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Can You Paint Your Cabinets Without Sanding?

Paint Your Kitchen Without Sanding or Priming DIY Painting

The Short Answer

Yes, you can paint your cabinets without sanding. However, it’s important to keep in mind that sanding is an important step in the prep process to ensure the paint adheres properly and lasts for a long time. If you skip sanding, the paint may peel or chip easily.

The Long Answer

Sanding is typically necessary to remove any existing finish or gloss on cabinets, so that the paint can properly adhere. However, there are some alternatives to sanding that can achieve similar results.

Option 1: Use a Deglosser

A deglosser is a liquid solution that can be applied to the cabinets to remove the gloss and create a surface that the paint can adhere to. This is a less messy and time-consuming option compared to sanding. However, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and wear protective gloves and eyewear when using a deglosser.

Option 2: Use a Bonding Primer

A bonding primer is a type of primer that is specifically designed to help paint adhere to surfaces that are difficult to paint, such as cabinets. It can be applied directly to the cabinets without sanding, and can help the paint stick better.

The Prep Process

Whether you choose to sand, use a deglosser, or a bonding primer, there are still some key steps in the prep process that should be followed to ensure a successful paint job.

Clean the Cabinets

Before you start painting, it’s important to thoroughly clean the cabinets. This will remove any dirt, grime, or grease that may be on the surface, and will help the paint adhere better. Use a degreaser or a mixture of water and vinegar to clean the cabinets.

Remove the Hardware

To make painting easier, remove all hardware, such as handles and hinges, from the cabinets. This will also help ensure that the paint is applied evenly to all surfaces.

Fill Any Holes or Cracks

If there are any holes or cracks in the cabinets, fill them with wood filler or putty. This will create a smooth surface for painting.

Apply Painter’s Tape

Use painter’s tape to mask off any areas that you don’t want to paint, such as the walls or countertops. This will help create clean, straight lines.

The Painting Process

Once you’ve prepped your cabinets, it’s time to start painting.

Choose the Right Paint

Choose a high-quality paint that is specifically designed for cabinets. This will ensure a durable, long-lasting finish.

Apply Thin Coats

It’s better to apply several thin coats of paint rather than one thick coat. This will help prevent drips and ensure an even finish.

Allow Plenty of Drying Time

Allow each coat of paint to dry completely before applying the next coat. This will prevent the paint from peeling or chipping.


While it is possible to paint your cabinets without sanding, it’s important to remember that sanding is an important step in the prep process. If you choose to skip sanding, be sure to follow the alternative methods carefully and follow the prep and painting steps to ensure a successful paint job.