There’s not much that makes a house look fresher and cleaner than having newly painted walls. However, over time, those same walls can get dusty, dirty, and grimy. When that happens, it’s time to clean those walls. Here are some tips and suggestions from your local San Diego house painters.
Start by Dusting
Yes, walls get dusty. While there’s no need to dust your walls as frequently as you dust your furniture or sweep your floors, your walls do need an occasional dusting. A few times per year should be more than enough. Although if your walls have heavy texture or if you live an especially dry and dusty area, you may want to do it more often.
The easiest way to dust your walls is to wrap a dusting cloth around a dry mop head. Electrostatic dusting wipes, like Swiffer dry cloths or microfiber cloths work great for this. If you have a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment, you could use that as well. Start at the top and work your way down to the floor.
Washing Your Walls
Actually washing your walls is going to take a bit more time and materials than dusting, but before you get started, you need to determine the type of paint and the finish on your walls. The type of paint will be either latex or oil-based and the finish can be anything from flat to high-gloss.
For walls with latex paint and a flat, satin, or eggshell finish, you want to use only a very mild cleaning solution. A mixture of warm water and clear dishwashing liquid or hand soap often does the trick, but you can also use a water-based all-purpose cleaning solution. Use a soft, damp (not wet) rag or non-abrasive sponge to apply the cleaning solution, and then wipe down again with a separate damp rag or sponge, moistened with water only. If the walls have a gloss or semi-gloss finish, you can add a small amount of vinegar (about a ¼ teaspoon for every quart of water) to the cleaning solution.
Oil-based paint can handle a little bit stronger of a cleaning solution. You can substitute ammonia or borax for the vinegar in the above-mentioned cleaning mixture. Just be sure to wear gloves if you do!
As you wash, use gentle, circular strokes, so as to not scratch or remove any of the paint. Rinse your rag or sponge often. Otherwise, you’ll just be spreading the dirt around and not actually getting your walls clean.
Use the least amount of soap or cleaning solution necessary to do the job. You can always use more, if needed. Make sure the wall is completely dry before rehanging anything on it.
What About Stubborn Stains?
Some stains may need a bit more than a gentle cleaning solution. In those cases, you can try making a paste out of baking soda and water. Apply it to the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Then wipe it off carefully (since baking soda is abrasive). If that doesn’t work, you can try using a small amount of hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol. Your last resort could be a product like a magic eraser. These take off just about anything, but they also remove some of the paint, so use with caution.
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