How to Clean Walls to Remove Scuffs and Stains

Keep painted walls looking fresh with preventive maintenance and these simple cleaning methods.

You frequently mop your floors and vacuum your rugs, but when was the last time you cleaned the walls? Considering how much we lean against and touch them on a daily basis, cleaning painted walls is just as important as cleaning other household surfaces. Plus, over time, painted walls can accumulate stains, marks, shoe scuffs, and dust that give the surface a dull, dirty appearance. Marine Paint

How to Clean Walls to Remove Scuffs and Stains

To preserve that freshly painted look, plan to wipe down your walls regularly. However, walls with different paint types and finishes require special care when scrubbing. Before you add this chore to your whole-house cleaning schedule, read our tips to learn how to clean walls without removing paint.

The first thing you should consider when washing painted walls is the finish. Whether the finish is glossy or flat will determine how scrubbing will affect the look of the wall.

If needed, reference our handy guide to paint finishes to determine your home's wall type before cleaning painted walls.

Duller paint finishes, including flat, satin, and eggshell finishes, are less durable when it comes to cleaning. Do not use harsh chemicals or degreasers when cleaning flat painted walls. When washing with a sponge, be sure not to scrub too hard. The sponge should be wrung out almost completely before putting it on the walls.

Dampen sponge with warm water. Wring out until almost dry. Gently wipe walls.

Wipe walls with a dry microfiber cloth.

Because these paints are highly durable, they're most commonly used in high-traffic areas like the kitchen and bathroom. It's OK to use a mild degreaser on glossy kitchen backsplashes or vanity doors. Although glossy and semigloss paint is durable, it will still scratch, so always use a soft sponge when cleaning walls.

Add a drop of dish soap to a bowl of warm water. Mix together.

Dampen the sponge in the mixture and wring it out almost completely. Gently wipe walls.

Wipe walls with a dry microfiber cloth.

To clean walls with latex paint, use warm water and a nonabrasive all-purpose cleaner.

Dip a clean sponge in the mixture, then wring it dry. Gently rub the wall. Pay special attention to areas that get touched often, such as around doorknobs and light switches. Rinse with a second sponge and clear water.

Take care not to wet areas around outlets, light switches, telephone jacks, and other electrical connections. If scrubbing those spots is necessary, turn off electricity at the circuit breaker box.

Wipe walls with a dry microfiber cloth.

For stubborn spots, such as fingerprints, newspaper smudges, or scuffs, make a paste of baking soda and water and rub the area with a nonabrasive pad.

If the cleaner (or white vinegar and water) doesn't remove the grime or stain on painted woodwork, wipe the woodwork with a rag dampened with rubbing alcohol.

Not all wall stains come out easily. You might need more than a little water to remedy the situation. This DIY all-purpose cleaner can be used for oil-based painted walls. Adjust the recipe as needed for the size of your wall or stain.

Stir 1 tsp. of liquid dish soap into a quart of warm water. Add 1/4 tsp of white vinegar.

Apply the mixture to a sponge or microfiber cloth; wring out until only slightly damp. Gently wipe walls. For tough stains on painted walls, let the solution sit on the stain for 10 minutes before blotting. To prevent color from transferring from your towel to your walls, use a white lint-free rag or microfiber cloth.

Texture-painted walls, such as those with a troweled finish, can be dust catchers and might require deeper cleaning. Add 1 ounce of borax to each pint of water to clean the wall.

Wipe walls with a dry microfiber cloth.

To clean wall stains, you'll want to act promptly. The sooner you can wash the stain, the better chance you have of removing it. Luckily, you likely have the best product to clean walls already in your pantry.

Mix a few tablespoons of baking soda with warm water until a paste forms.

Gently work the formula into the wall stain. Wipe away any residue with a clean, damp cloth. The gentle abrasive works especially well on grease wall stains.

Wipe walls with a dry microfiber cloth.

Maintain a freshly painted look on your walls by keeping them free of dust and spots. Practicing preventive maintenance means less time spent scrubbing walls later.

To help keep walls clean, vacuum painted walls with a soft brush attachment. Then wipe them down with a cloth-covered broom or mop (spray with a dusting agent for best results), or use an electrostatic dusting wipe. Wipe away fingerprints and other marks like sticker residue soon after they appear. Avoid using an excessive amount of water when cleaning painted walls to prevent drips.

Skip the steam when it comes to cleaning water-based painted walls. Heat can cause latex paint to crack or peel. If you decide to clean walls with steam, first test in an inconspicuous spot and don't linger on one area to avoid removing any paint along with dirt and stains.

You should dust, vacuum, and wipe down your walls before you paint to eliminate any unseen dust, grime, or cobwebs. A clean surface will result in the best paint job.

Plan on cleaning all your walls once a year. Spot clean as needed when you see marks or scuffs. For moisture prone areas, like bathrooms or kitchens, more frequent cleaning may be needed to prevent mold and mildew.

Start by dusting with a microfiber cloth or dust mop. First, wipe down using a sponge with water and dish soap. Immediately after wiping down, dry with a microfiber cloth to remove any damp spots that might damage the wallpaper. The exception is grasscloth or other natural fiber wall coverings; don't use water to clean them, just dust them.

How to Clean Walls to Remove Scuffs and Stains

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