Wooden kitchen cabinets are magnets for grease and tough stains, and are regularly exposed to dust and cooking oil. Over time, these accumulate and become sticky, dirty grime.
Before these leave you with a dirty kitchen, we need to regularly clean the kitchen cabinet surface and interior, and apply a new coat of paint. Painting over dirty or oily kitchen cabinets will cause you to have disastrous results.
This is because paint will not stick on an oily surface. In cleaning, make sure your wooden cabinets are safe against harsh chemicals. For one, avoid using mineral spirits which can damage the varnish that protects the underlying wood of your cabinets.
So what is the best degreaser for kitchen cabinets before painting?
Here is a buying guide of the best cleaning agents, together with tips and tricks against tough stains and sticky grease, in order to have refreshed, beautiful kitchen cabinets.
Our Top Picks
II The Best Cleaner for Cabinets Reviews
1) Best overall cabinet cleaner before painting – Krud Kutter
Krud Kutter is the best degreaser for kitchen cabinets as it combines cleaning power, ease of use and being safe to use around people and animals. It stands out for its ability to remove the nastiest grime and cake-on dirt.
Its bottle has a spray nozzle, letting you focus on problem areas, while minimizing drip. Just do a simple spray and wait. After some time, heavy grease will latch on this heavy duty cleaner. You just need to wipe off the liquid and grease away.
Plus, it’s effective on most surfaces including tiles, certain granites and wooden cabinets. And the non-toxic formula makes it safe to use around people and animals. Note that Krud Kutter cleaner has a mild scent that quickly fades. However, you should keep it away from plants as it can be lethal to them.
One drawback is that it’s a bit expensive against other degreasers. But it remains potent on greasy cabinets, even when diluted in water, allowing you more uses.
- Top notch in removing grime
- Ease of use
- Effective on most surfaces
- Can be harmful to plants
2) Best Non-Toxic Degreaser for Cabinets – Green Gobbler Cold Pressed Orange Oil Concentrate
Green Gobbler All-Natural, Cold Pressed Concentrated Orange Oil for Home and Outdoor Multi-Purpose Cleaning- Hundreds of Uses, 32 oz
- POWERFUL HOME CLEANER AND DEGREASER. Green Gobbler Cold-Pressed Orange Oil is a practically perfect all-purpose cleaner! Our orange oil contains 80-95% D-Limonene, a naturally occurring solvent and degreaser with thousands of practical uses. Also contains a non-ionic coconut surfactant to make miscible.
- THOUSANDS OF PRACTICAL USES. Orange oil is an extremely versatile powerful solvent. Use Orange oil to remove dirt, grease, oil, food, odors, ink, glue, crayon, soap scum, etc.
- COLD-PRESSED TO PRESERVE INTEGRITY. Heat is not used during the extraction process for the D-Limonene present in Green Gobbler Cold-Pressed Orange Oil. The cold-pressed technique preserves the degreasing qualities of the orange oil and ensures you are receiving a powerful product.
- SAFE TO USE ON NEARLY ANY SURFACE. Use on practically any surface to remove stains and soils. Use Orange Oil to clean metal, glass, granite, porcelain, tile, brick, concrete, stucco, rubber, plastic, and more.
- WONDERFULLY REFRESHING SCENT. Chemicals like bleach and ammonia can give off toxic fumes. With Green Gobbler Cold-Pressed Orange, you’ll only smell citrus after cleaning.
The first thing you’ll notice is the pleasant smell of Green Gobbler Cold Pressed Orange Oil Concentrate. It is made of an all-natural formula, mainly food-grade orange oil. Its scent can push you to clean not just cabinets, but also glass, metal, granite, tiles, brick and concrete.
Its ingredients don’t scrimp on performance, as it’s equally potent against grease spatter, food splatters, and caked-on dirt.
Although not a spray-on, you just need to dissolve a small portion of this heavy duty cleaner in water. Apply the solution with a microfiber cloth ion cabinet surfaces and interior and let it sit for a while. Then, you can wipe the grease away with a dry microfiber rag. You can then feel your cabinet’s clean and grease-free.
Some users note that this kitchen degreaser leaves some sticky residue on the surface. Another disadvantage is its scent can be a source of discomfort and headaches for some people.
