What Kind of Paint and Primer Is Best for Bathroom Cabinets?

Bathroom cabinets can become worn, outdated, and dirty over time, so one way to give them a quick and affordable refresh is to paint them. So what is the best kind of paint and primer to use for bathroom cabinets?

For painting bathroom cabinets, paint that is mold and mildew-resistant is best. This will help protect the cabinets from moisture and humidity. A primer designed for bathrooms is also recommended. These primers help ensure the paint adheres properly and provides extra protection against moisture damage.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The 6 factors to consider when choosing paint for bathroom cabinets
  • What type of paint to use
  • What paint finish is best
  • My top picks for the best paint and primer for bathroom cabinets

The 6 Factors to Consider When Choosing Paint for Bathroom Cabinets

1. Mold and Mildew Protection

The main factor to consider when choosing paint for bathroom cabinets is that the paint has mold and mildew protection.

Bathroom cabinets are exposed to a lot of moisture, so your paint must be designed specifically for this environment. Mold and mildew-resistant paints will help protect your cabinets from damage caused by these potentially harmful agents.

2. Easy Cleaning

Another factor to consider is that the paint should be easy to clean. Bathroom cabinets tend to collect a lot of grime and dirt, so you must select paint that can easily be wiped down.

Look for paint with antimicrobial properties and a glossy finish that will make it easier to wipe away any messes.

3. Surface Type

Bathroom cabinets vary in material, each requiring a specific type of paint. For instance, melamine, plastic, and laminate cabinets need to be painted with specialty paint designed for non-porous surfaces. Wooden cabinets, however, are compatible with most types of paint.

4. Paint Finish

Bathroom cabinets must endure harsh environments, including moisture, condensation, and temperature swings. Therefore, you must choose a paint finish that can withstand these conditions.

Paint finish options range from matte to semi-gloss, offering unique benefits. Generally, the higher the gloss, the more resistant it is to water damage.

5. Color

The color of your cabinet paint should be chosen to complement the color scheme of your bathroom. If your bathroom is bright and airy, consider choosing light-colored paint to add more depth. Dark-colored paint can make a small bathroom appear too enclosed.

6. Quality of Paint

Lastly, you should invest in high-quality paint if you want your bathroom cabinets to last. Cheaper paints may seem like a bargain, but they won’t have the same durability or resistance to moisture as high-quality paints. Spend a little extra on a good brand, and you won’t regret it in the long run.

What Type of Paint Is Best?

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a fast-drying, water-soluble paint made from pigments suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion. It’s known for its versatility and can be used on various surfaces, offering a wide range of colors and finishes.


  • Fast Drying: Dries quickly, allowing you to apply multiple coats quickly.
  • Water-resistant: Once dry, acrylic paint is water-resistant, making it suitable for humid environments like bathrooms.
  • Versatility: It can be used on various surfaces, including wood and previously painted surfaces.
  • Low VOCs: It typically has fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than oil-based paints.
  • Easy Clean-up: It can be cleaned up with soap and water.


  • Less Durable: While acrylic paint is generally durable, it may not hold up as well as oil-based paints in high-traffic areas.
  • Multiple Coats Required: Often requires multiple coats for full coverage.
  • Color Fading: Over time, the colors of acrylic paint can fade, especially when exposed to sunlight.
  • Not Self-leveling: It does not level out like some other types of paint, which can lead to visible brush strokes.

Latex Paint

Latex paint is a water-based paint made of pigments, binders, and water-based liquids. It’s durable, non-toxic, and comes in different finishes, making it ideal for both outdoor and indoor projects.


  • Quick Drying: Dries faster than oil-based paints.
  • Easy Clean-up: Brushes and spills can be cleaned with soap and water.
  • Low VOCs: Lower volatile organic compounds (VOCs) make it safer for indoor use.
  • Non-yellowing: Unlike oil-based paint, latex doesn’t yellow over time.
  • Mild Odor: Has a less intense smell compared to oil-based paints.


  • Durability: May not resist scratches or abrasions as well as oil-based paint.
  • Multiple Coats: Might require more coats for complete coverage.

Alkyd Paint

Alkyd paint is a type of paint that combines the durability and professional finish of oil-based paint with the easy clean-up of water-based paint.


  • Durability: It cures hard, providing a durable finish suitable for high-traffic areas.
  • Self-leveling: This type of paint tends to level out as it dries, reducing visible brush strokes.
  • Easy Clean-up: Unlike traditional oil-based paints, water-based alkyd paint can be cleaned with soap and water.
  • No Need for Top Coat: Waterborne alkyd paints don’t typically require a clear topcoat for durability.


  • Drying Time: While quicker to dry than oil-based paints, alkyd paint takes longer to dry than water-based paints.
  • Cost: It can be more expensive than other types of paint.

What Paint Finish Is Best?

