The internet is booming with DIY renovation hacks, and more and more homeowners are desperate to give their wood cabinets a makeover. Home improvement projects are a simple way to give your space a fresh look on a budget. If you’ve been desperately searching for details on how to remove paint from old cabinets, this guide is for you.
Follow our instructions step by step to remove old paint from kitchen cabinets successfully. Giving your home a new makeover is a daunting task. Homeowners want to make sure that they are doing everything properly so that it looks clean and professional.
It’s possible to remove paint from cabinets without sanding machines, but don’t let the following practices intimidate you.
Although using chemical paint strippers and sanders requires a lot of safety, these are the most powerful tools for stripping layers of paint from woodwork.
- Safety Precautions before You Remove Old Paint from Kitchen Cabinets
- How to Remove Paint from Cabinets
Safety Precautions before You Remove Old Paint from Kitchen Cabinets
Paint stripper is a powerful chemical and requires you to protect your eyes, skin, and lungs. Before trying these paint removal tactics, put as many safety measures into place as possible.
Always wear protective eye goggles to protect them from splashing liquids. Only wear long pants, long sleeves, chemical-resistant rubber gloves, and closed-toe shoes to prevent burns when working with these chemical-based products.
Work in well-ventilated areas with open windows and wear a respirator to not breathe in too many fumes or chips of lead paint.
Lastly, fill a bucket with water, dish soap, and a clean rag so you can quickly wipe away any splashes or messes. Once you have all your protective gear in place, you’re ready to refinish your cabinet doors.
How to Remove Paint from Cabinets
Before you start to remove old paint from kitchen cabinets, prepare yourself mentally that this project might take some time. By the time you prep, strip the paint, sand, and apply new paint, it may be days, weeks, or even months later.
This time frame depends on how much time you commit to the work. It’s going to take a lot of muscle power and determination, but it’ll leave you with beautiful new cabinetry and the knowledge of how to strip paint like a professional.
Prepping to Remove Old Paint from Kitchen Cabinets
The first step of learning how to remove paint from cabinets is prepping the space. Use a screwdriver to detach all cabinet doors and drawer fronts, as well as the hardware.
Spread a couple of drop cloths across the floor or your work area. This step is critical when working on vertical surfaces that are not removable.
Place the drawers and doors across a couple of sawhorses so that they’re easier to work on. After your workspace is prepared, put on all safety gear and get ready to work.
Sanding Kitchen Cabinets
Sanding is one of the most straightforward ways to remove paint from wood. Start by removing the paint’s hard exterior with coarse-grit sandpaper to lift the paint’s surface.
Clean up the excess debris with a clean cloth, and take fine grit sandpaper to sand the rest of the paint job until only the raw wood is exposed.
Sanding machines work well for large, flat areas and speed up the sanding process, but hand sanding smaller, more intricate areas ensures you get every speck of paint off the cabinets.
The Easiest Way to Remove Paint from Wood Cabinets
Combining sanding with a chemical paint stripper is one of the quickest ways to remove layers of paint from kitchen cabinets. Most chemical strippers contain methylene chloride. This chemical burns skin and requires a lot of attention to prevent injury.
When possible, use a more gentle paint stripper like Citristrip. Citristrip has a more mellow smell and doesn’t contain any methylene chloride, so it is safer to use.
Use the sandpaper of your choice to remove the top layer of sealant on the cabinets. Once the top layer is gone, dip a paintbrush into the Citristrip and spread a layer over the surface of the drawers and doors.
Cover the surface with plastic wrap and let it sit for 15 minutes. Remove and discard the plastic. Grab a paint scraper and place it in the center of the door.
Apply a little pressure and scrape the layers of paint off the wood. Apply another layer of the paint remover and scrape it off again until all the color is gone. Sand away small imperfections and prepare your cabinets for a new paint job.
Stripping Paint with Mineral Spirits
Mineral spirits are an excellent option when learning how to remove paint from cabinets. It is also safe to use on tile, laminate, and linoleum that have spots of splattered paint on them.
Start by dipping a paintbrush in the mineral spirits and spreading it along the entire surface of the cabinet doors and drawers. Let the solvent sit for 20 minutes.
Use either a metal scraper, like a putty knife, or a plastic scraper, like an old credit card, to lift the paint layers from the wood. Apply and strip as many layers as necessary until the paint is gone.
Remove Paint from Cabinets without Sanding
It’s not always possible to remove paint from cabinets without sanding them. More often than not, the paint is too tough to cut through without buffing away some of it.
If you think it’s worth a try, you might be lucky enough to remove paint from cabinets without sanding away the layers. Start by cleaning the cabinetry with a grease-cutting cleaner.
Dish soap and water is sufficient if you don’t have stronger cleaners. Pour a small amount of liquid deglosser onto an old washcloth and rub it onto the cabinets in circular motions.
Allow the solvent to dry before you begin to refinish your kitchen cabinets with a fresh coat of paint.
Removing Small Paint Spots
Accidents happen, and many homeowners find themselves in situations where they are completing a painting project and notice that some splashed onto their cabinets’ varnish. It is possible to remove paint stains without stripping the varnish.
Use a heat gun to soften the paint stain, which makes it easier to remove. Wet a cotton swab or ball with nail polish remover. Rub the damp cotton on the paint spots until it lifts. Wipe the affected area with a wet rag and allow it to air dry.
Painting Kitchen Cabinets
You’re ready to paint the cabinets once all the paint layers are stripped and the wood surfaces are sanded down to a smooth finish. Avoid buying oil-based paints that take too long to dry. Latex paint is user-friendly and gets the job done quicker.
Prime the wood before applying your paint color. Use either a brush or paint sprayer and apply several thin, smooth layers of paint, ensuring that each layer is dry before applying another.
Once the paint is dry, apply at least two layers of clear coat and let them dry before putting the cabinets back together.
It’s remarkable how only a fresh coat of paint transforms the look of a room. Whether on the walls or kitchen cabinets, refinishing them with paint is a simple way to upgrade your home, increase its value, and transform it into the home of your dreams.
It takes some preparation and labor, but all your hard work is worth it when you set your eyes on the finished product.
If learning how to remove paint from cabinets helped you create the kitchen of your dreams, share these strategies for stripping paint on Facebook and Pinterest.