How to Strip Paint From Kitchen Cabinets

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Look at that finish!
Look at that finish! (Image: Central Avenue Strip Shop)

Stripping paint from kitchen cabinets can be a painstaking chore, but for the do-it-yourself homeowner, there is nothing like the feeling of satisfaction when seeing the project through to the end. Stripping can be dangerous, but taking the right precautions should eliminate the threat. Using the correct stripper and tools makes the process a lot easier and more enjoyable. Remember to have plenty of ventilation and a clean, clear work area.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety glasses
  • Stripping gel
  • 2 inch paint brush
  • Rubber gloves
  • Small putty knife
  • Old toothbrush
  • Steel wool
  • Cleaning solution
  • Old rags

Remove all hardware from doors and drawers and lay them out in a well ventilated area. Be certain that there is no clutter around the work area as well.

Put on gloves and safety glasses. Apply stripping gel with the 2 inch paint brush. Brush in one direction only. It is recommended that the stripping gel only gets applied to an area no larger than what can be worked. Do no allow the gel to dry or a new application will be required.

Let the gel do the work it is intended to do. Allow enough time for the gel to eat through the finish. If there is more than one finish to strip, repetition may be needed.

Remove stripped finish with the putty knife. Use an old toothbrush in areas where decorative molding or other designs hinder the putty knife from reaching all of the surface area. Repeat Steps 2 to 5 as needed for each piece.

Clean thoroughly with manufacturer suggested cleanser and steel wool. Wipe cleanser off with an old rag. Allow to dry before prepping the wood for a new finish.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always wear safety glasses.
  • Always wear rubber gloves.
  • Sometimes a toothpick can help get to those hard to reach areas.
  • If hardware needs stripping, the same application applies.
  • Do not apply more stripping gel than you can work with in a specified time frame. See manufacturer’s instructions for specific details.

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