Learn How To Clean Painted Walls Without Damaging Them

You love your cool, icy blue walls. However, the crayon masterpiece that your 3-year old just created on the wall isn’t your favourite. Between pets, kids, and house guests, your beautiful walls are bound to get dirty.

Kid painting with paints on wall

Thinking about you grabbing a tough, strong stain remover and a sponge to remove the bright red coloured pencil marks off the wall? The good thing about walls is that you can do almost whatever you fancy. You can even paint newly plastered walls. However, when it comes to cleaning them, hold your horses – not knowing the right way of cleaning walls can do more harm than good. Want to learn how to clean painted walls without damaging them? Read on!

Consider the different paint finishes

There are several ways for cleaning your walls, either off coloured pencils or even from mould. The very first thing that you need to consider when cleaning walls is their finish. The finish – glossy paint, flat paint, etc. – will determine the method of cleaning you will use for the walls.

1. Flat/Matte Finish

Paints with flat/matte finish are chalky in appearance and have no shine. They are not durable when it comes to cleaning. Therefore, you should not use harsh chemicals. Also, don’t apply excessive pressure on the walls with the sponge. If you scrub too hard, the paint will wear off.

2. Satin/Eggshell Finish 

Dull paint finishes such as satin or eggshell have a slight sheen and reflect light. They are suitable for rooms and areas with high traffic. They are slightly more durable when it comes to cleaning them. 

However, you should not use extremely harsh cleaners to wash walls. Moreover, when you are cleaning with a sponge, ensure that you are not scrubbing very hard. Wring out the sponge completely before you put it on the walls. 

3. Semi-Glossy Finish

Paints with a semi-gloss finish have a highly noticeable sheen and reflect light. They are highly durable. They are an excellent choice for bathrooms, kitchens, trims, doors, etc. You can use a strong cleaner in their case, but you need to use a soft sponge for them. 

4. High-Glossy Finish

Paints that have a high-glossy finish leave the walls with a shiny, reflective surface. They are the most durable of all and are an excellent choice for cabinets, furniture, walls, etc. You can easily clean walls with a glossy finish using a degreaser or strong detergent. However, make sure that you use a soft sponge. This is because glossy walls are prone to scratches, and a soft sponge will not damage the paint.

How to clean walls with latex paint

Want to clean your latex-painted walls? Simply follow these steps!

Baking soda and vinegar

Things that You will Need

  • All-purpose cleaner
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • 2 buckets 
  • 2 sponges
  • Baking soda

Step 1: Remove the dust

The first step is to remove the dust from the wall. Start at the top of the wall. You can use a dusting brush or a microfiber duster to get rid of all the dust, cobwebs, etc., make sure you are using a sturdy ladder or step tool when you are dusting high spots. If the walls are really dusty, you should use the vacuum cleaner along with the brush attachment for thorough cleaning.

Step 2: Create the cleaning solution

Take the bucket and fill ½ of it with water. Add four to five drops of all-purpose cleaner. Add two to three tbsp. of vinegar as well. Fill the second bucket with water as well.

Step 3: Wipe the walls

Wet the sponge in the cleaning solution you have created. Wring out the sponge completely. This is very important since not to drip water on your walls. Start from the top of the wall. Wipe off the marks and dust, working in small sections. If you start from the top, it prevents drips from falling down on areas that have been cleaned already.

Step 4: Rinse the walls

Take a clean sponge and dip it in the clean water. Press it to remove excess water, and it is dry. Wipe away any soapy water present on the wall. If there are smudges and scuffs that are not coming off easily, dip the damp sponge in a little bit of baking soda and rub the area lightly.

This works perfectly for all types of latex paint, such as flat, semi-gloss, gloss, etc.

How to clean walls with oil-based paint

Oil-based paints are tough, hard, and sturdy. Therefore, you can use a mild degreaser along with an all-purpose cleaner to remove the difficult stains. Let’s see how you can clean walls with oil-based paint using this DIY method easily.

Woman in protective gloves cleans a wall

Things that You will Need

  • Dish soap/Dish detergent
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Mild degreaser
  • Sponge
  • Bucket

Step 1: Dust the walls

Start by dusting the walls using a duster. This will ensure that the loose dirt on the walls doesn’t interfere with your cleaning process.

