How to clean kitchen cabinets before painting?

Lisa J. Bradley
by Lisa J. Bradley

My kitchen cabinets are in desperate need of a makeover. What is the best way to clean them before painting?

  25 answers
  • I use TSP on anything I want to paint. It gets everything squeaky clean and ready to prime. Just be sure to let dry thoroughly before priming.

  • Anita.Kettlehake Anita.Kettlehake on Jun 08, 2017

    TSP, It can be bought at Lowe's, Home Depot, or a paint store

  • Taf Taf on Jun 08, 2017

    Krud Kutter (purchased off Amazon). Is TSP in spray bottle. WORKS amazingly well.

  • Sandy Dodson Sandy Dodson on Jun 08, 2017

    TSP trisodium phosphate... wear gloves, but it will clean cupboards or walls or almost anything and leave them totally paintable

  • Eileen Eileen on Jun 24, 2018

    Baby wipes are great for this too!

  • 27524803 27524803 on Jun 24, 2018

    Some baby wipes contain a "oil" such a lanolin... which can effect how the paint adheres to the surface.

  • Sharon Sharon on Jun 24, 2018

    TSP is used as a deglosser. If your cabinets are greasy, use a degreaser first. Wear kitchen gloves as both are hard on the hands. I use a car sponge to make quick work of it.

  • Imjhale Imjhale on Jun 24, 2018

    I've used vinegar and water with MagicErasers; also Windex type cleaner. With that said, kitchens can have lots of greasy residue and buildup from cooking, dirty hands etc. TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) works beautifully and is a sure fire method of cleaning. Make sure you get edges and around knobs really clean (remove if possible for separate cleaning) and follow all safety precautions

  • Barbara Gulotta Barbara Gulotta on Feb 20, 2018

    Bloggers use Krud Kutter. You can use Dawn dishwashing detergent and water. While this is to remove dirt and grease, you still will need to sand before painting.

  • Louise Louise on Jun 16, 2016
    You might try Method brand wood floor cleaner. It removed from my new wood floor outdoor dirt and greasy patches near the oven and sink. Method is plant-based, non-toxic, biodegradable--yes it's for sealed hardwood or laminate yet I think it might get up old gunk on dirty furniture. But with chalk paint you really don't have to have the wood clean, that's the beauty of chalk paint. Yesterday I dragged an old bar stool out of the barn and did not even wipe it down before painting. If, however, you're looking for a super smooth finish, you're probably going to sand, and if you sand, why bother to scrub clean? At least, that's my experience and my understanding, with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint; I wouldn't be able to speak to other chalk paints. I know there are other, new brands of chalk paint out there now.
  • Cindy Cindy on Feb 20, 2018

    Equal parts water and vinegar will clean the cabinets. If there's a lot of grease build up, add a couple squirts of Dawn dish soap. It cuts thru grease really well.

  • Glenda Jansons Glenda Jansons on Jun 16, 2016
    Warm water and dawn dish soap. Then wipe down with plain water. Make sure you allow it to dry before you paint
  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Feb 28, 2021

    clorax wipes will do trick

  • BonBon BonBon on Jul 02, 2019

    I’ve had great luck with Mrs Meyers All Purpose Cleaner. Smell is also amazing!

  • Lisa S. Lisa S. on Aug 31, 2018

    Wash them down with sudsy ammonia.

  • Linda Linda on Jun 23, 2017

    good old soap and water, then dry. Windex works too. Make sure you dry with cloth.

  • Carol Carol on Jun 23, 2017

    Mean Green

  • Diana Brewer Diana Brewer on Jun 23, 2017

    Use a product called Murphy's wood soap or Murphy's Oil Soap.Follow directions and wear rubber gloves.

  • Sat22479153 Sat22479153 on Mar 26, 2018

    Greased lightning works the best

  • Lana Hassell Lana Hassell on Mar 26, 2018

    I use Simple Green for any grease issues. Works wonderfully.

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Jul 24, 2018

    Murphy’s oil soap if you need something stronger ammonia works great

  • Sharon Sharon on Mar 03, 2018

    You need to degrease them first or the paint won't stick. I use Dollar Tree Awesome Orange in the half gallon, and the Awesome Degreaser. Pick up a car sponge, round plastic scrubbies and kitchen rubber gloves and a bucket to do the job. I first mix Awesome Orange in hot water and use the bucket and car sponge to wipe them down. If you encounter real grease, you use the Awesome Degreaser in the spray bottle and the scrubby to get it off. Then wipe with the Orange solution.

  • Joy Elizabeth Joy Elizabeth on Mar 01, 2019

    We used TSP, it was an inexpensive boxed powder I diluted in water.

  • Lora Taylor Hyatt Lora Taylor Hyatt on Mar 08, 2020

    I use awesome on everything I want stripped clean. You can get a good size bottle of it at the dollar tree for $1.00

    this stuff even removes soot. I salvaged all kinds of stuff from a fire.

    awesome is awesome and cheap!

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Dec 28, 2022

    If polished - Bio Washing powder and water, Gloves and a Brush and cloth