TSP Cleaner For Cabinets: The Best Cleaner To Treat Wood Cabinets

If you want to renovate your kitchen, you can’t move forward without painting the wood cabinets. And without cleaning the cabinets, you can’t paint them. When it comes to cleaning, TSP is the right choice to degrease the wood cabinets. It will remove hard-to-remove stains, grease, and oil dirt from the wooden surface like a charm. 

Here in this guide, we will break down what TSP is, the safety code of using it on wood, and how to use it to clean kitchen cabinets. Turns out, we will recommend some alternative to TSP cleaner for cabinets at the end of this article. So, let’s dive deeper. 

What Does TSP Cleaner Stand For?


TSP stands for Trisodium Phosphate. It is widely known as TSP, a powerful cleaning agent to remove almost every mess from tiny to stubborn dirt & grime. There is no surface from masonry (brick, stone, concrete, and cement) to the home floor that can’t be cleaned with TSP.

Though it’s inexpensive, this chemical is toxic, and it has its own drawbacks. Extended exposure to TSP will cause eye & skin irritation. So, you must follow the safety instructions when using it to clean your exterior or interior surfaces. 

The Code Of Using TSP On Wood

TSP is a multi-purpose cleaning agent that works on almost every surface to remove sticky & stubborn dirt, dust, grime, and stains. However, you can’t use too much Trisodium Phosphate or TSP to clean a surface. For example, extra use of TSP on wood can damage the finish. Making a proper cleaning solution with TSP is a must. 

For household or domestic cleaning, you should prepare a cleaning solution by mixing ¼ cup of TSP with a gallon of hot water. Then, you need to mix both ingredients evenly using a wooden stir stick. 

Don’t forget to get plastic sheets to cover nearby floors if you use them indoors. Otherwise, it will damage the flooring. When cleaning outdoors with TSP, cover the vegetation with plastic sheets for protection. 

Above this, rinse the wood surface like cabinets with fresh water to ensure you wash away all the TSP. Otherwise, you can find a salt-like residue on the wood cabinets once the TSP gets dried. Therefore, it will eat the finish of your wood cabinets. 

Can You Clean Kitchen Cabinets With TSP?

Yes, you can clean kitchen cabinets with TSP without damaging the finish. TSP is a versatile cleaning product to clean hard-to-remove dirt & dust from every surface type including wood cabinets. 

When applying the trisodium phosphate to the kitchen cabinets, ensure you make the solution properly. Pour a gallon of water into a bucket and add a ¼ cup of TSP cleaner into it. Then, mix these ingredients with a wood stir stick. 

This solution will help you remove stubborn debris, stains, and oily residue from the kitchen cabinets. After using it, wash the cabinets evenly with fresh water. Then, use a towel to dry the wood cabinets. 

How To Clean Kitchen Cabinets With TSP? 

Follow the below cleaning steps to clean kitchen cabinets with TSP. 

Make A Cleaning Solution

Firstly, make a cleaning solution by mixing TSP and hot water. Ensure you combine a ¼ cup of trisodium phosphate with a gallon of warm water into a bucket. Then, use a wood stir stick to mix these ingredients properly. 

TSP Cleaner For Cabinets
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Bring the Cabinets On The Workstation

Next, set up a workstation and bring the cabinet doors on it. In this way, you will get enough space to clean multiple wood cabinet doors at once, which will save you time. 

Start Cleaning Your Cabinets

Before beginning the cleaning workflow, wear gloves, glasses, and long sleeves for protection. Then, dip a cleaning sponge into the solution and saturate it. Then, start scrubbing the doors. We recommend you scrub on the corners and near the handles. These are the locations of your cabinet doors where dirt & debris tend to build up. 

Rinse the Kitchen Cabinets With Water

Finally, rinse your kitchen cabinets with fresh water. You can use a rag and dip it into freshwater. Then, wipe away your cabinets to remove excess dirt and grease to leave your kitchen cabinet spotless. 

You can follow the same steps to clean the cabinets on the wall. Make sure you rinse the cabinet with clean water evenly. Otherwise, a salt-like residue will leave on the cabinet if you fail to rinse the TSP completely. 

How To Clean Sticky Wood Cabinets With TSP? 

