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Your freshly painted interior walls look perfect now; however, they’re not going to stay that way for long (sorry, but you know that’s true). Sooner or later, they’re going to need to be cleaned. Read on to learn the best ways to clean your home’s interior walls while preserving the paint.
Get Ready, Get Set
Just as preparation is arguably one of the most important parts of a good paint job, prep is crucial to cleaning painted surfaces as well (and you thought you were done with prep!). Just the same as when you paint, you need to protect your floors. The first step is to lay old towels along the base of the walls to collect drips, dust, and other debris. Move or cover furniture.
Next, dust your walls. The easiest way to do this is with a vacuum cleaner with a hand-held attachment or dust brush. If that’s not an option for you, you can wrap a clean rag around a dry mop head and use that on the walls. Wipe the walls with a soft tack cloth, and use a foam craft brush on the baseboards and molding. Removing dust from the walls helps ensure that the paint doesn’t get scuffed or scraped in the cleaning process.
Different kinds of paint require different cleaning strategies. Make sure that you know what kind of paint is on the walls that you plan on cleaning. If you’re not sure, moisten a clean, soft rag with rubbing alcohol and wipe a small part of the wall. If any of the paint comes off on the rag, it’s latex-based paint. If there’s no color on the rag, then the paint is oil-based.
If there are crayons or ink stains on the wall, you can attack those with toothpaste, a baking soda paste, or a “magic eraser.” Do this before a more general cleaning.
Now, get ready to wash down the walls. Always do a patch test on a small, out-of-the-way section of the wall. If you follow our instructions, it’s unlikely that you’ll damage the paint, but it’s best to be sure.
If your paint features a flat, eggshell, or satin finish, it’s likely somewhat delicate. You’ll want to be very gentle; don’t use any harsh chemicals or degreasers. Use a soft sponge and a solution of mild detergent and water. Make sure that the sponge is wrung out completely. If the paint on the wall has a glossy or semi-glossy finish, you’ll still need to be careful to avoid scratches, of course, but it can handle a mild degreaser. You can use warm water and a non-abrasive cleanser on latex paint. Don’t use soaps or detergent with any colored dyes, and don’t use a colored sponge either.
Wash the walls from top to bottom, left to right (if you’re right-handed). Rinse the walls with clear, cool water and a clean sponge, and dry them thoroughly with a soft towel. You can also open the windows if it’s warm and dry out, which will help the walls dry more quickly and thoroughly.
If you notice any damage or stains that could not be removed, now’s the time to do a touch-up with paint that you’ve saved for this purpose. All the prep work has already been done, so a touch-up with a small brush or roller should be quick and easy.
Jeff Sommers is a vibrant and experienced professional, having been at the helm of ESP Painting, Inc. for 27 remarkable years. As President, he has become an esteemed leader in the Commercial & Residential Construction industry in Oregon, United States. His experience has seen him gain valuable insight and knowledge, making him an invaluable asset to ESP Painting and its customers. With a bubbly personality and upbeat attitude, Jeff always looks ahead to the future as he continues his leadership journey toward success.