How to Remove Latex Paint From Cabinets


Latex paint works for certain cabinet surfaces, but oil-base paint is better suited for typical wood or fiberboard kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Oil-base paints last longer when exposed to moisture and heat damage. If you want to update your latex painted cabinets with new durable paints, or if you just want to strip off the color to repaint with a fresh latex exterior, you can remove the old paint in just a couple hours.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Screwdriver
  • Liquid deglosser
  • Rag
  • Chemical paint remover
  • Paintbrush
  • Metal putty knife
  • Clean the cabinets with dish soap, water and a sponge. If the cabinets are coated in dirt or oily residue, the paint stripper won't penetrate the latex paint as effectively.

  • Remove any plastic cabinet hardware. Plastics can melt when exposed to chemical paint removers. Metal hardware doesn't need to be removed, but you can remove the metal hardware if it gets in your way as you work.

  • Wipe down glossy cabinets with a liquid deglosser and a rag. Liquid deglossing solutions work almost instantly, dissolving gloss on contact as you wipe the surface. It is possible to remove latex paint without deglossing, but getting rid of the glossy finish helps the paint come up with fewer chemical paint remover applications.

  • Apply a chemical paint remover to the cabinet surfaces using a paintbrush. Chemical paint removers apply as a thick gel, so there is almost no risk of accidental dripping as you work. If you do drip paint remover onto a nearby object, wipe it up with a damp rag immediately. Chemical paint removers create bubbling on the painted surface as they activate. Let the paint remover sit on the surface for about 15 minutes or until the bubbling stops.

  • Scrape off the paint remover and loosened layers of paint with a metal putty knife.

  • Repeat Steps 4 and 5 if there are any leftover patches of paint on the cabinets. Latex paint is one of the easiest types of paint to remove, and a deglossed cabinet surface likely only needs one or two applications of chemical paint remover.

  • Wash the cabinetry surfaces again with dish soap, water and a sponge to remove any leftover paint remover residue.


  • "Creative Homeowner Ultimate Guide to Home Repair and Improvement"; Michael McClintock and John Wagner; 2006
  • "Black & Decker Complete Photo Guide to Home Repair"; Thomas G. Lemmer, Brett Martin, Karen Ruth; 2008
  • "Painting Secrets"; Brian Santos; 2004
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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