Trisodium Phosphate or TSP is a powerful cleaning agent to clean sticky engineered wood cabinets. Mix up the TSP according to the instructions on its package. Generally, you need to mix a ½ cup of TSP with two gallons of water. Then, use a wood stir stick to blend these ingredients. 

Keep in mind; you must add hot water to dissolve the TSP. Also, keep another bucket of clean hot water for rinsing purposes. 

Once you mix the TSP with hot water, get a sponge and dip it into the solution. Then, squeeze the sponge a little bit and start scrubbing the sticky or greasy dirt on your wood cabinets. 

Next, use warm clean water and wash your cabinets to remove the excess grease. Repeat the scrubbing and rinsing method until you remove all the grease stain from the wood cabinets. 

To clean the hard-to-reach corner of your cabinet, use a stick and wrap it with a towel. Then, scrub those corners to remove grease & stains. 

After scrubbing all the gunks off, rinse your wood cabinets with fresh water. Lastly, towel-dry the cabinets. 

Does TSP Remove Cabinet Finish? 

TSP can remove the cabinet finish if you don’t rinse it well after cleaning with this powerful cleaning chemical. 

To protect the cabinet finish, we recommend you wash the wood cabinet thoroughly with clean water. If needed, you should rinse the wood surface several times to get rid of every speck of TSP. 

Sometimes, scrubbing the cabinet roughly can also destroy the finish though it removes the hard-to-remove gunks. In this case, you need to sand down the wood cabinets and repaint them to bring back their natural look. 

Alternative To TSP Cleaner For Cabinets

Though TSP cleaner cleans like a champ, it has some downsides. It’s toxic and harmful and causes eye and skin irritation. Plus, it’s not eco-friendly. So, you might consider the TSP cleaner substitutes like Denatured alcohol and Acetone. 

You can use Denatured Alcohol to remove greasy and oil residue from the surface. The best part is- it evaporates after using it and you don’t need to rinse it as TSP requires. Indeed, it makes the cleaning workflow effortless. 

When using Denatured Alcohol, don’t forget to wear safety gloves, put on glasses, and long sleeves. 

Acetone is also a great cleaning agent you can use instead of TSP. It is efficient in cutting through dirt & debris. You can try it out to clean deep layers of oil paint from cabinets. Don’t forget to maintain the safety precaution tips when handling it. 


Is TSP safe for wood cabinets?

Yes, TSP is safe for wood cabinets if you use it correctly. This powerful cleaning agent will help you degrease the wood cabinets by removing greasy & grimy dirt. Once you clean the wood cabinets with TSP, rinse the cabinets thoroughly to remove all the TSP to protect your wood cabinet and its finish. 

How do you clean kitchen cabinets without removing the finish?

You can try out the solution of 50% distilled vinegar and 50% water to clean your kitchen cabinets without removing the finish. Ensure you spray the solution on a washcloth and wipe the surface with it to remove dirt & grease from the wooden cabinets. 

How do you clean grease off kitchen cabinets before painting?

You can grease off the kitchen cabinets using TSP before painting. Make a cleaning solution by mixing 1/4 cup of TSK with a gallon of hot water. Then, dip a sponge into the solution and squeeze it. Then, start scrubbing the kitchen cabinets with the sponge to remove grease & oily residue. Finally, rinse the cabinets evenly with clean hot water. 

Do you rinse TSP before painting?

You must rinse the TSP from the wood cabinets and its wall before painting. If you don’t wash the TSP evenly, the paint won’t adhere to the surface or wall of the cabinet. Use clean hot water to rinse all the TSP thoroughly. 

What is TSP good for cleaning?

TSP is a powerful cleaning agent and people use it as a degreaser, cleanser, and stain remover. It is good for cleaning every surface including stone, brick, concrete, and cabinets. Using this cleaner, you can easily remove hard-to-remove and stubborn dirt & grime from the surface.


Trisodium Phosphate or TSP is a powerful cleaning agent. With it, you can efficiently remove dirt, debris, and stubborn gunk from the wood cabinets. In short, it makes your cabinets ready for painting by removing the toughest dust. 

TSP has its own advantages and disadvantages. The benefits it delivers are- it’s easy to apply, effective, and inexpensive. And the downside is- it’s toxic and harmful. 

We recommend you maintain the safety tips when using it to clean your cabinets to avoid eye and skin irritations. 

Alternatively, you can try out Acetone and Denatured Alcohol if the TSP is banned by the state where you live. 

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