The kitchen is the heart of the home and you have to take care of your heart to continue feeling fresh and healthy. One of the best ways to freshen up your kitchen is to replace your old cabinets. For those who have never looked into replacing kitchen cabinets, we’ll let you know right off the bat,


It can be expensive.


If you can’t afford to pour hundreds or even thousands of dollars into your kitchen, we have an alternative method. Instead of buying new kitchen cabinets, you can simply remove the polyurethane finish from your old ones. In this small guide, we’re going to show you how it’s done!



What You’ll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Large Blanket Or Cloth
  • Gloves
  • Face Mask
  • Gel Stripping Agent
  • Paint Brush
  • Putty Knife
  • Steel Wool
  • Sander



The Prep

You’ll want to begin by removing your kitchen cabinets from the wall. You’ll start by removing all of the smaller pieces including the handles, drawers, doors, etc. This can be done with a simple screwdriver. We highly recommend keeping track of them using a number system and masking tape so that you know exactly where they go when you put them back up.

Keep an area out of your workplace where you can save all of your cabinet hardware. If you are planning on stripping the polyurethane indoors, make sure that you are in a part of your home that is well-ventilated. Also make sure to lie some large fabrics or blankets down so that you don’t get any chips on your floor or carpet.

You’ll want to make sure that you have a pair of gloves and a face mask on before you get with the stripping, as polyurethane can be very toxic.



The Strip

Lay out your gel stripping agent (urethane stripper) in a bucket or tray and begin spreading it in even layers around your cabinet. The agent will eventually begin to bubble and the polyurethane will begin coming off of your cabinets.

Using a putty knife, start gently stripping the polyurethane and gel agent off of the wood. Make sure to do this softly so that you don’t dent or gouge your wood. Do note, there will be some areas where the polyurethane might be a bit stubborn and hard to get off. This is where the steel wool comes into play. You can dip your steel wool into your gel agent and gently scrub any problem areas.

Once you’ve let your cabinets dry for a couple hours, it’s time to get to sanding. Use a good wood sanding paper between 180 and 220-grit to remove all of the remaining polyurethane. When everything is gone, wipe down your cabinets with a damp cloth. 




Freshening up your kitchen doesn’t have to be a difficult or expensive task. Sometimes it just takes shedding some old skin to get that new feeling. Have you had any experience in DIY polyurethane stripping? Maybe you have some other tips that we didn’t mention?

Please let us know in the comments!