of TSP can remove the accumulated dirt. Other cleaners could work too.

  • Gk Gk on Apr 20, 2020

    Here's one cleaning solution that people use:

    Personally I just use dishsoap in warm water, a rougher kitchen cleaner sponge, and old toothbrush to get into crevices, and clean warm water/clean rags to rinse. Clean your furniture and then let it dry well so you can see if you need to do more. You may have to repeat if there are greasy areas. Sometimes i will use a DRY fine grit steel wool as well. Let your furniture dry overnight so it is really dry before you prime and paint. I like to leave mine out in warm sunlight (not hot) for a day or so. You do not have to strip the finish if you plan on paitning your furniture. You can clean well, sand lightly with a fine grit sandpaper to knock down any shine, clean well, and then use a primer if you are using any paint OTHER than chalk paint. Chalk paint does not normally need a primer first.

  • Mogie Mogie on Apr 20, 2020

    Depending on the size of your project, add up to 1 litre of warm water to either a small container or a spray bottle. Add 2 cap fulls of TSP to your water and give it a good mix.

    Using your old rag wipe down your piece of furniture. You can also wipe down previously painted surfaces as well. Let your piece dry and get on with the fun bit of painting your new piece.

  • I just use a rag with a little warm water. If there is something that needs to be cleaned off the furniture, I add a little detergent. I know people that use mineral spirits as well. I've never had to to that.

  • Kelli L. Milligan Kelli L. Milligan on Apr 20, 2020

    I use TSP then lightly sand before I start any paint projects.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Apr 20, 2020

    Hello. Here is some information I saved for my future projects. I hope this helps

    We started with removing the hardware and cleaning. For this piece we used a mix of 50/50 denatured alcohol and water. Deep scrubbing and plenty of warm water helped to remove the dirt and build up from use over the years. Once it was clean we sanded the piece to remove any imperfections and old stain that was applied and set to dry with drips, how sad is that?

    Once we sanded, we used a microfiber cloth and a tack cloth to remove any sanding dust. Next, we used a shellac based primer to ready the piece for paint. We lightly sanded after it was dry and removed any sanding dust with a microfiber cloth.


    Krud Kutter to clean this piece. I can't stress enough how important this is as paint won't adhere correctly without a clean surface. I rinsed after and let it dry. I then used Bondo to repair the damaged areas of the drawer fronts as well as fill in the old hardware holes. Bondo is a body filler and works really great. Make sure to use it outside; I always use a respirator as well since the odor is pretty strong. Once it dries, sand it smooth. I sanded the top down to raw wood and took this opportunity to scuff sand the rest of the piece as well.

  • Simple Nature Decor Simple Nature Decor on Apr 20, 2020

    I use a solution of krud kutter and water, it takes all the grime off and leaves it super clean

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Apr 21, 2020

    TSP or denatured alcohol are what I always use. If the finish is shiny or oil based, you need to sand or strip then clean.

  • Morgan McBride Morgan McBride on Apr 21, 2020

    I just use soap and water!

  • Simple Nature Decor Simple Nature Decor on May 29, 2020

    I would use krud cutter to clean the furniture