How to Refinish Kitchen Cabinets

Refinishing kitchen cabinets is an excellent way to get a new look without having to replace the cabinets. During the refinishing process, the old finish is removed either through sanding or chemical stripping.

Clean the cabinets

Scrub the cabinets to remove any grease, dirt, or dust before you do anything else.

Empty cabinets and remove doors

  • Take everything out of the cabinets.
  • Remove the doors and drawers.
  • Remove all of the hardware.

Strip or sand

Stripping is the best option. However, it’s messy and time-consuming. If your cabinets have chipped paint, stripping is always best. If your cabinets are in excellent shape, you can get away with sanding them.

Current cabinet finish

  • Determine the finish that is currently on your cabinets.
  • Visit your local home improvement store to find the correct stripping agent for the type of finish your cabinets have.


  • Place a drop cloth on countertops, floors, and any area that could come in contact with the chemicals.
  • Wear gloves, old clothing, and a breathing mask.
  • Use a paintbrush to apply the stripping chemicals to all surfaces of the cabinets, drawers, and doors.
  • Leave the stripping agent on for the amount of time indicated by the manufacturer.
  • Wipe away the stripping chemical as indicated by the manufacturer.

Clean the cabinets

  • Wipe down the cabinets with a solution of vinegar and water.
  • Remove the residue left from stripping.

Sand and prime

  • Lightly sand the cabinets.
  • Use a small paintbrush and a small paint roller to prime the cabinets.


Once the primer is dry, you can begin painting the cabinets. Apply two coats of paint, letting each coat dry between coats.

Doors, drawers, and hardware

  • Make sure the paint is completely dry.
  • Reattach hardware.
  • Replace the doors
  • Put the drawers back.

As mentioned above, stripping your cabinets can be a time-consuming process depending on how many cabinets you have and how much time you have to devote to the project. If you only have weekends, you should expect this project to take three or more weekends. If you have someone to help, you can get done faster.