Kitchen Cabinets: How to Remove Peeling Vinyl

Date:  September 30, 2015


Categories:  Renovating, Tips

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When refinishing your old, cracking or peeling kitchen, bathroom or laundry cabinets the best rule of thumb is the more work you do yourself, the more money you will save. As a polish shop that specialises in refinishing peeling vinyl cabinets, Dianella Polishing works with our clients to ensure they get best value for money in their renovation project.


We often get our customers asking us if they can remove the peeling vinyl from their cabinets on their own, and if so how to do it. The short answer is, of course you can. To help you with this DIY venture, we have put together an easy tutorial on how to remove the peeling vinyl from any cabinet that has begun to crack or peel.


What Do You Need

In order to remove peeling vinyl from a cabinet, all you need is a sharp stanley knife, a ruler and a screwdriver to remove the cabinet doors from their frame.


What Do You Do

When removing peeling vinyl, the first thing you need to do is remove the cabinet doors from their frame. Using a screwdriver, you should be able to easily remove all the doors which will then allows you to work on removing the vinyl from each cabinet without the hassle of the door still being attached to your kitchen or bathroom.


In order to remove the peeling of cracked vinyl you simply need to run your stanley knife across the edges of the cabinet doors. Once the vinyl has been cut, you should be able to slowly start peeling the vinyl back. In areas where the glue is stuck down, you can slide the ruler under the vinyl in order to help lift it from the underlying MDF.


Word of Advice

Like the old saying says, slow and steady wins the race. Make sure you take your time removing the vinyl from your cabinet doors. Some vinyl will peel straight off with almost no work, but there may be parts when the glue is still quite strong and the vinyl is still secured on. Giving it a go and removing as much vinyl as you can will save you money, but if you can’t get it all off give Dianella Polishing a call and we can remove the remaining vinyl.


When you remove the vinyl, there will most likely still be some glue left of the MDF. You don’t need to be too concerned with removing this. Once your cabinets have been brought in to Dianella Polishing, we will use our special process to ensure the glue is removed and the cabinet is sanded back and ready to paint.


If you have any questions regarding removing vinyl from your cabinet doors, feel free to comment below or give us a call on 9303 2176. We would love to hear your experiences, tips or tricks for removing peeling vinyl as well!

21 responses to “Kitchen Cabinets: How to Remove Peeling Vinyl”

  1. Ronelle says:

    Thanks – have read your post about diy vinyl removal. We are in Melbourne, and i would potentially like to remove vinyl and paint doors myself.
    I am not keen to start the project, only to realise that i cannot remove all the vinyl adequatly myself, (and then have to outsource the project, or pause it haf complete!!).
    Kitchen doors are about 13years old and most have started to peel a little in the corners and joins, but are still in reasonably good nic visually. Do i wait til they get worse over next few years, or would you expect the vinyl and glues willcome off reasonably easily with a bit of gentle persuasion? !
    Also, how would you recommend i prepare them for paining (general sand and primer?), and what paint?
    I know i wont get a totally professional look like you would offer – but for the potential savings with diy, and the right know-how, i reacon i should be okay! (I have painted many internal doors with success in the past, so i expect these would be similar. ..!)

    • dianellapolishing says:

      Hi Ronelle,

      Thank you for your comment and questions regarding peeling vinyl. A DIY paint job on your kitchen cabinets is certainly not something we would recommend for a number of reasons.

      First off, once you have attempted to paint cabinets yourself a reputable polish shop will not be able to complete the job for you. Store bought paint and 2 pac paint do not react well together so once you have tried painting them unfortunately if you then decided you wanted to fix it up with a professional job that would not be possible.

      As outlined in this article, removing the vinyl is a fairly simple process and certainly something you can do yourself. If vinyl has started to peel on some of your doors its safe to assume you should be able to get all the vinyl off with a bit of ‘gentle persuasion’. However, the glue is a little bit more difficult and certainly something we would recommend being done by a professional. To remove the residual glue we have a process we do in house which has taken our professional team over 30 years to perfect. This is not something that can be done yourself, and we would highly recommend researching professional polish shops in your area who are able to complete this for you.

      Of course we understand where you are coming from wanting to renovate your kitchen and save a bit of money. However, the finish on your cabinets certainly isn’t the place to do this. Using your DIY skills to remove the doors yourself, remove the handles/hinges etc yourself and remove the peeling vinyl will all save you money when refinishing your kitchen. But the removal of the paint, and fresh paint itself is certainly something that should be left to the professionals.

      I hope this is of some help to you!


      The Team @ Dianella Polishing

      • anna says:

        Thank you for all your feed back I have also got vinyl wrap in my kitchen and its been okay the company was a family business and was only small but we have had it over 10 years now and its starting to peel and crack after reading all your comments to assist others in need to repair their kitchen/ bathroom cabinets I just wanted to say thank you for trying to help each of us you have given me some wonderful ideas so now we will attempt to peel 1 step at a time cheers

        • dianellapolishing says:

          Hi Anna, thank you for your kind words. We are glad that we are able to inspire and inform about how to fix peeling vinyl. Success and good luck with your Kitchen Renovation project.
          The Dianella Polishing team

  2. Annie says:

    I found all of the above very user friendly which is such a change from most DIY blogs.

    I live in Geelong Victoria so I am too far away to bring in my stripped doors .. Can you offer any advise as to how to remove any residual glue form the doors before I sand and paint ..

    Your info has been very helpful thank you

    Kind Regards Annie

    • dianellapolishing says:

      Hi Annie,

      Thank you for your comments regarding the Dianella Polishing blog, we are really happy to hear you enjoy the blog!

