How do you paint dark kitchen cabinets without sanding?

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We really need to update our kitchen cabinets, but don’t want to replace them or sand them. We’ve been hesitant to do anything with them because we just aren’t sure what products to use and how to go about it. Would we take the doors off? Would we have to paint them outside and let them dry outside? We also have kids, ages 3-11, so that would be a factor too. We would need something durable. 😉 Any tips on how to paint kitchen cabinets are appreciated.


  4 answers
  • Susan Dorville Susan Dorville on Jul 25, 2018

    Wash them (to clean off any grease or kitchen residue) with TSP or other cleaner and paint them.

  • Brenda Brandt Deason Brenda Brandt Deason on Jul 31, 2018

    Clean them and use a paint with primer in it.

  • William William on Jul 31, 2018

    You will need to lightly sand or the primer and paint won't hold.


    Make sure they are clean and dry. Remove the doors and hardware. Mark the doors and cabinets with tape where they go. Lightly sand the doors and cabinets to remove any gloss and roughen the surface for paint with 220 grit sandpaper or a green Scotch Brite pad.. Use a tack cloth or damp rag to remove dust after sanding. Prime with a stain blocking primer like Zinsser 123, KILZ,or BIN and have it tinted to the color of the top coat. This will prevent dark or stained surfaces from showing through the top coat. Acrylic, or water base paints are low-fume and clean up easily with water. Alkyd, or oil-base, paints require good ventilation because the paint contains solvents that can irritate your lungs and make you feel sick. Alkyd options require mineral spirits for cleanup, but they provide a hard, durable paint finish. Whichever you use, buy the best-quality paint you can afford for a lasting kitchen cabinet finish. Seal with at least three coats with a water based polyurethane. Use a small foam roller and foam brush for a smooth finish.

  • Kathleen Basiewicz Kathleen Basiewicz on Jul 31, 2018

    Use Krud Kutter Gloss Off from the box store. Get what ever color of paint you want. You can use a primer and paint, or just the primer and then another paint. Up to you.