How to use Sugar Soap for Cleaning before Painting

Sugar Soap can help in surface preparation before painting and decorating.

Preparation is an important part of the DIY process.

Failure to prepare adequately can result in the paint failing prematurely or not adhering correctly from the outset.

We look at how sugar soap can help your next painting project.

What Is Sugar Soap?

  • It is a cleaning agent.
  • It is mild detergent cleaner that isn’t actually made of sugar.
  • The term derives from the fact that the powder in its dry form looks like sugar.
  • It is normally made with an alkali component. The majority of sugar soaps are made with sodium carbonate.
  • In its liquid form it should also contain an abrasive agent, an organic solvent

Where is It Typically Used?

Sugar soap is used for cleaning areas that have been affected by dirt and grime.

Examples are:

  • Removing grease in kitchen areas on cabinets and wall
  • Removing stains such as nicotine
  • Cleaning existing paintwork and improving adhesion for next coat on surfaces
  • Used as a general household cleaner

Is there a Difference Between Powder and Liquid form?


The Liquid form is ready mixed to add to water or alternatively you can purchase in a ready mixed spray version and you are able to spray straight from the bottle.

Ideal if you are in a rush and just want to get on with the task in hand.

The Powder form need to be mixed with water.

The main advantage of this is that its cheaper to buy it this way and will provide you with larger quantities.

How do you Apply Sugar Soap?

The sugar soap needs to be mixed to the manufacturers guidelines.

It is is normally added to warm water.

It can then be applied by cloth or sponge to the surfaces affected by dirt and grime or prior to paintin.

It is important that the mixture is rinsed off with warm water afterwards as it can eat away at the surface if left for too long.

The surface can be left to dry before the next stages of sanding and painting.

Brands of Sugar Soap

Further Reading

Paint Preparation

Best Gloss Paints

The Best Emulsion Paints