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Are you ever frustrated when you paint a piece of furniture and the paint does not adhere? That’s right! A hassle like this is so frustrating.

Fortunately, I am here to share a great experience with you! Most of the time, it’s an easy fix. So, in today’s post, I’m going to address one of the biggest reasons that your paint might not be sticking to wood furniture.

The primary reason is grime, grease and dust are hiding on your furniture’s surface. So, you must know how to clean furniture before painting.

Why You Should Clean Your Furniture Before Painting

Using degreasing cleaner to clean furniture before painting

Cleaning furniture before painting is an important step to making a furniture makeover a success. As a result, you will achieve a smooth finish and a better result.

Taking time to clean furniture before painting will allow you to detect any cracks or damage, or if it needs any repairs.

Furthermore, you can restore your furniture by choosing the right cleaning solutions, whereas the wrong solutions can damage the wood itself.

Therefore, picking the right cleaning supplies and tools is one of the most important steps in learning how to clean furniture before painting.

Trust me, I’m telling you! Learning this lesson was a long process for me. In the beginning, I took this step for granted. In consequence, the primer did not work properly and the paint did not adhere well to furniture pieces at all. It turned out to be a mess!

How to Clean Furniture Before Painting

To prepare your furniture for painting, let’s take a look at what supplies you will need.

  • Degreasing Cleaner 
  • A bucket
  • Rag
  • Gloves

Step 1: Cleaning Wood before painting

Keeping furniture clean isn’t a magic trick. There is something unique about each piece. Cleaning each piece takes a bit of time. Each piece of furniture requires a different set of cleaning products.

What to use to clean before painting furniture?

Here are the best ways to clean and prepare wood furniture for painting.

Mild Cleaning applications

I prefer to use a Dobie sponge to scrub and clean the pieces. You can find this sponge at any local store or at Amazon. To clean furniture surfaces, you should use a wood degreaser before painting.

use krud kutter to clean furniture

Krud Kutter

This is the affordable and effective degreasing cleaner used to clean furniture before painting.

You will be able to remove dirt, grime, grease, and dust by using Krud Kutter on your furniture.

You can spray Krud Kutter on any surface of your furniture and let it sit for 20 minutes as instructed. After that, wipe it off with a damp cloth.

Soapy Water

cleaning furniture before painting with soapy water

Cleaning furniture with soapy water is another option before painting.

The easiest way to make soapy water is to mix dish washing liquid and water together.

The Dishwashing Liquid contains 3x Grease Cleaning Power that prevents greasy film from developing on furniture surfaces.

For cleaning purposes, you can use a damp cloth to wipe your furniture’s surface with soapy water.

Simple Green Formula

clean furniture by using simple green cleaner

You can also use EPA Safer Choice Certified degreasing simple green cleaner which is environmentally friendly and can be used on a variety of surfaces.

This powerful formula easily removes tough stains, dirt, grease and grime from furniture surfaces without harming people or the environment. 

A concentrated formulation of Simple Green provides up to 30x the cleaning value. It makes clean-up a simple and safe process.

You can simply apply Green all purpose cleaner to your furniture’s surface and wipe it off with a cloth.

Best way to clean furniture before painting

The Simple Green All-Purpose formula is my favorite cleaner for mild cleaning or less dirty tasks . Besides being eco-friendly and affordable, it’s also available almost everywhere.

Would you like to learn how to eliminate smoke smell from furniture in detail?

What Should I Clean With Wood Before Painting?

According to professionals, sanding wood surfaces is the easiest way to clean them. You can sand wood surfaces lightly with 180-grit sandpaper to smooth wood grain. Then, remove the sanding dust with a tack cloth and then apply a suitable primer.

tack cloth to remove sanding dust
Tack cloth to remove sanding dust

Heavier Cleaning applications

using soapy rag to clean greasy spots before painting
Sanding wood surface before painting

The most important thing I learned from my experience is to pay attention to areas where the wood looks darker or discolored.

If you scrape the surface with a fingernail, you probably won’t get anything off the wood. So scrub those spots really well until they look like the wood’s regular color again.

It’s even possible to scrape off grimy buildup with a putty knife in severe cases. But it’s important to be gentle when you work with wood.

