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How To Distress Painted Furniture Using Clorox Wipes

Did you know you can use Clorox Wipes to distress paint? It works. I tried the process on the buffet I’m sharing today. I’ve used baby wipes, Simple Green, and plain old water to wet distress painted furniture. I love that there is no mess but sometimes it takes a bit of elbow grease to remove the paint, depending on how long the paint has cured.


vintage wood furniture bought at auction ready for makeovers (14)
Furniture before paint makeover

This is the buffet I bought at a local online auction a couple of weeks ago. The price was $75 plus a 10% buyer’s premium. It is a nice solid wood piece and those are hard to come by these days.

Today is Furniture Fixer Upper Day and you know what that means. My talented friends have projects today too. On that note, I would like to say a few words about my fellow tour mates. I’m amazed every month when I take a look at their projects.

Jen wrote a popular furniture painting book a couple of years ago….Amazing Furniture Makeovers…..and her furniture projects are amazing. Denise is always using bold colors, sometimes adding Woodubend Trim and Dixie Belle Transfers. And Christy has a passion for white, gray, and light blue paint along with Redesign by Prima Graphic Transfers….and decoupaged drawers!

I, on the other hand, haven’t used any of those transfers or wood appliques or written a book. I need to get out of my comfort zone, except for the book thing because I hate to write! Anyway, enough of my rambling. I just wanted to praise my friends a little bit. On to the project.

remove drawers and drawer pulls when painting furniture (2)

I cleaned it up, removed all of the drawer pulls, and used FrogTape in areas I didn’t want to be painted. I covered the holes where the drawer pulls were on the cabinet doors but later decided to paint the inside of the doors.

how to prepare furniture drawers for painting (2)

I always try to cover the screw holes on the inside of the drawers so paint doesn’t leak through. The drawers are a mess on this piece and I plan to cover them with paper or something. Once that is done I will add photos to this post or write another post showing the process.

Behr Paint Scuff Defense custom color mix from Home Depot

I like the color of the paint I used on the whitewashed side table last week so I took a sample of the color on a paint stick to Home Depot. I had the custom color mixed in BEHR ULTRA® SCUFF DEFENSE™ INTERIOR EXTRA DURABLE FLAT   paint.

custom mix paint color Behr Ultra Scuff Defense for Petticoat Junktion
custom mix paint color Behr Ultra Scuff Defense for Petticoat Junktion

The paint is described as “Flat Paint That’s Too Tough To Scuff”. I’m not sure about the scuffing but I can tell you it’s tough. I found out the hard way when distressing the paint. Some of you have asked for the color so I added the photo above with the custom mix color formula from Home Depot. The color is off-white which tends to a grayish-brown tint. I know….that’s the best I can describe it. Be aware that colors look different on different computers and devices.

one coat of Behr Scuff Defense paint on furniture

The drawer above has one coat of paint on the drawer front. The paint covers very well and this was a light-colored paint over dark wood. I applied a second coat for good solid coverage.

how to use Clorox wipes to distress painted furniture

Now comes the fun part….distressing the paint. I thought I would try the Clorox Wipes to distress the paint this time. I’ve used baby wipes in the past and they work great. The areas I distressed with the Clorox Wipes were the raised areas on the drawers and the raised areas on the front of the buffet body.

wipe clorox wipes over paint to distress the furniture

The process is a simple as rubbing the wipe along the areas you want to distress. I ran the wipe along the raised detail on the drawer a couple of times just wetting the paint. This softens the paint and makes it easier to remove. If the paint has been cured for a while it is a bit tough to remove.

It took me a couple of days to paint the buffet. I painted different parts of the buffet each day. The paint that had been cured for a couple of days took some scrubbing to remove with the wipes. The paint on the parts of the buffet that had been painted less than a day was much easier to remove…..or distress. Tip: When using the wipes if they are more than wet, meaning soaked in a liquid that might be in the bottom of the container, wring them out before using so the liquid doesn’t drip on areas you don’t want distressed.

Rustoleum Spray paint color Driftwood for painting furniture pulls

Next up the drawer pulls. This piece had all the original pulls which is awesome. I had this Rust-Oleum Spray Paint Driftwood color and I thought the color would be the perfect contrast to the furniture paint color.

spray paint drawer pulls

The Driftwood color is really pretty and would be okay with the light color paint but not with the original stained furniture finish. The furniture finish is too brownish and the Driftwood has a lot of gray to it.

trying colors of spray paint

Moving on to spray paint I have in my stash. I tried two different metallic paint colors, one light, and one dark. No go for either.

