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The Ultimate Guide on How to Clean Walls Without Damage

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how to clean walls without damaging them
Table of Content
June 5, 2024

Painted walls in your home likely make up the largest hard surface area. But just because they are vertical and covered in latex paint or some other kind of flat paint doesn't mean they don't require deep cleaning. They get covered in dust, stains, insect droppings and spider webs. The areas close to doors, light switches and furniture can develop scuff marks and tough stains over time.

Just like you clean your floor, you must also clean your walls, whether brick, stone, wallpapered or painted. Keeping interior walls clean is not a difficult task and it is something you should do regularly. Thankfully, cleaning walls is not a difficult task. You only need a few basic tools and products and you will manage walls with a different paint and finish.

How often should you clean the walls?

When you dust and remove cobwebs as part of your regular chores, you should also dust walls. Once a month is optimal, two times is even better. Address dirt and smudges surrounding light switches and doorknobs weekly. If you notice a stain or a splatter on the wall, you should clean it immediately.

When to call a professional to clean painted walls?

If you find yourself overwhelmed, it's a good idea to contact a professional cleaning company in London. Experts can deal with severe situations, such as when you walls have been covered by mould. Likewise, you can also rely on professionals for routine cleaning. Professionals know how to clean walls and have them dry completely before the end of the cleaning service.

So if you need help with wall cleaning for your home or as part of your end of tenancy and move out cleaning in London, don't hesitate to give us a call!

Before you start

You can dust all your walls with a paint finish with a microfiber cloth or a cloth-covered broom. There is a different cleaning method that works best depending on the paint job and paint type. Check the kind of painted walls you have to determine the best approach.

Oil-based paint - it is often used in areas with high moisture levels due to its durability. Oil-based painted walls tolerate frequent cleaning.

Latex paint/water-based paint - this is the most common type of wall paint. It is more durable to cracking and chipping but it doesn't tolerate cleaning with excess water.

Types of paint finishes

Matte/flat paint - it appears chalky in appearance with very little shine on its surface. You should never use harsh chemicals on this kind of finish because it doesn't hold up well to cleaning. You should also be careful not to apply excessive pressure.

Eggshell/satin paint - it has a light sheen which can reflect light. This finish is more durable, as long as you don't use abrasive cleaners on it and don't go overboard with the moisture when cleaning.

Semi-gloss - it produces a noticeable shine, which reflects light. It's great for kitchens, doors, bathrooms and trim. It holds up to moisture during cleaning. You should only spare it the harshest of chemicals.

High gloss paint - this is the most robust and durable kind of finish, ideal for high-traffic areas. To clean painted walls with this kind of finish you can use a degreaser or a detergent.

What items you will need to clean walls?

You will need to prepare with some equipment and tools to clean your painted walls. For starters, grab a bucket, a microfiber cloth and a melamine sponge. You can also use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment or a duster. Since you will be cleaning walls up in the high places of your home, you should also use a step stool or a ladder.

As for cleaning supplies, you can grab an all-purpose cleaner, some dish soap, distilled white vinegar and baking soda. Isopropyl rubbing alcohol and laundry borax are also useful to have for this task. When working with such cleaning solutions, it is always good to wear rubber gloves and check the cleaning instructions on the labels.

How to clean walls with latex paint?

First, you need to remove dust. If you have a vacuum cleaner with an extendable wand along with a dusting brush, you can use that to deal with dust and cobwebs along the high areas of the walls. If not, you can get on a ladder to reach up there.

Prepare a cleaning solution with a cup of warm water and a teaspoon of all-purpose cleaner in a bucket. You will also need a second bucket with clean water. Using that mix to wash walls by doing a circular motion is the way to go. Wring out your microfiber cloth until no water drips from it. Always start from the top and work your way towards the bottom of the wall. Rinse the damp cloth in the bucket of clean water regularly. After that you can rinse the walls. Once you are done, it is time to go over the walls a second time. The goal is to remove the soapy residue with a damp cloth.

For heavily soiled areas you need to approach with caution. Smudges and scuffs may not come off easily. Try dipping your cloth in some baking soda and gently rub the affected area. If there are scuff marks and grime buildup around doorknobs and light switches, you can use rubbing alcohol or a soapy solution to remove them.

How to clean walls with oil-based paint?

Start off by dusting the entire wall. The goal is to remove dirt so that it doesn't move around as you clean wall stains. Prepare a cleaning solution suitable for oil based paints. Mix 1 teaspoon of dishwashing soap and half a spoon of white vinegar in a bucket of warm water. Prepare a second bucket with warm water for rinsing.

Time to clean walls with the prepared solution. Dip a soft sponge or cloth in the cleaning mix, wring it out and wipe down the walls. Work from the top and gently wipe all the way to the bottom. Follow up with a sponge dipped in the plain water. You can place a few cloths at the base of the wall to catch excess water.

You then need to deal with any water stains and other spots. You can improve your cleaning solutions by adding 2 tablespoons of laundry borax. You will then use one of your soft sponges or microfiber cloths to remove stubborn stains by gently scrubbing the affected area. If damaging paint is a concern, make sure to use only a soft clean sponge.

How to keep your walls clean for longer?

If you wish to stretch the time between cleaning, make sure you don't smoke inside your home. When you cook, make sure you ventillate the room. Soot from combustion can coat the walls, so make sure you light incense and candles away from them.

If you notice any smudges, it is best to prepare a cleaning solution and clean your walls right away. It is easier to remove stains while they are fresh, instead of having to do a deeper cleaning later on.

It's also a good idea to teach your children to keep their hands off the walls. Dirty handprints and crayons are the usual culprits for removing paint and having to clean walls.

How to clean walls with mildew and water stains?

Mould and mildew are some of the worst kinds of stains to deal with. The first thing to do is check for leaks behind the wall. That is a problem you need to deal with before you try any cleaning solution. When that has been taken care of, prepare a cleaning solution of one part bleach and one part warm water. Lightly rub the mix or use a spray bottle to apply it. Use a hair dryer to dry the wall area.

If the mould or mildew stain is more contained, you can try to remove it with a mix of white vinegar, baking soda and water. Use a damp sponge or a soapy cloth to apply it without too much pressure. Let it sit and then rinse.

Cleaning walls in your home is not as difficult as you think. It's all about determining the right approach for the right paint and finish. Don't forget to dust properly and deal with scuff marks, if you want to keep your walls looking fresh and new.

If you are ever in need of professional cleaning services, don't hesitate to contact us at Skycleaners. Our experts have the knowledge and the tools to help you with any cleaning task at home. Contact us for a free quote and see how we can be of service.


How to clean baseboards?

You can clean baseboards pretty much the same way you clean walls. Dust them with a dry microfiber cloth, then follow up with a soft cloth dipped in soapy solution.

What is the best way to clean walls?

Mix a tablespoon of soap and 4 cups of water in a bucket and use a soft sponge to wipe down the wall surface. Once the whole of the wall is covered, rinse with water and wipe away moisture with a dry towel.

Can you steam clean walls?

Heat from a steam cleaner can damage water-based paint. You should not use it on such surfaces and instead proceed with a mixture of liquid dish soap and warm water.

How do you remove stains from walls?

A mild dishwashing detergent mixed in warm water is a good way to clean stains. Simply wet a sponge with the mix and rub the stain till it comes off. Apply a balanced pressure and be careful not to damage the paint.

How to clean white walls?

If you wish to avoid marks on your white walls, you should spot clean with a soft dry cloth. Make sure not to focus on just one area, but to clean every square foot of the wall.

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