How to Clean Painted Walls

Determine what Type of Paint is on the Walls before Attempting to Clean Them

By Mark J. Donovan

Do you have walls that have dirt, grease or scuff marks on them and want to know how best to clean them? If so, read on, but first figure out what type of paint is on the walls.

For example, if you use an abrasive cleaner on latex eggshell or flat finish painted walls the surface will fade in appearance relative to the rest of the painted wall surface. In some cases the paint may actually rub off the wall. Glossy, or semi-glossy enamel paints, on the other hand, hold up well to washing.

Cleaning painted walls can be a pain in the neck, but it sure is a lot easier to do than to have to repaint the walls altogether.

Before actually cleaning the painted walls start off by vacuuming them or wiping the painted wall surfaces down lightly with a dust rag to get any dust that may be adhering to them.

After determining what type of paint is on the walls use the gentlest cleaning product you can to remove any smudges or stains from them. For example, water and a cellulose sponge may be all that is required to remove simple dirt smudges from the painted walls. If water and sponge prove to be insufficient, then kick it up a notch with a mixture of mild detergent soap and some warm water, again using the sponge.

Note that when using a sponge, make gentle circular motions with the sponge to avoid damaging the painted wall surface.

Also, make sure to wring out the sponge after dipping it in the water/detergent mixture so that you avoid drips on the floor and runs down the painted wall surface.

After cleaning the painted wall surface with the water/detergent mixture make sure to follow up and wipe the wall surface with clean warm water and a dry cloth.

If the warm water and detergent soap prove to still be inadequate, then ratchet it up another level with a mixture that is comprised of a gallon of warm water with a cup of ammonia, ½ cup of vinegar and a ¼ cup of baking soda.

If you simply have spot-cleaning to do, then use a soft cloth with a paste mixture of baking soda and warm water. Rub the spot lightly with the cloth and baking soda mixture and then rinse it off with clean water. Lastly wipe the wall surface down with a dry soft cloth.

How to Clean Painted Walls

For removing grease stains from painted walls, visit your local home improvement center or grocery store and pick up a commercial degreaser product that is safe to use in the home.

If the dirt smudges or grease stains still persist after attempting to clean them from the painted wall surfaces, then you’ll need to go to “plan b” and paint the walls.

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