I would like to refinish the inside of a corner hutch. Below are images of the current condition.

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The current plan is to paint the inside of the hutch the same color. I plan to clean the inside of the hutch with some rubbing alcohol or something similar. Also I plan to sand the inside with 220 grit sanding paper. The current thought is use an acrylic paint to paint the inside.


  • Should I use a different sanding paper grit?
  • Is there an alternative to rubbing alcohol?


  • Not so much refinishing in the woodworking sense. You might want to check DIY to see how others would do this. Bear in mind it really has to do with what the current finish happens to be. If it is an oil-based paint the surface prep will be different than if it isn't.
    – user5572
    Commented Oct 31, 2020 at 14:43
  • @jdv, How do I figure out is an oil based paint or not. What are the other types that I should consider. Is Lacquers a paint type that is used on wood. Commented Oct 31, 2020 at 15:05
  • That would be best as a separate question. I'm surprised that this question wasn't already on DIY.SE. I t might be asking there, as I'm sure many there know the "rub the paint with a swab dipped in denatured alcohol" trick. If the swab stays clean, it's oil-based. If some paints comes off, it is probably a water emulsion style paint.
    – user5572
    Commented Oct 31, 2020 at 15:47
  • 1
    Definitely check the previous Q&A here and on DIY.SE. There are lots of "how to repaint over paint" Q&A on DIY.
    – user5572
    Commented Oct 31, 2020 at 15:49
  • 1
    It may be easier and less time consuming to paint it with a good bonding primer and then any paint you like after that.
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Oct 31, 2020 at 17:05

2 Answers 2


Your plan is sound. You must sand to scuff up any/all sheen on the existing paint. 220 is suitable (... I almost said fine) or you could start coarser and sand again with 220 to remove fine scratches. No primer is necessary if you sand like described.

No alcohol wipe is necessary; in fact it could cause problems if it softens or wrinkles the existing paint. Just wipe down well with damp cloth. Acrylic paint will work fine over existing alkyd (oil-base) or water base as long as the sanding regimen is followed.


The rule of thumb with overpainting (or over-finishing, since this applies to clear finishes also) is that as long as the surface is completely clean, dull (matt) and dust-free you should get a decent bond1.

Should I use a different sanding paper grit?

220 is a good choice. You could go a little coarser2 or a little finer and still get acceptable results, but 220 is a good mid-range grit for this type of job.

Is there an alternative to rubbing alcohol?

Yes, many.

Just simply cleaning with hot soapy water may be enough to clean a surface sufficient to start the prep for refinishing, but it depends on what it is/might be contaminated with.

Waxes aren't soluble in soapy water (even if the water is hot) so a solvent of some kind would be needed if any furniture polish or other product containing wax was ever used over the existing paint. Mineral spirits (UK: white spirit, Oz: mineral turpentine) is a good choice for this purpose, plus is also ideal for removing greasy or oily residues without the minor risk of exposing the piece to water. And generally speaking no fully-cured paint is adversely affected by mineral spirits.

1 This does also apply to polyurethane, putting the lie to the conventional wisdom that you can't overcoat stuff originally finished in poly.

2 When painting you can sand more coarsely than when using a clear finish without it being a problem.

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