Step 2: Create the cleaning solution

Take a bucket and fill half of it with warm water. Add two tbsp. of vinegar along with two tbsp. of a mild cleaning product in the water.

Step 3: Wipe the wall

Dip the sponge in the mixture, squeeze it to remove excess water, and start cleaning the walls from the top. Work on small sections of the wall at a time.

Step 4: Rinse the wall

Dip the second sponge in clean water and rinse the wall. This will remove any soapy residue.

Step 5: Remove the tough stains

If there are tough stains, you can add two tbsp. of laundry borax to the mixture you created. You can use a melamine sponge for glossy, oil-painted walls.

Extra tips on cleaning your walls

Wondering how often should you clean your walls? Well, according to cleaning experts, you should clean your walls thoroughly at least twice a year. To make sure that you clean your walls properly, and don’t damage your precious paint, here are a few extra cleaning tips that will help you!

Gloved hands cleaning walls with spray

1. Spot Test the Wall

The ingredients that we have recommended are safe and gentle. However, it is always a good idea to spot test the wall. Before you start cleaning the entire wall, you need to spot test it on an inconspicuous area. This is important because not all paints can handle the cleaning. If you clean walls with such paint, it is very likely that you leave an ugly, permanent wet mark

Have some baby wipes lying around your home? They work great for cleaning messes on the wall. However, again, you should spot test before moving into a larger section of the wall.

2. Don’t Over-Soap the Wall

You should never over-soap the wall. A layer of soapy residue will form over your wall, which will actually retain grime and dirt, causing the walls to get dirtier.

3. Use Warm Water

It is a good idea to use lukewarm water when you are cleaning your walls. Warm water works great when it comes to removing difficult stains as compared to cold water that doesn’t dissolve the dust quite well.

4. Make Sure You are Cleaning Safely

Grime and dust usually build up around electrical switches, outlets, thermostats, etc. You have to clean these surfaces as well but with immense care. You shouldn’t get these areas wet. If the light switches are very dirty, make sure you turn off the circuit breaker before you clean them.

After you are done cleaning, let an hour or two passes before you use the switches to ensure they are completely dry. Open the doors and windows to ventilate the room. 

Even though the ingredients mentioned above are safe, it doesn’t hurt to be extra-cautious, right? Make sure you are wearing rubber gloves to prevent any irritation and cover your floors to keep them from getting dirty.

Shoe mark on the wall

5. Remove the Stains after Cleaning the Walls

It is tempting to remove the stains first and then clean your wall. However, this is not a good approach. We suggest that you clean the entire wall first and then work on the stain. This will ensure that several spots are automatically removed when you were cleaning the whole wall.

The stubborn stains that are still there would also be slightly dulled due to the cleaning you just did. For hard and stubborn stains such as shoe marks, grease, crayons, etc., make a paste with water and baking soda

With the help of a sponge, gently rub this mixture on the stain in a circular motion. If there are red wine or fruit stains on the wall, you should bleach the stain with hydrogen peroxide. Take a clean, damp microfiber cloth and dab a little hydrogen peroxide on it. Wipe off, and Voila! The stain is gone!

How to prevent dirty walls

Many of you might be wondering how to prevent your walls from getting dirty in the first place. It would be a lot easier than spending hours cleaning dirty walls, right? Well, there are easy ways to avoid dust and other marks.

You should schedule regular dusting. If you dust your walls once a week, you will see that they remain clean for a longer period of time because dust doesn’t get the time to turn into grime. If you have kids, be vigilant and as soon as you see a stain on the wall, clean it instead of letting it stay there for days. 

For kitchen walls, make sure that the room is ventilated when you are cooking to reduce the amount of grease and dust being deposited on your walls. scuff

Baby drawing with marker on wall at home

Whether you live in a house full of children or you live on your own, the walls are going to get dirty one way or the other. What you can do is take preventive measures to ensure that your walls remain as clean as possible.

Cleaning dirty walls are easier than it sounds, and if you follow the proper steps. Now you can make it without damaging your precious, artistic paint. 

Here’s to a clean and shiny home!

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