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How to Clean Painted Walls in Your Home

clean painted walls

So, you’ve chosen the perfect wall color. Great! But what happens when your toddler covers it with dirty fingerprints or your sister-in-law splashes red wine on it? Wouldn’t you like to keep your interior paint looking fresh? Well, like most things in life, that takes regular maintenance.

As you’re taking care of your spring cleaning, don’t neglect your painted walls. Take time to dust them or scrub out stains. Here’s how to clean them properly.

General Tips for Cleaning Painted Walls

First, a few tips. Cleaning your painted walls isn’t terribly difficult, but it can be time-consuming. Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • It really helps to know which type of paint was used. If you have semi-gloss or glossy enamel paint, you’re in luck. These types of paint are easiest to clean. If you have eggshell latex paint on the other hand, you’ll want to be careful because abrasive scrubbing can affect your paint color. Below, we give specific instructions for cleaning latex and oil-based paint.  
  • No matter what’s on your walls, you’ll want to start with dusting. You can do this with the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Sometimes, simply going over your walls this way will keep them looking clean for another year.
  • Always start with the gentlest cleaning solutions possible, and don’t use too much water! Sometimes, a quick swipe with a damp sponge will do the trick.
  • You can make homemade cleaning solutions that are much gentler and work just as well as store-bought chemicals. Try adding 1 cup ammonia, ½ cup vinegar, and ¼ cup baking soda to a gallon of warm water for general cleaning. If you have a stubborn spot, try a paste of baking soda and water gently rubbed over the stain.
  • If you’re worried about your wall color fading, test out your cleaning solution on a patch of wall that won’t show, like the area behind your sofa. If, after cleaning, your paint looks bright without any water marks, you’re in good shape!
  • Don’t forget to go over your walls with a final sweep of the sponge and fresh, clean water. You don’t want dust clinging to soapy residue on your walls. After cleaning and rinsing, dry the area with a soft cloth so you don’t leave any drips or water marks.
  • Got grease? For stains that are hard to remove, try a kitchen degreaser product. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is a pretty good bet, too.

Preventative Maintenance on Painted Walls

The best way to keep your painted walls looking fresh is by keeping dust and spots off them in the first place. This preventative maintenance can go a long way toward keeping your paint job look flawless. Here’s what to do.

First, vacuum your painted walls with a soft brush vacuum attachment. Next, use a dusting spray and a cloth-covered mop or dusting wipe to clean the walls. If you notice fingerprints or other marks, try to wipe them off right away. Just remember avoid using a lot of water on your walls.

Cleaning Tips For Walls Painted with Latex Paint

If your walls are painted with latex paint, it’s okay to use warm water and an all-purpose cleaner. You’ll want to choose a non-abrasive cleaner – nothing too harsh. Rub a damp sponge gently in a circular motion to get rid of dirt or marks.

Sometimes, you can clean your walls with just a sponge dipped in clean water and wrung dry. For more stubborn stains, try baking soda and water, white vinegar and water, or a gentle store-bought cleaner.

Be careful around light switches, outlets, or other electrical connections! And again, be sure to use a soft, dry cloth when you’re finished so you don’t leave streaks.

Cleaning Tips For Walls Painted with Oil-Based Paint

For walls painted with oil-based paint, wash them in the same way, but avoid using an all-purpose cleaner! Chemicals can fade or mar the color on your walls. Instead, try this detergent solution:

  • Stir 1 teaspoon of liquid dish detergent into a quart of warm water.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar.
  • Let solution sit on stain for 10 minutes before blotting.

Do you have texture-painted walls? If so, you might need to do a deeper cleaning. If you add an ounce of Borax to each pint of water you use, that should do the trick.

Rely on SNL Painting Inc. to Give You a Fresh New Look

If these tips just aren’t working for you, it may be time to put a new coat of color on your walls. The professionals at SNL can give you an updated shade – even a new textured look! We’re happy to give you a free estimate. Just give us a call!

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