How To Remove Kitchen Cabinets – Process And Precautions

Removing your kitchen cabinets can be the first step in a whole kitchen renovation or simply a way to give your kitchen a new look.

By learning this essential task, you can save money on labor costs, customize your space to fit your needs, and breathe new life into your kitchen.

With the easy-to-follow instructions and expert tips shared in this article, from assessing the situation to aftercare and cleanup, you’ll be equipped to tackle your cabinet removal project confidently and achieve the kitchen of your dreams.

Assessing the situation

Before diving into your kitchen cabinet removal project, it’s crucial to assess the situation properly.

Start by identifying the type of cabinets you have: are they wall-mounted or base cabinets? Take note of this as it will affect your removal process.

Next, inspect the condition of the cabinets and the surrounding areas. Look for any signs of damage, such as water stains, mold, or structural issues.

This assessment will help you anticipate any challenges you might face during the removal process and prepare accordingly.

Materials required

To successfully remove your kitchen cabinets, you’ll need a few essential tools and materials. Here’s what you’ll need

Tools required

  • Screwdriver: Use this to remove screws holding the cabinets in place.
  • Drill: A drill will come in handy for removing stubborn screws or drilling pilot holes.
  • Pry bar: This tool will help you gently pry the cabinets away from the wall or floor.
  • Hammer: Use a hammer to tap gently on the cabinets or pry the bar for added leverage.
  • Utility knife: This will help you cut through any caulk or paint sealing the cabinets to the wall or floor.
  • Tape: Measure accurately for a precise removal process and for planning future installations or renovations.

Recommended safety gear

  • Gloves: Protect your hands from sharp edges and splinters while handling cabinets and hardware.
  • Safety goggles: Safeguard your eyes from debris and dust that may be generated during the removal process.
  • Dust mask: Prevent inhalation of dust and particles while working in a confined space.
  • Knee pads: Provide cushioning and support when kneeling or crouching during the removal process.

By ensuring you have all the necessary tools and safety gear on hand, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle your kitchen cabinet removal project safely and effectively.

Preparing the workspace

Before you start removing your kitchen cabinets, it’s important to prepare the workspace properly. Begin by clearing out the contents of the cabinets. Remove dishes, utensils, and any other items to create space for your work

Afterward, protect the surrounding area from damage. Lay down drop cloths or old towels to cover the floors and countertops. This will prevent scratches, dings, or spills as you remove your kitchen cabinets.

Safety precautions

As you remove kitchen cabinets, safety should always be a top priority. Here are some important precautions to keep in mind:

Work with a capable assistant

Kitchen cabinets can be heavy and awkward to move, so having an extra pair of hands will make the process safer and easier.

Wear safety glasses and gloves

Protect yourself from sharp edges and debris by wearing safety goggles and sturdy gloves throughout the removal process.

Turn off water and electricity

Before you begin, it’s essential to shut off the water and electricity supply to the kitchen to avoid any accidents or damage.

Use proper lifting techniques

Bend your knees and lift with your legs, not your back, to prevent strains or injuries while handling heavy cabinets.

Keep a fire extinguisher nearby

In case of unexpected emergencies, have a fire extinguisher readily accessible to address any potential fire hazards.

Removing kitchen cabinets

1. Removing doors and drawers

When preparing to remove your kitchen cabinets, start by taking off the doors and drawer fronts.

Use a screwdriver to unscrew any hinges or hardware attaching them to the cabinets. Once removed, label each door and drawer front to keep track of where they belong. Organize the hardware in labeled bags or containers to make reassembly easier later on.

This step will not only streamline the removal process but also ensure that everything goes back together smoothly when it’s time to reinstall the cabinets.

2. Loosening fasteners

To proceed with removing your kitchen cabinets, the next step is to loosen the fasteners holding them in place.

Begin by identifying and removing screws or nails securing the cabinets to the wall or floor. Use a screwdriver or drill to unscrew them, or a hammer and pry bar to gently pry them out if they’re nailed in.

For stubborn fasteners, try applying penetrating oil to loosen them before attempting to remove them. If screws are stripped, use a screw extractor or drill to remove them carefully.

3. Removing kitchen wall cabinets

Removing wall cabinets is a crucial step in any kitchen renovation project. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

Remove appliances, shelves, doors, and drawers

Begin by emptying the contents of the cabinets and removing any appliances, shelves, doors, and drawers. Set them aside in a safe place for reassembly later.

