How to Clean Painted Walls

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You’ve invested time and money into your newly painted walls, and want to keep them looking pristine for as long as possible. Cleaning dust and dirt buildup can take a lot of time and effort, but some preventative maintenance will save you time and headaches in the future. Scrubbing the walls in your home usually doesn’t rank high on the cleaning priority list, but taking a few hours once or twice a year can make a huge difference in the look of your walls. Different types of paint and styles of painting need different care, so be sure to consider your paint type before scrubbing away. It is important to take several things into consideration when cleaning your walls, so let’s take a closer look at the proper way to clean walls with different types of paint on them.

Prep Work

First, you’ll want to do some prep work on your walls. Over time dust builds up on them, so wiping them down with a dust rag, or vacuuming them with a handheld brush attachment is a good place to start. This way, when you begin wiping them down, you aren’t just moving the dust and dirt around.

Cleaning Latex-based Painted Walls

Walls painted with a latex paint can be washed with a mixture of water and all purpose cleaner. Mix a solution of part water and part cleaner in a bucket and gently scrub the walls with a sponge that has been dipped in the solution, and then ringed so that it is no longer dripping with the solution.

Cleaning Oil-based Painted Walls

For walls with oil based paint, replace the water/cleaner mixture with a vinegar solution. This solution should be applied to the walls with a ringed out sponge, just like with latex based painted walls. For more stubborn stains and spots, or for walls with texture, use borax dissolved in water as your cleaning solution.

Textured Walls and Specialty Paints

Some walls have intentionally been painted with texture, and these walls need a little extra care when being cleaned. As with latex-based and oil-based painted walls, prep work is an important step in cleaning these walls. Because of the textured surface this painting style is prone to collecting dust, so make sure to gently go over the walls with a hand held brush attachment on your vacuum. Once the prep work is done, gently clean the walls with a ringed out sponge that has been soaked in a water/borax solution. If you have stubborn stains or spots, gently scrub the area, being careful to not mess up the texture of the wall.

While scrubbing your walls isn’t necessarily a fun or exciting activity, it can keep your home looking clean and fresh for years to come. Rather than waiting until dirt has a chance to build up on your walls, consider setting a regular wall cleaning schedule, such as every spring and every fall. Cleaning your walls regularly will make the job easier for you, and keep your paint looking as bright as the day you applied it to the walls.


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