What is the Easiest Way to Remove Paint From Cabinets?


The easiest way to remove paint from cabinets depends on your budget, skill level, and familiarity with paint-removing products. There are many options available, from sanding to liquid paint removers. It simply depends on which removal method you prefer. Consider your options, and choose the procedure that best fits your situation.

Stripping an Entire Cabinet

  • Paint-stripping products are designed to soften the paint or varnish that is coating the cabinet, allowing you to easily scrape off the old paint and continue with your remodeling project. Paint and varnish removers can be found in all home improvement and hardware stores, and most work the same way. These are available in liquid form, designed to remove one to two layers of paint. Brush on the liquid, and scrape away with a paint stripping tool.

    Brush-on paint removers also are available. They are designed to remove up to 10 coats of paint. This is great for old cabinetry that has been painted over several times. Brush-ons are much thicker than liquid paint removers, meaning they can keep a surface moist much longer than a liquid that quickly dries or absorbs. Apply a heavy layer of this paint remover, let it set in for a few minutes, and work away with a paint-scraping tool, or if you are removing the cabinets from the home, rinse off with the hose.

    Spray-ons are yet another option for paint removers. Apply a thin coat of the spray-on paint remover to the cabinetry, which is designed to stick to the paint, and scrape the paint away. Spray-ons are good when you plan to remove one to two layers of paint.

Small Paint Spots

  • For small paint spots on cabinets, use a bug and tar remover, which can be found in hardware stores and superstores. Apply a small amount to a cloth, and rub it over the paint spot. This will easily soften the paint, allowing it to peel right off with just a little elbow grease.

Fresh Paint

  • For fresh paint stains that develop on cabinets when you've just painted a room, first try simply rubbing the paint off with a damp cloth. If the paint is not completely dry yet, it will easily rub off with just a little water. Add a drop of liquid dish detergent if necessary, and continue rubbing. This will remove the paint without leaving a greasy residue behind.


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