How to Remove the Glossy Finish on Cabinets

Gloss is desirable on cabinets, but if you're planning on painting or re-coating the cabinets, the existing gloss finish can keep the new coating from adhering to the cabinets. You have a couple of options for removing the gloss, and while they aren't difficult, both are time consuming. Set aside a weekend, and roll up your sleeves.

Remove the gloss finish before re-coating your cabinets.

Sand off the Gloss

Step 1

Remove the cabinet doors and drawers from the cabinet base. Use a screwdriver to remove the hinges and drawer pulls.

Step 2

Fold a sheet of fine-grit sanding paper into a square and sand over the entire surface of the cabinets, the cabinet doors and the drawer fronts.

Step 3

Sand lightly. You're not trying to smooth the wood grain, only the surface gloss.

Step 4

Use a fine-grit foam sanding block for the flat areas on the cabinet base and on the backs of the cabinet doors.

De-gloss With Liquid

Step 5

Disassemble the cabinets as you would if you were sanding them. In order to apply the liquid evenly, you must have access to all parts of the wood.

Step 6

Wear chemical-resistant gloves and splash proof goggles, and read the manufacturer's directions and safety precautions.

Step 7

Pour liquid de-glosser onto a clean rag and wipe the rag over the glossy surface of the cabinets, doors and drawer fronts, rubbing with the cloth until the gloss is gone.

Step 8

Wipe off excess de-glossing liquid and let the cabinets dry completely before re-coating.