- All natural
- Removes grease and caked-on dirt easily
- Can clean cabinets, glass, metal, tiles, brick concrete
- Easy to use
- Sometimes leaves residue on surfaces
- range scent may cause discomfort to some people
3) Best in Cleaning and Protection – Parker Bailey Kitchen Cabinet Cream
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PARKER BAILEY KITCHEN CABINET CREAM - Multisurface Wood Cleaner And Polish Furniture Quick Shine Restorer Protector Kitchen Cabinets Surface Cleaner House Cleaning Supplies Home Improvement 8oz
- Kitchen Cabinet Cleaner - Parker Bailey Kitchen Cabinet Cleaner has a safe, easy to use formula that gently works as a degreaser, spot cleaner and build-up remover. Rejuvenate cabinets to their original beauty and natural loo
- Multi-Purpose - Restore, clean, revive, condition shine painted, laminate, white natural wood cabinet doors surfaces. This high quality creme is formulated as a wood cleaner conditioner that can provide lasting protection for cabinets
- Easy To Use - Gently clean dirt grease cabinets, put a small amount on damp cloth apply to surface. Rinse cloths for dirt removal. Add more Furniture polish cleaner as needed. Heavy build-up takes more cleaning. Use dry clean cloth as a buffer
- Gentle Formula - Awesome cleaner does not contain any wax, silicone, petrochemicals or harmful solvents. It is low odor and can safely be used in the home on multi surface cabinets that have stain, paint or laminate
- High Quality - Proudly made in the USA since 1879, our Kitchen Cabinet Cream is a long time favorite furniture restorer used by antique experts for over 100 years. It can prevent unsightly drying and cracking so cabinets can maintain their finish. 2022 Good Housekeeping Magazine Cleaning Organizing Award Winner
If you want to get your cabinets cleaned and the wood protected from drying and cracking, Parker Bailey Kitchen Cabinet Cream is a great option. It is not only top-notch on removing dirt and grease, but also an effective solution to make your cabinets shiny for a long time.
The cream is an all-purpose degreaser that will not leave any residue when you wipe it off as it doesn’t contain wax, silicon or other harmful solvents.
The cabinet will not only be clean, but the cream brings back the wood’s natural color and protects the cabinet from oil splatter. You can be sure that the shine will last for months.
One drawback is that some users notice that this kitchen degreaser makes cabinets a little yellowish. It’s also designed for light grease, not for nasty stains that have been stuck on the wood like baked-on, caked-up dirt and grime, mineral deposits or rust stains.
- Has no harmful chemicals
- Good degreaser, effective against residue and even fingerprints
- No residues of wax, top-notch in removing grime
- Prevents cracking or drying
- Protects from splatter
- Can be bought in 8, 12, 16oz.
- May make the cabinet a little yellowish
- Not for deep cleaning
4) Best Degreaser for Wooden Cabinet Restoration – Rejuvenate Cabinet Furniture Restorer
Rejuvenate Cabinet Furniture Restorer Fills in Scratches Seals and Protects Cabinetry, Furniture, Wall Paneling
- Restore kitchen cabinets and bring back shine and brilliance to all finished wood, Formica and laminate surfaces in just a one-coat easy wipe-on application that lasts for months
- Water and polymer-based formula fills in scratches, restores shine and protects cabinets, wall paneling, furniture and more with no sanding necessary
- Provides ultra-violet (UV) ray protection to shield surfaces from the sun's damaging effects
- Recommended for use with our Rejuvenate Wood Furniture Floor Repair Markers and Rejuvenate Microfiber Applicator
- Doesn't leave behind any harmful residue making it safe for kids and pets
Not only does Rejuvenate Cabinet and Furniture Restorer with Mitt clean your old cabinets and make them shiny, this kitchen degreaser has a poly-based formula that fills in cracks and scratches. And it’s not just effective on wooden cabinets. It’s also great on wall panels, Formica, furniture, and finished wood.
Plus, Rejuvenate is easy to apply and a good degreaser that grease goes away with only one wipe. The packaging also comes with a microfiber cloth. Thus, you’ll save time and effort. In addition, this powerful cleaner gives UV protection on surfaces. So you’re sure the cabinet can fight off discoloration and weakening of the wood.
