Degreasing: what is the purpose & best degreasers

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 12, 2022
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Degreasing, it seems like a step that you can skip, but nothing could be further from the truth.

It is an essential step for a good result, and in this article I discuss why, how and with which products.



  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Cloth
  • Ammonia, st’Marcs or B-clean
  • stirring stick

My favorite products:

Best basic degreaser: St Marc ExpressBest basic degreaser: St Marc Express
(view more images)
Best Cheap Degreaser: DastyBest Cheap Degreaser: Dasty
(view more images)

Also read: Degreasing with benzene


  • Fill a bucket half full with water
  • Take the all-purpose cleaner and fill the cap full
  • Put the cap with all-purpose cleaner in the water
  • Stir with a stirring stick
  • Put the cloth in the mixture and rub the cloth so that the cloth does not get too wet
  • Start by cleaning the object or surface
  • Is it a biodegradable all-purpose cleaner: Do not rinse
  • Use ammonia to rinse.

Everyone has heard about degreasing. Literally translated it means: get rid of fat. Then can be a surface or object. Degreasing is essential for painting work, among other things.

In addition to cleaning, you need to sand. Those two go together. Both have one thing in common: better adhesion to the substrate to the next layer. Sanding also has another function: surface enlargement. Do you want to know more about sanding? Then click here.


It doesn’t matter what kind of surface you have, you should always clean it well first. If you do not degrease and you start sanding right away, this is bad for your end result. You sand the grease into the wood, which results in a poor adhesion for the surface.

You sometimes see those transparent pits in window frames or doors, because this indicates that you have not degreased! Even new wood, so untreated you have to degrease, this way the grease does not penetrate into the wood. All surfaces made of PVC, metal, wood, iron, aluminum etc., whether treated or untreated, should always be cleaned.


One agent that is still used to this day is ammonia. You must mix this cleaning agent with cold water. The ratio is 10 liters of water with 1 liter of ammonia. Stir this thoroughly and take an antistatic cloth and dip it in the mixture. Now you can degrease. After degreasing, take a clean cloth and lukewarm water to remove the solvents.


In addition to ammonia, there is now St. Marcs. This is a means to clean the surfaces. It gives a fresh pine scent. Degreasing is now pleasant. Ammonia smells slightly. This new cleaning product is a godsend. Available at various hardware stores. After degreasing, a rinse with cold water is necessary to rinse away the soap residue.


A responsible choice is an all-purpose cleaner that is biodegradable. The product is called B-clean. B-clean has more advantages: it does not foam, the ratio with water is 1 to a hundred and you do not have to rinse it, which saves you a working step. You can increase the mixing ratio as the contamination increases. The exact ratio is stated on the packaging. The product is for sale on the internet and at wholesalers

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.