Rustoleum Spray Paint color Espresso

I headed out to get more spray paint which I don’t like to do. I try to use paint I have on hand. I came home with two colors and decided on the Expresso Rust-Oleum Spray Paint color. It is pretty and shiny but after putting one pull on the drawer…..it was a no-go again.

painted drawer pulls with distressed paint

Moving on to plan 3 or is it 4? I painted the drawer pulls the same color as the buffet then distressed the paint using the Clorox wipes. A winner finally.

how to paint and distress furniture to make it look old


As I’ve mentioned numerous times in the past sometimes you have to change plans and that’s okay. Don’t be afraid to give something a try. It’s only painted and can be painted over…..and over.

how to paint old furniture


This project was fun and I love how it turned out. I may have forgotten to tell you the number one reason to wet distress paint instead of sanding with a sander. The reason is that the original stained finish is saved instead of being rudely sanded away. Sanding with sandpaper usually uncovers the raw wood.

Read my tips and tricks for distressing furniture here… What You Should Know About Distressing Painted Furniture And Home Decor

how to distress paint with Clorox wipes


Even though it was a lot of extra work I’m glad I kept working on the drawer pull colors until I was happy with the look. What do you think? Do you like the color of the pulls?

how to paint furniture hardware


Leave a quick note of you have time before heading off on the tour. I read all of your comments and take your opinions and suggestions to heart. To take the tour just click the text links below the “before” makeovers photo collage….

Furniture Fixer Upper Projects to paint

Furniture Fixer Upper Tour

Painted Desk With Flower Child Transfer – Confessions of a Serial DIY’er
Cactus Painted Side Tables – Salvaged Inspirations
Chalk Painted Soothing Blue Cabinet – Girl In The Garage
Coastal Style Furniture Makeover – Petticoat Junktion (you are here)

how to paint furniture to look old before and after

As always, thanks for being here, Kathy

Kathy Owen founder of Petticoat Junktion
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Author: Kathy Owen
Kathy Owen is the founder of the home decor blog Petticoat Junktion where she shares tutorials on painting furniture and upcycling thrifty finds into unique home décor. Her DIY projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Kathy’s newest website is HappyHomeDIY.com

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  1. No I didn’t. You notice they are distressed and they may get distressed more without sealer but probably not. I don’t think I have every put polyurethane on painted drawer pulls. Thank you for the question.

  2. Just wondering if after you finished the final drawer pull color, looks great by the way, did you put a coat of clear polyurethane over the drawer pull to protect it from wear?

  3. Understood, Kathy, and makes sense to meet your customers’ needs/taste. It is a business, after all! Thanks so much for taking the time to explain. Best, Sandra

  4. Love the colour, haven’t tried the wet distressed technique yet, have wipes going to try it. Also love the distressed hardware!

  5. Yes, it was in good shape. I buy pieces to re-sale and to be honest it is very hard to sell a piece like this one unless it is painted. Nine times out of ten someone will buy this piece in my booth unpainted but will have contracted with the shop owner to paint it before it goes out the door. Thanks for your comment Sandra, Kathy

  6. Honestly, I thought the original piece was gorgeous and unnecessary to change. Now, if it were in bad shape or there’s something else about the finish that I don’t know, that may be something different. The final result looks great…but I worry about the loss of the original good piece. Sandra

  7. Dear Kathy?,

    I love the wet distressed finish and the color you used! I love a good gray color, neutral with color! I did like the first drawer pull color, but the one that matches looks great too! I love the differences between you and the other gal’s! You’re all inspiring!

  8. This turned out fabulous, Kathy! I like where the pulls ended up! Funny, I was debating on whether to do metallic pulls for my piece too but went with white lol! XOXO

  9. Kathy this turned out so perfectly distressed! That color is a winner, and the drawer pulls ended up just right too. Beautiful work, and thank you so much for the sweet comments! I’m so glad we’re friends. xo

  10. It was a Martha Stewart Home Decor Paint they no longer make. I will add a photo of the mix recipe to the blog post. Thanks for asking. The color has a hint of gray and brown. Not sure how to describe it but it tends more to off white with a gray caste.

  11. Love it! And I love the way the drawer pulls turned out, it was definitely worth trying out the different paints to arrive at such pretty pulls!!

  12. Love love love! Thanks for the explanation of using wipes instead of sanding. I have a stained table I want to distress and will go the wipes route now??

  13. Can you tell me what color paint you “color matched”? Looks great. I’ll keep wet distressing in mind. I want to paint an Ethan Allen bedroom set I’m tired of! Did you use any top coat? Thx.

  14. Did you put another finish over the flat paint? I have not used this particular formulation before (I do like Behr paint, though) and wasn’t sure if a top coat was necessary. Thank you for your time.

  15. We all have sani-wipes on hand these days so this is such a great idea to keep the original wood peeking through! I can also relate to plan 1,2,3,4?… sometimes it takes a few times to get it just right. Pinned.?