And you can choose to buy depending on your needs. Rejuvenate comes in bottles of 13 and 16 ounces and has a 128-ounce option. One disadvantage is that it’s a little bit pricey compared to other cleaners. Still, you get value for what you pay for. In addition, some users noticed that the solution leaves streaks whenever it’s not applied properly.
- Great for filling cracks and scratches
- Easy to use
- Comes with a mitt
- Effective on wood surfaces
- Gives UV protection
- A tad more pricey
- May leave streaks on the surface when improperly applied
5) Easiest to Use Cabinet Degreaser -Stanley Home Products CabinetShine Protector
Stanley Home Products CabinetShine Protector - Furniture Cleaner and Polish - Removes Dust Dirt and Grime Restores and Renews Protects Wood Finish Cinnamon Scent Suitable for Home and Commercial Use
- Clean, Polish and Protect: A wax-free formula that’s free of silicone or harmful solvents, Stanley’s CabinetShine Protector removes dust, residue, dirt, grease and grime build-up, while polishing finished wooden cabinets to make future cleaning easier.
- Renews Cabinets: This CabinetShine Protector works on light and dark wood – even painted cabinets, leaving a protective finish and restoring the natural beauty of the wood surface to make your kitchen cabinets look shiny and new.
- Protects Cabinets: CabinetShine Protector helps protect wood, painted and laminated cabinets from future soils and fingerprints – and conditions wood cabinets to help prevent drying and cracking.
- Easy to Use: Shake well and apply a small amount to clean, damp cloth. Rub into surface to remove dirt and grime. For stubborn stains, use a microfiber cloth and rub with the wood grain. Polish to a desired luster with a dry cloth.
- Trusted Brand: As a leader in home cleaning since 1931, Stanley Home Products continues to supply you with premier American-made household products – made with the highest quality ingredients under strict quality standards – that work!
With Stanley CabinetShine Protector, you just need to pour a small amount on a clean, damp cloth and apply the solution.
Not only great for grime and oil, Stanley CabinetShine Protector is a great alternative to mineral spirits in removing dust. You can also count on this kitchen degreaser not to leave residue as it is wax-free and doesn’t include any silicate.
After application, you’ll notice the wood’s natural color emerging from the oil and grime. Further, it forms a thin coating that helps protect wood, painted and laminated cabinets from dirt and even fingerprints.
The only drawback is that some users noticed the shine on the cabinet’s doesn’t last as long as they expected.
- Easy to use
- Effective against oil, grime and dust
- Brings back wood’s natural color
- Protects against dirt, fingerprints
- Wax-free, so there’s no build-up
6) Best wipes – Weiman Wood Cleaner and Polish Wood Cleaning Wipes
Weiman Wood Floor and Furniture Wipes - Quickly Cleans Hardwood Floors, Cabinets and Baseboards - 24 Count
- Restore - Micro-filling technology removes scratches while forming a protective scratch resistant layer
- Versatile - Can be used on any finished hardwood surface, rejuvenating a shine with no sticky residue
- Safe - Plant based ingredients that's safe for kids and pets to walk on after the solution has dried
- Simple - Clean surface while also extending the life of your wood floors in just one easy step.
- Use On - Recommended for any finished hardwood floor, engineered hardwood vinyl laminate stone tile
Weiman tops other wipes for ticking a lot of boxes. It’s easy to use, non-toxic and gives protection from water and the sun. Thus, you’ll have the perfect solution against drying and discoloration.
It does a fantastic job in degreasing and your cabinet will smell great with its lemon scent. In addition, it’s a great substitute for mineral spirits against dust, dirt and smoke residue.
You’ll also notice that the Wipes can remove scratches with its micro-filling technology. Your cabinet will be smooth to the touch and will have a natural shine, making it look like new.
Plus, it’s not only effective on cabinets. Wipe your wood chairs, office furniture, cabinets, doors, benches, and wooden clocks.
All these attributes prove that even wipes can contend for best degreaser.
Weiman gives good value for money. We just noticed that its container is difficult to open.