It’s tricky to clean greasy spots if you wipe them with a damp rag or even a soapy rag, they will appear clean, but they aren’t!

Thus, you should carefully clean your furniture piece with a degreasing cleaner. 

How To Clean Wood Furniture Before Painting With TSP?

cleaning wood before painting with TSP

Using TSP to remove stubborn stains from your furniture can be a good idea before you paint it. As part of my preparation for painting, I compared this phosphate-free cleaner to others. I was surprised that this powerful cleaner takes off twice as much grime as any other cleaner I’ve tested.

It is an excellent way to prepare surfaces before painting. All that is needed is a sponge, a little product, and water. So, it is much easier and less expensive than I expected.

Hence, TSP is a good concentrated cleaner that lasts long, but make sure to check the back of the paint container to see if it works with TSP. Also, it is important to wear gloves at all times, as skin contact can cause an allergic reaction!

Important Note: A tack cloth is sticky, allowing it to catch dirt and dust particles.

How To Clean Wood Before Painting With Denatured Alcohol?

cleaning furniture before painting with denatured alcohol

It’s really easy to clean furniture before painting with denatured alcoholAlso, it works well for removing paint.

Before applying denatured alcohol, make sure you read the label’s instructions carefully as it is both odorless and flammable. The use of denatured alcohol can be hazardous if it is not done correctly.

You will need a little denatured alcohol on a cloth and wipe it over your furniture’s surface. There is no need to wait for it to dry.

Step 2: Rinse

Even after cleaning, if you have left any cleaner residue on your furniture, then you should rinse it off with water. Residue can interfere with paint adhesion, which results in an unsatisfactory finish. You can use water and a clean rag to rinse your furniture.

Step 3: Let Dry

Before painting, let the surface dry completely. Keep in mind that the paint will not adhere or dry properly on a damp surface.

Conclusion On How To Clean Furniture:

I hope that this post regarding how to clean furniture before painting has been helpful to you. Many people think that cleaning furniture before painting is an extra step, but we want to assure you that it is well worth the effort.

Cleaning and degreasing your furniture before painting ensures an excellent paint job. What could be better than that?

FAQS On Cleaning Furniture before Painting

How do you clean old dirty furniture before painting?

I mostly use a scraper to remove stickers or other thick substances from furniture. However, you should be gentle and avoid damaging the wood.

How long after washing furniture can you paint it?

After cleaning and rinsing your furniture piece, it’s time to paint! It should take you not more than 10 minutes to do this (unless the furniture piece is really dirty, then perhaps a little longer).

How to clean wood with mineral spirits before painting?

When it comes to removing stubborn grime and buildup from polish and wax, mineral spirits are an excellent cleaner to clean wood before staining or painting. After sanding, soak an absorbent cloth in mineral spirits, then wipe the wood gently to get a fresh look. Mineral spirits take about 20 minutes to dry. After that, you are ready to paint.

How to clean furniture before painting with vinegar?

If you wish to clean wooden furniture, you can fill a spray bottle with a quarter cup of vinegar and fill remaining bottle with water. Next, wipe the stain and dirty marks with this solution on the surface and allow it to dry.

How to clean laminate furniture before painting?

You can use a degreasing cleaner such as Krud Kutter, Simple Green, or Denatured Alcohol to remove dirt grease before painting laminate furniture. Once you have cleaned your furniture, rinse it off and let it dry completely.

How to clean wood furniture before chalk painting?

For cleaning wood, you can lightly sand the surface with a sanding pad. You can then wipe the sanding dust away with a tack cloth before painting. Now, apply a primer on wood furniture to get smooth finish.

Martina Hitchcock-Holapaints writer

Martina Hitchcock

Martina Hitchcock is a versatile author with expertise in different fields. As a paint sprayer expert, she has in-depth knowledge of paint spraying techniques, tools, and equipment. Martina is also an experienced home remodeler who has worked on various projects, including kitchen and bathroom renovations, flooring installations, and room additions. Her knowledge of home improvement and remodeling is extensive, and she enjoys sharing her insights and tips with readers. You can follow her on Facebook.

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