Selecting the right paint finish for bathroom cabinets is critical, as this is a high-moisture area that requires protection from water damage.

Various types of paint finishes are available on the market, each with unique features and benefits. However, not all paint finishes are suitable for use in bathrooms.

After careful consideration of the available options, it is clear that a gloss paint finish is the best candidate for bathroom cabinets.

Gloss paint is well-known for its durability, providing much-needed protection from moisture damage. This type of finish is exceptionally resilient and can withstand frequent cleaning and scrubbing without showing signs of wear and tear.

Furthermore, gloss paint is highly reflective, creating a shine unmatched by any other type of finish. However, this feature can be a deal-breaker for some individuals, especially those who want to create a sleek and modern matte appearance for their bathroom cabinets.

Semi-gloss paint is another option to consider for bathroom cabinets. This finish has less shine than gloss; however, it still offers ample durability and moisture resistance.

This type of finish is ideal for those who want a less glossy appearance for their cabinets without compromising too much in the way of protection.

A satin paint finish has a subtle sheen and is less durable than semi-gloss and gloss. It provides a lower level of protection from moisture damage, making it less ideal for use in bathrooms. However, it is a good choice for those who prefer a less shiny appearance on their cabinets.

Finally, while traditional eggshell finishes might not be an option for bathroom cabinets, specially formulated ones from reputable brands can compete with the durability and protection of gloss finishes.

They offer the same level of protection and durability as gloss without the overly shiny appearance. This makes them a viable option for those who prefer a more subtle and natural look for their bathroom cabinets.

The Best Paint and Primer for Bathroom Cabinets

Best Brush-on Paint

Zinsser Perma-White Mold & Mildew-Proof Interior Paint is the perfect solution for anyone looking to enhance and protect their bathroom cabinets.

This high-performance, low-odor coating is formulated to withstand moisture and prevent the growth of mold and mildew on the paint film.

With a guaranteed 5-year mold and mildew-proof film, you can be confident that your bathroom cabinets will stay clean and protected for years.

This revolutionary paint is not only mold and mildew-resistant but also produces a tough, durable, and washable finish that resists dirt pickup.

This makes it ideal for high-moisture areas such as bathrooms, where regular cleaning is essential. No need to worry about water damage or staining.

Once applied, this paint produces a resilient finish that can withstand the challenges of a bathroom environment.

Self-priming, Zinsser Perma-White sticks to surfaces without sanding, making it a convenient and time-saving option for any DIY project.

The water-based, low-odor formula is safe for use in enclosed spaces, and with a range of color options available, including off-white, pastel, and medium colors, you can easily match your bathroom decor.

Best Spray Paint

When it comes to bathroom cabinets, you need spray paint that can meet the unique demands of this environment.

Humidity, moisture, and frequent use can all take a toll on the finish of your cabinets, leaving them looking faded and worn. Fortunately, Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Protective Enamel is the perfect solution.

This ultra-durable coating is designed to withstand the harsh conditions of bathroom environments, ensuring that your cabinets look great for years to come.

In addition to its impressive durability, this paint is also incredibly versatile. It can be used on various surfaces, including metal, wood, ceramic, and more.

Whether you’re looking to refinish your bathroom vanity or give your medicine cabinet a fresh look, this spray paint covers you.

One of the standout features of Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Protective Enamel spray paint is its any-angle spray system.

This allows you to spray at any angle, making it easy to reach those hard-to-reach areas and ensuring that you can get an even coat of paint every time. The comfort spray tip also helps eliminate finger fatigue, making it comfortable for larger projects.

Best Primer

Zinsser Cover Stain Primer Sealer is ideal for bathroom cabinets. As an all-around primer, sealer, and bond coat, it excels at covering all kinds of stains on virtually any surface while providing unbeatable performance on interior and exterior spaces.

A major benefit is that it sticks to all surfaces without sanding, saving time and effort during priming. Furthermore, it can seal water, smoke, and nicotine stains, providing a top-notch finish that enhances the aesthetics of bathroom cabinets.

This product is particularly well-suited to block cedar and redwood bleed, perfect for ensuring that the natural wood color of bathroom cabinets is retained and protected.

This unique formulation does not crack or peel, providing excellent durability and compatibility with all decorative topcoats.

Moreover, Zinsser Cover Stain Primer Sealer takes just 35 minutes to dry, setting it apart from similar products on the market.

Its quick-drying feature allows new wood trims on bathroom cabinets to be primed, sanded, and top-coated within the same day, enabling bathroom renovations to be completed on time.

Once dry, it remains mold and mildew resistant, providing a durable finish resistant to cracking, peeling, and other forms of wear and tear.

Joshua Milton

Joshua Milton is a passionate DIY and home improvement enthusiast. With his expertise in various projects, he provides practical tips, step-by-step guides, and creative ideas for transforming your living space.

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