- Easy to use
- Long-lasting protection against water and UV rays
- Effective in removing oil, grime, dirt, dust and smoke residue
- Removes scratches and prevents them from happening
- Gives wood a natural shine
- Can be used in other wooden furniture
- Value for money
- The container is difficult to open
7) Best value for money – Dawn Dish Soap
Dawn Ultra Dish Liquid 7Oz Platinum Refreshing Rain Scent
- Dawn Powerwash Spray gets dishes done faster in 3 easy steps: just spray, wipe, and rinse to cut through grease 5x faster (vs Dawn Dish Soap Non-Concentrated)
- Fully squeeze trigger and allow the innovative nozzle to continuously spray directly on dishes, suds will activate instantly on contact without water
- For heavily soiled dishes allow the suds to sit for a few minutes to allow the Dawn Platinum Powerwash Spray to break down and lift away soils
- Skip the dish scrubber and start cleaning dishes with our dynamite degreaser dish spray, your new favorite household cleaning supplies
- Also works great as a greasy tool wheel cleaner, stainless steel cleaner, and more!
Dawn Dish Soap proves that you don’t need a separate product to remove oil and grime from your kitchen cabinets. Dish liquid soaps are among excellent degreasers because they’re effective against grease, whether it’s on dishes or cabinets.
Dawn makes suds that can hold grease and burned-on dirt. Thus, a few drops are powerful enough to take away the said impurities. This is what makes Dawn Dish Soap cost-effective. Plus, it’s equally effective in cleaning ovens, grill grates and even your outdoor furniture and stainless steel appliances.
To use, just mix a 1/4 cup of Dawn with one quart of warm water. No need to make the solution bubbly. You can then transfer the contents to a bucket or a spray bottle. Spray and rub the solution to the cabinet using a cloth.
Just make sure that you rinse your cabinet thoroughly. Otherwise, there is danger that Dawn leaves streak marks. Some users find the 7 oz. bottle expensive for a dish soap.
- Value for money, no need for a different product
- Easily accessible
- Effective against grease and burned-on dirt
- Easy to use
- May leave streak marks on surface
- May be too pricey when you limit it to washing dishes
Best Paint Cleaner for Cabinets Comparison Table
III. Cleaning solution options: what to clean cabinets with before painting
What you need to clean kitchen cabinets may just be in the kitchen. Check which cleaning solution can readily do the job.
a) Dish soap and water – great substitute for a regular cleaner; effective against away grease, splatters, and but gentle enough so that it will not damage the cabinet.
b) Baking soda and water – a strong solution against food splatter left by sauces and ketchup. If possible, dab this solution on the splatter before it settles. This will lift the potential stain after a few minutes.
c) Citrus-based multipurpose cleaner – citrus is a natural degreaser. You can spray the cleaning solution and let it do its magic for three minutes. Then, wipe the solution (together with the grease) with a damp sponge. Check for residue. For this, use a damp cloth. Then dry the cabinet with a microfiber cloth.
d) Cleaning cabinets with vinegar before painting – vinegar is effective against grease and fingerprints. Dilute with equal parts of water (50/50) before applying. You can spray the solution and let the vinegar cut grease. Once it lifts the grease, wipe the liquid with a soft cloth.
e) All-purpose cleaners – ideal for keeping cabinets clean. Use these for once-a-week cleaning sessions. Remember to test a small portion on a hidden part of the cabinet. We don’t want the cleaner to damage, cause discoloration or peel the paint. Spray on a microfiber cloth and wipe away fingerprints, spatters and other marks.
f) Cleaner-degreasers – hits the spot between cleaners (think, all-purpose cleaners) and degreasers. They can take on more stubborn grease than what cleaners can remove yet have a neutral pH and safer than a degreaser.
g) Degreasers – the products mentioned above are the prime examples of degreasers. They not only remove oil and grime, but refresh and repair (fill the gaps and scratches) your cabinet.
Ultimately, it depends on the stain
To determine which among the cleaning solutions you need (cleaner or a degreaser), consider the soil or stain that you need to remove, the surface that needs cleaning and type of equipment. For wooden cabinets, you can start with all-purpose cleaners. But if there’s grease build-up, degreasers are the way to go.
IV. How to Clean Your Kitchen Cabinets Before Painting
Remember that grease and paint don’t go together. If you paint over a greasy surface, the paint will eventually crack and peel because it’s unable to adhere to the wood.
With this in mind, cleaning grease should be done before painting.
Here are the tools and materials you’ll need to remove grease before painting kitchen cabinets.
