how to paint kitchen cabinets without sanding

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets without Sanding?

Sanding is an integral part of finishing wooden projects. This removes dirt, grime, and any leftover residue which can affect the appearance of paint or varnish. But can you complete a project without sanding? How to paint kitchen cabinets without sanding? Let’s find out in this tutorial. 

What you need

  • Wooden cabinet you will work on – whether you want to repaint an old cabinet, shelves, or any storage compartment, remove all removable parts and set them aside. Inspect these for dirt, mold, pests, rotting wood, etc. 
  • Liquid deglosser – this product is also called liquid sandpaper as it can remove rough spots over wood without sanding or using steel wool. Always check the label on how to use the liquid deglosser product on hand. 
  • Clean cloth – you need several pieces of cloth to rub the liquid deglosser on wood. 
  • Water and dish soap – Kitchen cabinets are mostly covered with grease, grime, dirt, and dust. You must remove any dirty or greasy layer first before you start removing old paint.
  • Sponge – use a clean sponge to wash the surface of dirty cabinets. 
  • Paper towels or clean towels – you need these to wipe your clean cabinets dry
  • Hairdryer – you must dry the surface of your cabinets very well with a hairdryer before you remove old paint. Also, a hairdryer can help remove old paint.
  • Wood paint – choose a new color to match your kitchen’s theme!
  • Sealant – protect your kitchen cabinets from wear, grease, dirt, and grime by sealing them. 
  • Paint remover – use paint remover to clear off old paint. You may apply these several times if you have many layers of paint to remove. 
  • Paint scrapper – a handy paint scraper will help remove old paint after applying paint remover. 
  • Paintbrushes or paint roller – a small 2-inch brush will do or you can use a small paint roller to apply paint. You also need an extra brush to apply wood sealant.
  • Screwdriver – you must remove all cabinet hardware like handles and hinges before repainting using a screwdriver. 


These instructions are for painting old kitchen cabinets. Therefore, you must first remove old paint or varnish to apply a new one. 

1. If the cabinets are dirty, wash them with soap and water

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Kitchen cabinets are prone to dirt and grease so you should clean them first using ordinary soap and water. Use a sponge and scrub lightly over stubborn stains. If possible, remove the cabinet doors so you can wash them well. Remove all hardware and set these aside.

2. Dry all the components under the sun.

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When you’re done washing the doors and all other cabinet components, take these out and dry them under the sun. it can take a day or more to completely dry wet wood so be patient. After a day, take these indoors and dry them with a hairdryer. 

3. Use paint remover to quickly and effortlessly remove old paint. 

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Apply a generous coat of paint remover all over the wood. Spread it with a paint scraper and leave it for a short while. You will notice that old paint will bubble and easily peel off. Wear work gloves to protect your hands as you scrape the old paint off. You may need to do this several times especially if you’re dealing with many layers of old paint. 

4. Scrape old paint with a paint scraper

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After using paint remover, use a scraper to gently remove old paint. Scrape from top to bottom, inside out. Work on the cabinet until you have managed to remove almost all the old paint.

5. Use liquid deglosser

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Almost all liquid deglossers are applied like paint remover products. Use a clean cloth to apply a small amount of wood. Read the instructions on the label and follow the waiting time. Usually, it will only take several minutes for deglossers to work and when the time is up, wipe the material off with a new clean cloth. Do this in all the parts of the kitchen cabinet. 

Be sure to wear protective gloves, goggles, and masks when using products like liquid deglossers as these are very abrasive substances. 

6. Time to apply a new coat of paint

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After using the liquid deglosser on all the parts of the cabinet, apply a new coat of paint. Use primer first. Apply the paint in a well-ventilated area. 

Let the primer dry completely before applying wood paint. Use a clean paintbrush or a paint roller to apply paint. 

7. Use a sealant to protect wood

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Seal your wooden cabinets against moisture, oils, and pests by using a sealant. Check the instructions on how to apply the sealant on the wood. You may apply not just one but two or more layers to provide the best protection. Just let one layer dry completely before adding another one. Use a clean cloth or a paintbrush to apply sealant on the wood. 

8. Let the cabinet components dry

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It can take more than a day for everything to dry. It’s best to place all the components under the sun. If you can’t leave these in a well-ventilated room. Use a space heater or lamps to enhance paint drying times. 

9. Install the components and attach the cabinet handles and pulls

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Take the handle and drawer pulls and clean them. You may need to use water and some dish soap to remove grime and dirt. Use a small amount of isopropyl alcohol on a cotton ball to take care of hard-to-remove dirt. 

When these are ready, attach them to the cabinet doors and drawers. You may now assemble the components and install them in your kitchen. 

Now that you know how to paint kitchen cabinets without sanding, you may now redo and renovate your kitchen cabinets with confidence. You may also work on other wooden items in your home including furniture, wooden décor, and even walls.  However, sanding should never be overlooked and should always be a part of your paint renovation projects. Deglossers may work well but can’t replace sanding with sandpaper. 



One response to “How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets without Sanding?”

  1. […] Color: Choose a paint color that complements your kitchen or chosen space. Consider classic whites for a timeless look or bold colors for a modern […]

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