Safely Cleaning Finished Cabinet Doors

Safely working your way up to a solvent that will dissolve the contaminant without damaging the finish can be tricky. June 30, 2014

Has anyone tried using lacquer thinner for cleaning finished cabinet doors?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor X:
Some CV's are tougher than others and most CV's you can get away with a quick wipe, but I wouldn't get it too wet. I would experiment on a sample piece and see what you can get away with.

From contributor S:
Contributor X is correct. I have been known to pad clean slight overspray from the backs of doors and such next day using lt. However, perhaps the question(s) back to you should be: how old is the coating (is it cured?), and what are you trying to remove/clean off?

From the original questioner
The client's housekeeper applied a glaze over a top coat of CV. The topcoat was several weeks old when the glaze was added, and it's been approximately four weeks since the glaze was applied. Is there a better product I could use to take off the glaze? At this point I don't know what type of glaze was used.

From contributor X:
I would start with the mildest solvent like mineral spirits and carefully progress to stronger solvents if needed.

From contributor R:
Cleaning is about solubilizing the substance(s) you're trying to remove. Yes, you can use trial and error, but if a mistake is made and you damage the surface you are trying to clean then you have a whole new problem. If you know what you are trying to remove, then finding a solvent becomes definitive and not conjecture.

From contributor T:
Assuming the housekeeper has no experience in glazing or finishing for that matter, it is doubtful they could have used anything more than an off-the shelf product from Home Depot or Lowes, which would be a water-based product. For the record, I spray Valspar C/V all the time. When that stuff is cured fully you can throw the whole door in lacquer thinner and nothing’s going to hurt it.

From contributor M:
Start with mineral spirits. If nothing, then try Naptha. Then use lacquer thinner last. Be sure the home owner assumes the risk here, financially. Most CV's I've sprayed would handle a thinner wash just fine, but if you have a burnt/thin corner, it can definitely wrinkle up on you.

From Contributor H:
Waterbase glaze over a solvent conversion varnish? There's no reason to try paint thinner or naptha on anything that's had a chance to cure, other than if you're trying to clean wax. My first chemical to try would be ammonia, and I would assume that this glaze is a waterbase. If you want to use acetone, test it first to see if it softens the finish. If it doesn't soften the finish with a few wipes that doesn't mean that you can give many wipes with no softening. Allow your CV to recover from your successive wipes before continuing (do a little at a time).