Many people reach out to me about their projects and most times the problems really began before they started painting. They tell me they wiped their piece off with a wet cloth, or windex (ammonia doesn't play well with anything). I have heard that others use vinegar, some use simple green and others use dawn detergent. Some are honest and say that they thought it was pretty clean so it wasn't cleaned at all.
One of the most important things you can do for your project is to clean it well - Dixie Belle White Lightning is a MUST, in my opinion! It is a TSP based cleaner that also deglosses as well. Simply dissolve 2 heaping tablespoons in a gallon of warm water . After it dissolves, then pour in a spray bottle and clean. I like to use a heavy duty spray bottle that is resistant to chemicals like these. The ones I use even come with a funnel to make pouring up your White Lightning easier.
I like to use scrubby sponges when I clean. They are very durable and clean your pieces so well (and protect your nails in the process). After you clean your piece, have another spray bottle with water to rinse your piece with. (Be sure your bottles are labeled.)
Then you need to dry your project off well. It is best to use something that is lint free. Most of the time I use shop towels , because in my opinion, they are the best option.
Also, remember, if you are working on kitchen cabinets, please please please clean them really, really well!