How To Clean Painted Walls: Genius Ideas For DIY Painters

Knowing how to clean painted walls without removing paint will save you from the painstaking job of touchups.

How To Clean Painted Walls

Before you hit your walls with water or a cleaning product, determine what paint finish is on the walls. With stain removal, the type of paint on your walls will dictate how you should clean them.   

What Type Of Paint Is On Your Wall?

Here’s an overview of the most common interior paint finishes.

Gloss Paint And Semi Gloss Paint

Semi and high-gloss enamel paints are durable and easy to clean. 

Gloss and semi-gloss sheens are standard for baseboards, crown molding, and high-traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms. These types of paints look shiny and feel smooth to the touch.

When cleaning walls with a gloss or semi-gloss finish, use detergent or a mild degreaser with a soft brush attachment. 

Flat, Satin, And Eggshell Finishes

Eggshell and satin finishes are a step down from semi-gloss and have a slight sheen. Flat paint, on the other hand, looks matte and may feel rough to the touch. Use a mild mix of soap and water to clean these surfaces.

Avoid harsh chemicals and oil-based cleaners, especially on walls with flat paint.

Latex Paint And Oil Paint 

Interior paint is latex based. You can use mild detergent, soap, and water to clean latex paint. 

For exterior surfaces painted in oil-based paint, avoid using vinegar as your cleaner, as it can dull the surface.

Cleaning Supplies

When cleaning your walls at home, you don’t need heavy-duty chemicals. Instead, these are the best supplies:

  • Liquid hand or dish soap
  • Magic eraser
  • Water
  • Soft cloths or rags
  • Tack cloth
  • Two buckets
  • Stain remover
  • Vacuum with a dust brush attachment
  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Foam craft brush
  • Microfiber cloth

Cleaning Painted Walls

Cleaning your walls removes dust, dirt, shoe scuffs, and mud splatters and preserves the paint. The goal is to maintain a clean and fresh appearance, even in high-traffic areas.

Before cleaning, cover all light switches and electrical outlets on your wall. You don’t want to risk getting water in them. 

How to Clean Your Walls

Before cleaning your walls, use a broom or duster to knock down cobwebs.

Then, fill a bucket with warm water and add a couple of drops of dish soap. Dip a microfiber into the bucket and wring out excess water. Work in small sections, wiping the walls with your damp rag and then drying with a towel.

Make a solution of half-white distilled vinegar and half water for grease spots. Dip your rag into the solution, wipe the walls, and rinse with a wet rag.

How To Remove Stubborn Wall Stains

 Before undertaking a stain removal project, do the following:

  • Protect the floor. The best way to cover your floor space is with newspapers or a towel. You want to protect your carpet while you clean your walls.
  • Wear rubber gloves.  

Baking Soda Paste

To make this DIY paste, measure a half cup of baking soda and mix it with an ounce of water. Test the mixture on a small part of the wall where it won’t show. Let the surface dry, and then inspect it. If the baking soda paste doesn’t leave a stain or watermark, you can use it on a more prominent part of the wall.

If not, you’re better off giving the walls a fresh coat of paint or calling a cleaning professional.

When cleaning a wall marred by shoe scuffs, pencil, or crayon marks, a Magic eraser or soft sponge is all you need. 

Hydrogen Peroxide

Another option for dealing with stains is to use hydrogen peroxide. Add a little to the rag you dampened with soapy water. Hold it onto the stain for five minutes and see if it tackles the discoloration.

Rubbing Alcohol

Paper towels and rubbing alcohol are an effective DIY solution. Dampen a paper towel with rubbing alcohol and rub the stain.

How To Clean Wood Walls

 You can use a commercial cleaner on wood walls or mix up your own: Stir a cup of water with a 1/4 cup of white vinegar. Then add a little lemon oil – about a dozen drops.

Use a soft cloth to clean the wall surface, always working with the wood’s grain. If you use this homemade cleaner, you don’t have to rinse the walls because the oils will help condition the wood.

Use a little lemon oil on a soft cloth for occasional spot cleaning.     

Cleaning Brick Or Concrete Walls

Cleaning brick or concrete walls can be a pain because of the uneven texture. First, vacuum the walls with a brush attachment to remove dust and loose debris.

Next, mix a homemade cleaner of equal parts liquid dish soap and salt. 

Before you begin scrubbing, spray the wall with water. (You can use a regular spray bottle.)

Use a soft sponge or a microfiber cloth with a small amount of paste, applying it gently on your surfaces. Work in sections no larger than three feet by three feet.

Let the mixture sit on the wall for about 10 minutes, then remove it with a clean, wet cloth. After the wall dries, use the vacuum and brush attachment to suck up the remaining paste.

Extra Cleaning Tips

  • Allow fresh painted walls to dry for two weeks before cleaning.
  • Use clear soaps when possible. Colored soaps and sponges can stain light walls.
  • Wash walls on a day you can open windows to speed up the drying process.
  • Take care of scuffs and spots as soon as possible. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What Is The Best Thing To Wash Walls And Ceilings?

When washing a flat ceiling, fill a plastic spray bottle with one cup of warm water, four drops of liquid dish detergent, and two tablespoons of white vinegar. Shake the bottle so the mixture is balanced. 

Spray the dirty area first and then use a damp paint roller or microfiber mop to clean the affected area. Cover the roller with a clean white cloth dipped in water and dab the area again to remove soapy residue.

How Often Should You Clean The Walls In Your House?

In homes with allergies, you may need to clean your walls three to four times per month. If you have pets and small children, you may need to clean your walls more than that. 

Can I Use A Mop To Clean Walls?

Choose a mop with a large mop head for cleaning walls and ceilings. It allows you to cover larger areas, making the job faster and more efficient.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Professional To Clean Interior Walls?

Professional wall cleaning typically ranges between $170 and $480, though it can be as low as $80 or as high as $900. Factors such as the size of your walls and the level of buildup and stubborn spots will affect the overall cost. 

If you wanted to spend money, you could have your walls steam cleaned. If your walls are painted with oil based paints, this might be your best option. If you chose this path, you could expect to spend roughly $540 to clean 1,900 square feet of wall space.

How Much Does It Cost To Clean A Ceiling?

The national average cost for cleaning a drop ceiling is between $70 and $130, with most people paying around $95 to clean 130 square feet of space.