Trisodium Phosphate Powder

Trisodium phosphate was at one time extensively used in formulations for a variety of consumer-grade soaps and detergents, and the most common use for trisodium phosphate has been in cleaning agents. The pH of a 1% solution is 12 (i.e., very basic), and the solution is sufficiently alkaline to saponify grease and oils. In combination with surfactants, TSP is an excellent agent for cleaning everything from laundry to concrete driveways. This versatility and low manufacturing price made TSP the basis for a plethora of cleaning products sold in the mid-20th century. TSP is still sold and used as a cleaning agent, but since the late 1960s, its use has diminished in the United States and many other parts of the world because, like many phosphate-based cleaners, it is known to cause extensive eutrophication of lakes and rivers once it enters a water system. Substitutes are generally not as effective.

TSP is commonly used after cleaning a surface with mineral spirits to remove hydrocarbon residues and may be used with household chlorine bleach in the same solution without hazardous reactions.[citation needed] This mixture is particularly effective for removing mildew, but is less effective at removing mold.[citation needed]

Although it is still the active ingredient in some toilet bowl-cleaning tablets, TSP is generally not recommended for cleaning bathrooms because it can stain metal fixtures and can damage grout.  see https://en.wikipedi…

T.S.P - Trisodium Phosphate

Mistakes Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Never paint your kitchen cabinets like this!

No one is more meticulous than professional cabinet finishers so here are some pointers to consider before hiring or painting kitchen cabinets yourself.

This video IS NOT how we would ever recommend cleaning, preparing or painting kitchen cabinets. In fact this is how you ruin a beautiful kitchen. Watch and never do what they are doing.

The Cabinet Painter is a specialized Trade: Follow these steps and your cabinets should last years!

Preparing and painting older cabinets that have already been installed requires many more steps beyond the traditional staining and clear coating methods. Here are the basic pointers that we follow.

  • Kitchen cabinet painting cannot be done well in a cold or dirty garage. A spray painting shop and specialized equipment for cabinet refinishing is essential
  • Remove and label everything that can be logically removed from the kitchen itself but never remove the shells from the walls.
  • Properly seal crowns, corners and wall openings for a reason. Painting wood apposed to staining wood is far more meticulous and requires 3 hats to do it all properly.  Cabinet builders stain and varnish wood and do not normally repaint existing cabinets. They understand staining and open grain and do not need to worry about dark cracks because its called "character".  Cabinet makers have little need to know about removing 20 years of grease and how to paint around walls, fridges, stoves, flooring etc. Cabinet painting is a specialized art that goes way beyond wood finishing. Kitchen cabinet painters are a combinations of wood finishers and house painters all in one.
  • Fill and caulk cracks in proper order and let products cure between coats..
  • Do not caulk or fill problematic or subjective cracks that can open up over time. Cabinets panels are made to move! (shrink and expand!) Just because you can caulk doesn't mean you always should.
  • Kitchen cabinet painters should be excellent fine finishers AND home interior painters able to hand paint details to MATCH spray finishing. Your  kitchen looks like NEW, not like DIY repaint.
  • Always SAND varnish off for a reason.
  • We DO NOT USE TSP, incompatible d-greasers and deglossers for a very good reason.
  • Use razor knives to meticulously clean corners and debris out of cracks where grease builds up over years. You cannot rely only on household cleaners to remove grease in corners, grain and cracks. Sanding is essential.
  • VERY IMPORTANT - Hand rub sanding sealer into oak grain so the open grain gets filled. You still want to see the grain but you do not want the grain open. It looks great when its filled.
  • Use a vacuum system for extracting dust out of shop
  • Label everything so your kitchen goes back together perfectly
  • Remove and re install new hardware
  • Use the non grain raising primers, undercoats and top coat with acrylic paint
  • Protect and deliver freshly painted cabinets flawlessly so everything looks amazing at the end of the job.