Supplies Needed to Degrease and clean cabinets
- Heavy duty degreaser
- Trisodium Phosphate
- Warm water
- Small brush
- Scouring pads
- Clean water
- Clean cloth
- Paint brush
- Paint stripper
- Painter’s tape
- Wood filler
- Putty knife
- Plastic cover
- Vacuum cleaner
- Tack cloth
V. Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets Before Painting (Step by Step procedure)
1) Before you start painting, evaluate the cabinet’s condition. Good areas can directly have a new coat. Areas that have paint peeling need to have the paint removed. Bring out and apply the paint stripper. Then, use a paint scraper to peel old paint. When dried, smoothen with sandpaper.
2) Remove contents and doors. Take away the door and drawers and cabinet hinges. Have the painter’s tape ready so you can label each part you dismantle. Put in plastic bags the small parts so you won’t lose them.
3) Scrub off grease and dirt, get on with minor repairs. Scrub from top to bottom. Wear gloves before handling degreasers. Besides the degreasers and liquid soap, Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) cleaning powder is effective against grease and dirt. Mix a half cup of TSP with two gallons of lukewarm water. For mold and mildew, mix TSP with bleach. If you prefer a natural TSP substitute cleaner, use vinegar instead. Another TSP replacement is acetone.
After the cleaning process, fill dents and holes with wood filler by using a putty knife.
4) Sand the surface and get ready to paint. Cover countertops and other areas that you would not be painting. Tape the cabinet’s edges with painter’s tape. Wear goggles and sand the cabinet. Alternatively, you can use a liquid sandpaper deglosser.
5) Clean the area when finished. Use a vacuum and its brush attachment and a tack cloth to remove dust.
VI. Steps to Keep Grease Away
1) Before cooking, turn on exhaust fan or range hood. The circulating air will keep grease particles away from cabinets.
2) Clean the hob and cabinet doors every week to prevent grease build-up. A small brush will help you get through crevices. For grease marks, wipe the painted surfaces with a soft cloth and degreaser. Alternatively, you can use a solution with one spoon of baking soda, one cup vinegar and two cups of warm water. Vinegar is among the best degreasers.
3) Frequently wash hands when cooking. Make sure to wash off oil so that your hands won’t drip or transfer oil on cabinets and other kitchenware.
4) Cook with low to moderate heat. This is to prevent oil splatter or cooking grease from flying onto the cabinet.
5) Cook with the right size pan. Again, to prevent splatter and oil spills.
6) Attend to your pot when cooking. It’s possible that your pot may boil over and food (and oil) spills out, so better to give it full attention.
How to clean cabinets before painting
The best way to clean cabinets before painting is to use dish soap. Examples of dish soap to use are TSP or liquid deglosser that you’ll need to scratch along with a scotch brite pad. This process removes grease, grime, and even dirt before painting the cabinet.
How to degrease kitchen cabinets before painting
You can degrease your kitchen cabinets before painting using a heavy-duty degreaser. One of the commonly used powerful degreasers is Trisodium Phosphate, as it can grease cut dirt. TSP is also affordable, plus you’ll only spend minutes mixing it up with hot water. You can also use other dish soaps that are grease cutting.
What is the best cleaner for painted cabinets?
The best cleaner for painted cabinets is warm water and dish soap. In case you have any food-related grime, this combination will help you remove it. Mix the warm water with the dish soap to form a nice bubbly consistency. Then use a soft microfiber cloth to scrub the surface.
Is krud kutter safe on wood?
Yes, krud kutter is safe on wood and other surfaces. Most professionals confirm it is a non-toxic formula great for cleaning and preparing wood furniture for painting. If you are planning to paint, krud kutter will degloss your wood surface, making the paint adhere properly.
Krud Kutter is our Best Degreaser for Kitchen Cabinets Before Painting. It easily cuts grease, can be used on different surfaces and all-natural, and is easy to use.
Degreasers are not the only ones that can remove grime and oil on your cabinets. Among the best degreasers are readily available in your kitchen (vinegar, baking soda). Your choice for the best degreaser for kitchen cabinets before painting depends on the type of stain and for how long the stain or oil has stain on your cabinet.
What’s important is you degrease, clean, repair and dry your kitchen cabinets before painting. That way you’ll be sure that the paint will stick to the wood, and the cabinet will have a new lease in life.