How to Degloss Wood Cabinets & Trims Before Painting?

Deglossing Wood with Liquid Deglosser

Sanding wood using abrasive sandpaper can be a long and tedious process.

Instead of using traditional paper-like sandpaper, you can use liquid formulas that are just as efficient at removing wood finish or glossy paint from a wood surface. It can also be used to prep the wood if you want to refinish or repaint it.

Deglossing wood is an important step before applying a new coat of paint, and it is typically done with a “liquid deglosser.”

Much like any conventional sandpaper, liquid sandpaper can also strip off any old varnish/paint and increase the adhesion ability of the surface to accept a new coat of varnish or paint.

Below, we’ll answer some common questions concerning liquid deglosser to get you familiar with the product.

What is Liquid Sander Deglosser?

Liquid sander deglosser is used to take off the glossiness of an earlier coat of paint while also sanding the surface lightly to allow the new paint to stick properly.

Unlike sanders and sandpaper, liquid sanders take off the glossy surface but do not smooth out the surface or fix any flaws.

What it is used for?

Many people wonder why they should switch to liquid sandpaper when traditional sandpaper serves them just fine.

In fact, liquid sandpaper is often confused as just another abrasive product to use interchangeably with sandpaper, but if you need to degloss a surface, having liquid sandpaper is important.

Deglosser can dull any finish on the wood beforehand, letting you apply a brighter, more vivid coat. Sandpaper can work similarly, but it doesn’t do the work of a deglosser.

Liquid sandpaper has a variety of uses much like standard sandpaper. You can use it on finishes, such as:

  • Varnish
  • Polyurethane
  • Enamel
  • Lacquer
  • Paint And Others

You can apply it to surfaces, such as:

  • Wood Moldings
  • Furniture
  • Walls
  • Kitchen Cabinets
  • Door Facings
  • Workshop Items and More
Liquid Deglosser Advantages and Disadvantages

Pros and Cons of Liquid Deglosser

Before using any liquid sanders, you’ll need to pay attention to a few things, such as your budget, the size of the project, existing supplies you may have, the item’s vulnerability to chemicals, and the timeframe you have to work within.

Then there are a few advantages and disadvantages you need to keep in mind before you choose this product. These include:


a) Easy to apply

When compared to traditional sandpaper, liquid sandpaper is easier to use.

All you have to do is pour a few drops onto a clean cloth and then apply it to the surface.

b) Less time consuming

Sanding traditionally takes a lot of time and effort, accomplishing in hours what liquid sandpaper can do in half the time with just a few wipes.

Electric sanders require less time to complete a project than traditional sanding, but it also involves correcting gumming up and clogging if they should occur.

There is no such issue when using a liquid sander.

c) Safer use

Compared to traditional sanding, liquid sandpaper is much easier to use and generates less wood dust and debris.

d) Gets into nooks and crannies

Sandpapers are not able to get into deeper recesses in wood, such as corners and detailing.

Liquid sandpaper can take on this task and get the job done quickly.

e) Not messy

Sanding typically makes a giant mess and prevents you from moving around freely while it’s being done.

After you’re finished, you have to spend a lot of time cleaning up the debris after the fact.

Liquid sandpaper does not pose this same issue, and any spillage can easily be handled.

A lot of the time, they are non-flammable, water-based, and biodegradable, making them easy to work with and clean up.


a) Pricey

If you’re working on a smaller budget, it is usually more cost-effective to use traditional sandpaper.

b) Chemical solutions

If you are allergic to certain chemicals, you may not want to use liquid sandpaper.

Using Liquid Sander on Trim and Cabinets

How to Use Liquid Sander on Trim?

There are six steps to using a liquid sander on trim and cabinets. They are as follows:

Step 1. Protect the floor

Since the deglosser is a chemical solution, you’ll need to take care to ensure you aren’t harming the floor or surrounding areas by using it.

You can protect the floor by laying down a solvent-resistant drop cloth to cover up any area below and around the trim.

You can layer it with newspapers to add even more protection.

Step 2. Use the TSP Substitute Before the Deglosser

Though some people will use the liquid sander right on the surface of the trim, it is not recommended.

Instead, you should use a TSP substitute before applying the liquid sander.

This is because you’ll want the new finish to stick well to the surface to ensure a longer-lasting application.

The TSP added to it will fortify it and give a longer life to your trim.

