How to Remove Unwanted Finish From Old Kitchen Cabinets

What You'll Need
Sand paper
Plastic sheeting
Electric sander
Plastic scraper

Refinishing your old kitchen cabinets can breathe new life into your home and make it feel like you have remodeled your kitchen. Removing the unwanted finish from your old kitchen cabinets will only take a free weekend, a bit of planning and a positive mental attitude. Follow these easy steps to remove the stain from your kitchen cabinets with only a few tools and materials.

Step 1 - Preparation

The first thing you'll want to do is remove everything from the cabinets. You will be doing a lot of sanding and you don't want everything to get covered in dust. Try to anticipate things you will use during the cabinet makeover and put them somewhere easily accessible. The actual removal of the unwanted finish on the old kitchen cabinets may take only a weekend, but the entire renewal process will take longer.

Step 2 - Remove Old Kitchen Cabinet Doors

Remove the cabinet doors. Doing so will make them easier to work with. Use the screwdriver to carefully unscrew the doors making sure not to disfigure the screws or destroy the doors. Set them aside and store the screws away so that you can find them later. Also, remove the shelves from the cabinets.

Step 3 - Prepare the Work Area and the Doors

First, make any repairs necessary to the old kitchen cabinets. Remove any decorative additions and upholstery that may be on the doors. Make sure your work area is well ventilated. Cover the floor with newspapers or plastic sheeting to avoid staining. Wear gloves and goggles for protection.

Step 4 - Washing

Take each of the cabinet doors and place them on the plastic sheeting. Use the detergent and plenty of water to wash away dirt and grease. If the grease won't come off with general cleaners, you may need to use a commercial degreaser like trisodium phosphate. Protect the kitchen floor with more plastic sheeting and wash the fixed cabinets.

Step 5 - Removing the Old Finish

After everything is dry, use the scraper to scrub the old kitchen cabinets and doors. Make sure unwanted traces of the old finishing are fully removed. Again, avoid staining the floor by placing the plastic sheeting underneath you work area.

Step 6 - Sanding

Use an electric sander to completely remove the old finish and paint from the doors. Use sand paper to scrub curved areas. Do the same on the outside of the cabinets. You have now completed the task of removing the unwanted finish from the old kitchen cabinets.

Step 7 - Finishing Up

Clean up the mess and fine powder from the sanding. Wipe down the doors and the cabinets, inside and out. Allow them to dry thoroughly. Now that everything is clean and the old finish is gone you can refinish the cabinets more to your liking and soon your old kitchen cabinets will look like new.