I am going to paint 22 year old cabinets that are coated in grease and nicotine. What do I clean them with and what other steps do I need to do. I want to do this right and have read conflicting directions. Any help appreciated.
Take the doors off, and take the hardware off. Mark doors so you can put them back in the same spot.
Clean them thoroughly with warm soapy water (use Dawn or other grease-cutting soap). Rinse with clean water, and dry them.
Wipe them down with mineral spirits to get anything that soap didn't remove.
Lightly sand them smooth, prime with a heavy duty primer meant for cabinets (I think it's called "gripper?)
Then paint with a good gloss or semi-gloss enamel.
This a link to Michael's (known as brushworks here on GW) step-by-step cabinet painting process.
Here is a link that might be useful: Brushworks' Cabinet Painting How-To