When confronted with woodwork that has been exposed to a lot of grease, cooking grease, oily substances, and “Schmootz”, You need to give the material a good cleaning before deciding to refinish.
I like Murphy’s oil soap. However, if the front of the bar is real greasy, my preference would be TSP .
The process is described in detail here: How to clean your kitchen cabinets with TSP – Weekend Craft Journal, and here: TSP – Trisodium Phosphate: The Painter’s Degreasing Choice – from House Painting info.
make sure you follow safety precautions. Use a mask, Gloves, and good rags. Be prudent, and clean a small area first before you go “all-in” so you can test the results. Make sure your windows are open and you take a breather every so often. Cleaning can be challenging.
I also use TSP when degreasing around the major grease collecting areas in the kitchen; around and behind the stove, near the stove top vent, behind the refrigerator. These places seem to get more nasty, dirty, grease buildup than anyplace else.
with a little bet of effort you will have that barfront sparkling!
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