Cut caulk or paint

Use a utility knife to carefully cut through any caulk or paint sealing the cabinet to the wall. This will make it easier to detach the cabinet.

Unscrew the side and back screws

Locate the screws attaching the cabinet to the wall and adjacent cabinets. Use a screwdriver or drill to unscrew them, ensuring to support the weight of the cabinet as you do so.

Lower and remove the cabinet

With the help of your assistant, carefully lower the cabinet to the ground. Make sure to lift it evenly to prevent damage or tilting.

Safety precautions

To safely detach cabinets from the wall, ensure that you have a sturdy ladder or step stool to reach the top screws. Take precautions to avoid damaging the wall or cabinets during the removal process.

Remember to work methodically and enlist the help of an assistant to make the process smoother and safer. With the cabinets removed, you’ll be one step closer to achieving your kitchen renovation goals.

4. Removing base kitchen cabinets

Here’s a simple guide to help you through the process of removing your base cabinets:

Remove shelves and drawers

Begin by emptying the contents of the base cabinets and removing any shelves and drawers. Take care to set them aside safely for reassembly later.

Remove the countertop and sink

If your base cabinets have a countertop and sink installed, these will need to be removed next. Disconnect any plumbing connections and unscrew any mounting brackets holding the countertop in place.

Lift the countertop and sink out of the cabinets carefully.

Unscrew the side and back screws

Locate the screws attaching the base cabinet to the floor and adjacent cabinets. Use a screwdriver or drill to unscrew them, ensuring to support the weight of the cabinet as you do so.

Lift and remove the cabinet

With the help of an assistant, carefully lift the base cabinet away from the wall and floor. Lift evenly to avoid tilting or damage.


When removing base cabinets from the floor, start by disconnecting any plumbing or electrical connections.

Then, unscrew the base cabinets from the floor using a drill or screwdriver. Lift the cabinets away from the wall, taking care not to damage surrounding surfaces.

Considerations for plumbing and electrical

Before removing the base cabinets, shut off the water and electricity supply to the kitchen. This will prevent accidents and damage to plumbing or electrical connections during the removal process.

Dealing with challenges

Even with careful planning, you may encounter some challenges during the kitchen cabinet removal process. Here’s how to tackle them:

Stripped screws

If screws become stripped and difficult to remove, try using a screw extractor or drilling a new hole nearby.

Stuck cabinets

For cabinets that are stuck or difficult to move, use a pry bar and gently tap it with a hammer to loosen them. Apply lubricating oil to hinges or joints to help loosen them.

Uneven surfaces

If the floor or walls are uneven, shim the cabinets as needed to ensure they sit level and securely.

Obstructed plumbing or wiring

If you encounter plumbing or wiring behind the cabinets, carefully disconnect and move them out of the way before proceeding with removal.

Aftercare and cleanup

After successfully removing your kitchen cabinets, it’s important to complete the final steps for aftercare and cleanup:

Dispose of cabinets responsibly

Consider donating cabinets that are still in good condition or recycling them if possible. Proper disposal helps minimize waste and benefits the environment.

Clean up the workspace

Sweep or vacuum any debris from the area and wipe down surfaces to remove any dust or grime.

Prepare for installation or renovation

Organize tools and materials for your next steps, whether it’s installing new cabinets or beginning the renovation process.

By completing these tasks, you’ll wrap up your cabinet removal project efficiently and prepare for the next phase of your kitchen upgrade.


How long does it take to remove kitchen cabinets?

The time varies depending on factors like the size of your kitchen and the complexity of the cabinets. On average, it can take a few hours to a day.

Can you remove the kitchen cabinets yourself?

Yes, with the right tools and precautions, you can remove kitchen cabinets yourself.

Do you need special skills to remove kitchen cabinets?

Basic DIY skills are helpful, but following a detailed guide can help anyone successfully remove kitchen cabinets.

Can you reuse old kitchen cabinets?

It depends on their condition and your renovation plans. Consider donating them or repurposing them for storage in other areas of your home.

What should you do with leftover hardware and materials?

Store them for future projects or properly dispose of them according to local regulations.


Successfully removing your kitchen cabinet means you’re one step closer to your kitchen renovation goal.

Remember to prioritize safety and take precautions throughout the process, from accessing the situation to the final cleanup.

Also, don’t forget to get an assistant to help you make some tedious part of the process much easier for you.

With patience and determination, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your kitchen renovation goals. So don’t hesitate – dive in and get started!

Another kitchen hack you should learn – how to tenderize meat.

Thanks for reading.