9 Tips on Keeping Your Interior Walls Clean
Cleaning your walls isn't always straight-forward. What type of cleaning utensil do you use? Wash cloth, scrub brush, melamine sponge (Magic Eraser)? What type of cleaning solution?
Well, turns out, that answer depends on what type of wall you're cleaning and what type of paint may be on it.
Flat, Satin, & Eggshell Paint
These paint finishes are less durable than so they're typically used on window trim, doors, & baseboards. You shouldn't use any harsh chemicals or degreasers on these finishes. Use a simple sponge dampened with a mild cleaning solution, but be careful not to press to hard, as you could remove some of the paint.
Gloss and Semi-Gloss
These finishes are much more durable than the Flat, Satin, & Eggshell finishes mentioned above. As such, they're usually in high-traffic areas like bathrooms and kitchens. You can use a mild degreaser on glossy walls, so long as you don't scrub too hard. Even though they're a tougher finish, you still want to use a soft sponge to prevent scratching your walls.
Wash Latex-painted walls with a soft sponge and a safe, all-purpose cleaning solution like water, dish soap, and distilled white vinegar. Simply wet your sponge, wring it dry, and wash your wall. The vinegar smell will go away once dry, but you can hasten it by wiping the wall down with a damp cloth afterwards.
You'll want to stay away from using vinegar on oil-based paint as the acid in the vinegar could dull/damage the paint. Use a mixture of water, baking soda, & dish soap. Keep your sponge a little damp as you scrub the dirt and grime away.
While you're cleaning around outlets and light switches, we recommend turning off the electrical breaker to make sure you don't cause an electrical short in case water accidentally gets in there. To keep your floors dry, you could place towels along the bottom of the wall portion that you're working on.
Walls can get pretty dusty and you don't want to create a huge mess before adding a cleaning solution to them. To prevent this from happening, dust off your walls before you clean them with your sponge and solution. We've found that a broom works best for covering large areas. For smaller areas and corners, you can use an unused paintbrush or a microfiber cloth. For really dusty walls, we recommend giving it a once over with your vacuum cleaner and a brush attachment.
Test Your Cleaning Solution
Even though the cleaning solutions that we've recommended above and mild and safe, you'll want to perform a spot-test, especially on flat or matte finishes. If the cleaning solution is too harsh for your wall, the test spot could show some light-colored streaks and stains.
Use the Right Technique
It's important to use the right techniques when cleaning painted walls. We recommend having two buckets, some soft sponges, and some dry microfiber cloths. One bucket will have your cleaning solution, while the other will have warm water for rinsing your cleaning sponge. From there, start at the top of your wall and move down using small circular motions. As you wash an area, use your second sponge from the warm water bucket to remove any residue and cleaning solution left behind. Then, you can go behind that and dry the wall off with one of your microfiber cloths.
If you have some stubborn stains, it's best to give them a once-over as you're cleaning the rest of the wall. This gives your cleaning solution some time work. After you're done with the wall, you can go back and spot-treat them. For stubborn stains like crayons, shoe scuffs, and grease, you can make a paste with baking soda and water. Gently rub the paste onto the stain using a non-abrasive pad or sponge and work in a circular motion. For fruit drinks and red wine, hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent that’s typically safe for painted finishes. Use a clean, damp cloth and dab a small amount of hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain. Wait about five minutes. Next, wipe the stained area with a damp cloth.