Cabinet builders stain and varnish new wood, they normally do not repaint existing/ 20 year old cabinets that have grease etc embedded into cracks and corners where paint will without question, break away and look terrible a year later. They understand staining and open grain finishing, but do little about dark cracks as this is all part of how wood looks.  Cabinet builders have little need to know things regarding removing 20 years of grease then how to get paint to stick to old varnishes, then get sprayed finish to match paint around the shells attached to preexisting walls, fridges, stoves, flooring etc. Cabinet painting is a specialized trade. They are a combinations of wood finishers and house painters who can fine finish all in one. 

de-greasing cabinets - painting guys


Typical Wood Cabinets We Paint

There isn't a cabinet you can't paint

The key to good cabinet painting is prep, priming, the spray shop and experience in both spray finishing and onsite hand finishing. We always bonding primers and Benjamin Moore paint.  Our finish is smooth and durable and the  colours look amazing!

We are confident you will be pleasantly surprised. In fact most people say they knew they we going to look good but wow!

Before after - kitchen cabinet painting

Cabinet Paint

The key steps to a "good better best" paint adhesion starts with excellent cleaning, sanding & priming. We never use TSP and we always choose stain blocking wood primers and acrylic top coat paint for the job. We never refinish cabinets with pigment lacquer over old lacquer as it does not age well.

Acrylic Paint vs Alkyd or Lacquer

We always use high quality acrylic paint which is more flexible to alkyd and lacquer. Acrylic paint never yellows. See examples of bad lacquer finishes we are now repainting.

(Note: we are no longer painting cabinets with exposed hinges) See example

Can I paint kitchen cabinets without sanding?

Can I paint kitchen cabinets without sanding?

If you are painting cabinets that have never been installed or varnished. Yes. But if there is any sign of food, oil from your hands, build up of grease near pulls and corners etc... you need to completely remove it all. If you don’t... paint will always chip or peel the moment you clean or hit those areas. Cleaning is the MOST IMPORTANT step.

Products like degreasers or TSP never work for older cabinets. If they actually worked we would be millionaires. In fact we never use TSP


Preparing kitchen cabinets for paint

Before any cabinet painting we always follow these steps in this order.

If  you do not follow these steps, the chances paint will chip easier, crack away from the wood are greater.

bad cabinet preparation

There are no short cuts to how we finish cabinets. Its all about preparation.

Preparing the wood

  1. Scrape and remove any grease, crud you find and that includes tight to the corners and grooves. 
  2. Use a cleaning solution (NEVER TSP) to clean after you scrape. We recommend Spray 9 and sometimes solvent, Acetone, lacquer thinner but generally Spray9 works the best.
  3. Sand the entire piece until you do not see any gloss finish. Its paramount the entire piece of wood doesn't have shiny lacquer. The finish must be dull. We generally sand further than just the surface and will usually sand into the bare wood where the pulls and corners get the most handling of years. The deep paint goes into the wood, the better the bond. Its as simple as that.
  4. Air blast and vacuum the entire piece. The less dust including deep into the corners the better.


cabinet painting - prpreparation


Cleaning and degreasing cabinets

Before you Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Every kitchen cabinet we've ever painted has some grease or food of some hind on the doors and drawers. Over time airborne pollutants, which include grease settle on the tops of cabinet doors. Before any painting begins... GREASE HAS TO BE REMOVED.

NOTE: you cannot use TSP to clean grease alone. We know products like TSP are recommended but in our case this is simply not true. Every kitchen has to be sanded so primer and paint bonds "deeper" into the wood.  The better the bond, the less likely paint will chip.
Below is an example of how we use a razor edge to scrape grease. Chemicals such as de-greasers NEVER WORK!  Once scraping is done, the next step is using chemical cleaners, wiping clean followed by sanding and then finally by air blasting all the dust away. There is no easier or better way to prepare cabinets for painting than this.

Why it costs money to paint kitchen cabinets and why you choose a re-finisher that takes the time to do it right.
You have to get the grease off the wood and out of the grain. If you don’t... the paint won’t stick!

de-greasing oak cabinets prior to painting