People also use it to get rid of any grease or oil from the surface before starting in order to offer a better adhesive area for the finish or paint.

All you have to do is put a few drops of the TSP substitute on a clean rag and rub it onto the surface in a circular motion to ensure proper results.

Be sure not to press down too hard while applying.

Step 3. Use a Clean Cloth

Choose a lint-free cloth to use when applying the deglosser.

Because it contains chemicals, lint-free cloth is best to use as it doesn’t modify any fiber bonding or give anything a fluffy look.

It provides a better outcome in this way. You may want to get more than one piece of cloth and keep it on hand depending on how large the project is that you are working on.

Step 4. Apply the Liquid Sander

Soak the cloth with the liquid sander and then wipe down the surface of the trim in circular motions.

Continue to fold the dirty, exposed areas of the cloth to expose cleaner surfaces, or use a new cloth once it gets too dirty to continue.

Clean the trim thoroughly to make sure you’re getting rid of all of the sheen, dirt, or white haze.

Step 5. Paint with the Deglosser

After the deglosser has been applied using the cloth method, you can apply another coat of it in order to create a smoother finish using a two-inch paintbrush for this step.

Wait for the coat to dry before continuing as not to disturb the process and weaken the bond that it will ultimately be able to form to any new finish that is applied.

Step 6. Allow it to Dry

This is important to reiterate because if you do not allow the deglosser to properly dry, it can cause trouble down the road.

After it has dried, the deglosser will provide excellent bonding power when you apply a new finish or paint over the surface.

You may need to wait up to 30 minutes for the paint to dry, but check the directions on the bottle to check the specific needs of the formula you are using.

Complete the instructions on the bottle exactly as directed.

Safety Tips and Precautions

Because liquid sander can be a flammable chemical, you’ll need to take steps to protect yourself during use and while disposing of it.

Take care not to use it in any indoor space where you risk exposing it to open flames.

Wear gloves and safety glasses when handling it as well as when using the cloth. It is best to let the fabric dry completely before disposing of it because the residue vapors pose their own risks.

Klean-Strip Liquid Sander Deglosser

What is the Best Liquid Sander Deglosser?

Liquid sandpaper that has less odor, better water solubility, is biodegradable, and is gentle on the skin is the best.

Try to find liquid sandpaper that has such features in order to enjoy the most seamless application process and the most flawless results.

Though there are many kinds of liquid sanders out there, some brands are preferred over others.

Klean-Strip Quart Easy Liquid Sander Deglosser is one of the most efficient types of liquid sandpaper available today.

It is one of the most popular alternatives to sandpaper due to its ease of use and its efficient effects.

This is a biodegradable and water-based formula that effortlessly increases the adhesion of old wood to new finishes and paint.

The result will be a thicker, smoother application of your paint or finish that won’t show any thin or weak spots like it might if left unprepared.

It is especially useful with paint, wood stains, lacquer, enamel, polyurethane, and varnish on wood molding, kitchen cabinets, and door facings.

This product is non-flammable, non-corrosive, and has a low odor.

– PROS –

  • The product serves as a deglosser and degreaser, saving you time in completing extra steps.
  • Water-based formula is biodegradable and gentle on the skin and the environment.
  • Non-corrosive formula won’t deteriorate the wood.
  • The non-flammable formula won’t combust if it gets near a flame.

– CONS –

  • May contain carcinogenic chemicals

Sandpaper is an abrasive material that, with a lot of time and elbow grease, can remove paints and finishes while smoothing out the wood.

When you need to degloss a surface and prepare it for a new coat of paint or finish, standard sandpaper isn’t always enough to get the job done.

Traditional sandpaper can’t get down into the cracks of the wood as liquid sandpaper can, nor can it effectively remove shine and gloss from the material.

Final Thoughts

Using liquid sandpaper is the key to getting surfaces refreshed and prepared for the application of new paints and finishes.

With liquid sanders, you can easily prime surfaces to get ready to apply to whatever material you intend to use on your surface.

It can be used on varnish, lacquer, enamel, wood stain, paint, polyurethane, and more, making it quite useful.

Once applied with a cloth, it takes half the time as standard sandpaper to complete the job and can immediately be painted over once it’s had time to dry.

This makes it a popular alternative to abrasive sandpaper and is seen more and more in today’s modern projects.

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