      Unfortunately we do not have any advice on how to remove residual glue from your kitchen doors yourself. Our process for removing glue has been perfected over 30 years with our in house professional team. We do not suggest or recommend that you complete the glue removing process in your home as it may cause damage to your doors which would then result in them needing to be replaced completely.

      It may be worth looking in to a professional polish shop in your area who would be able to carry out the work for you. Not only will you not cause any damage to your doors, but it will also result in a much more professional finish.

      If you have any other questions, please let us know.


      The Team @ Dianella Polishing

  3. George says:

    Hi. Can you suggest a qualified company in Brisbane we can use to repaint our vinyl wrap kitchen drawers and cupboards?

    • dianellapolishing says:

      Hi George,

      I am truly sorry – unfortunately Dianella Polishing does not have partnered polishers in Brisbane, neither do we by chance know a french polisher over East, hence we can not recommend anyone.

      Maybe check our blog for some inspiration on how to find out if your local polisher is the right choice for you.

      Good luck,

      Your Dianella Polishing team.

    • dianellapolishing says:

      Unfortunately we don’t work with any branches in the Eastern states at the moment. Hope you will find someone soon. Apologies from the Dianella-Polishing team.

      • Hi,

        Are you in Florida? Specifically the Tampa Bay area? We want to purchase a home and the vinyl is cracked on the cabinets. I would like to remove all vinyl and paint the cabinets a completely different color. Can you please assist?

        Thank you,
        Michelle Tampa Bay Florida

        • dianellapolishing says:

          Hi Michelle, unfortunately we are only based in Australia, WA.

          Thank you your Dianella Polishing Team.

  4. Joanne Woodcock says:


    Thank you for this great blog, very informative.

    Some of out doors and drawers are peeling and I am confident in attempting to remove the vinyl. However, other doors, drawers and island cladding/wrapped timber appear to be in good shape. I’m hesitant to start peeling in fear of not being able to complete the task and struggling to remove wrap from the sections which look intact.

    I would be grateful for any advice or input from your professionals as am interested in having everything repainted by your company.

    Also, I’m curious to know a rough price guide if you can give any examples, otherwise, I can measure-up and get back to you with exact sizes and figures of our cabinetry.



    • dianellapolishing says:

      Hi Joanne,

      thank you for your feedback. We’re glad that our blog proved useful to you. As to your peeling doors – please trust that you will be fine in removing the vinyl – and it is almost guaranteed that if some doors are peeling now the others will follow sooner or later. Our consultant Trevor would be happy to come out and have a look and show you how to do it. At the same time he could measure up your kitchen and quote on the repainting. Just pop over to and fill in the online form and upload the pictures – it only takes a minute – and we will give you a call to arrange an appointment.

      Talk soon, your Dianella-Polishing-Team.

  5. Tarnya says:

    Hello. I am in Brisbane. I am wanting to know if you can use the same process of removing vinyl from the other parts of the kitchen that aren’t doors or drawers. Sorry, I have no idea what it is called. Thank you for your blog. Would love to have a company I could trust over this side of the country.

    • dianellapolishing says:

      Hi Tarnya, I assume you are talking about the end boards and cover panels? You remove them just the same way as the vinyl on the doors and drawer fronts. Sometimes it is a bit tricky to find the first corner to start with. In areas where the vinyl is not peeling yet, you will need to use a heat gun to loosen the vinyl first. Be cautious when using the heat gun, it will break down the glue and make the vinyl peel or bubble off. It is important though that you don’t touch it – as it gets seriously hot. Wait until it has cooled down completely otherwise you risk to suffer third degree burns.

  6. Sarah Caldwell says:

    I live in Georgia. We bought our house in 2014 and it was built in 2006. One of the things that sold me was the kitchen and the cherry cabinets. Well around some of the edges of the cabinets and tops of the drawers it is peeling away. We do not have a cabinet person around us and we would like to redo them and paint them. Can someone please email me how to fix them and or paint them. Can they be painted after the vinyl is peeled off? Thank you so much

    • dianellapolishing says:

      Hi Sarah, we unfortunately don’t have a partner branch in Georgia. However this video might help you to figure out how to remove the peeling vinyl of your kitchen doors:

      In regards to the painting of the doors, we strongly recommend finding a local business that is capable of doing it as the results you achieve in your backyard aren’t satisfying – despite the YouTube vloggers trying to argue so.

      We are having customers pop in on an almost weekly basis asking for our help after they have tried or started to paint the doors themselves.

      Unfortunately once a door or drawer front has been painted we cant paint it anymore afterwards and it needs to be remade from scratch…

      So our recommendation is: Do yourself a favour and don’t paint the doors yourself.

      Your Dianella Polishing team for Kitchen renovations

  7. Coleen says:

    Hi Dianella,

    I really appreciate all of your suggestions! Reading all of the comments/suggestions has helped tremendously. I wish I wasn’t so far away from your establishment, it would make my life so much easier. I have one question about the base of the cabinets. What do you recommend for resurfacing them? Or do you generally leave them alone?

    • dianellapolishing says:

      Hi Coleen ,

      we normally pass on a small can of the original paint to our clients s- they can hand paint the cabinet base if needed.

      Hope that helps,

      your Dianella Polishign team.

  8. Greg Rusch says:

    Peeling vinyl is indeed very hard to remove from kitchen cabinets; it’s perhaps the worst thing in the world to do when it comes to kitchen cabinets. I hate everything about peeling in this respect.

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