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How to Clean Painted Walls Without Stripping the Paint Off

How to Clean Painted Walls How to Clean Painted Walls Without Stripping the Paint Off

Spring is upon us, and that means giving our homes the deep cleaning they so desperately need after a long winter mess making.

While it goes without saying that you will scrub your floors and dust your shelves, often neglected is the surface of the actual walls of your home. But think about all the potential stain making things brushing up against those walls all year long!

If you have kids or an animal living in your home, it might be less subtle than some incidental marks. Who here has ever had the conversation with their son or daughter telling them that while you like the drawing they did and are flattered by the representation of your likeness, the kitchen wall is not the proper canvas!

So many of us deal with this, and yet we are also fearful of deep cleaning walls. Much more so than we would be with respect to other areas of the home. This is likely because of the prospect of fading paint- a scary notion considering the price of quality paint per gallon.

But the truth is there is risk in every type of heavy cleansing project. Choose the wrong method or product and you can ruin just about anything you set out to restore. With walls, there is are some special factors to be wary of, but follow these tips and tricks, and your paint will stay as vibrant as the day the last coat cured.


Before you get started, try and remember what type of paint you used on the wall you are endeavoring to clean. If you have the old can or some extra paint from that project lying around, check the label.

Whether the paint is latex or oil based, the materials you should use to clean that wall will differ.

Latex-based Paint

These paint types clean pretty well with a little bit of vinegar- the household cleaning cure-all- or dish detergent.

A few drops of either in a half bucket of water or so work wonders when applied with a soft sponge.

cleaning walls

As you scrub, you will get a good sense of how deeply stained your walls truly are. This might mean a few subsequent scrubbings. Just be sure to wring out your sponge completely in between.

In addition, if the sponge becomes soaked in too much of your cleaning mix, it can soften the paint, creating streaks that are difficult to fix.

Oil-Based Paint

Oil based paints are less finnecky than latex, and while the two mixtures mentioned above will work here as well, walls coated in oil-based products can handle something a little more heavy duty.

oil-based walls

Try a mild degreaser, especially for oil-based walls in the kitchen, where oil typically lives. Just like you would on latex-based painted walls, use a soft sponge.

Do NOT flip to the course side of the sponge or use any sort of brush. Either of these surfaces are too abrasive and can scar the paint, especially when degreaser sits on the surface and softens the cured paint.

When The Going Gets Tough

Not all wall cleaning jobs are DIY friendly. Moreover, many people may not know or be able to find out what type of paint is on the walls they intend to clean. Before you take a wild guess, or become overwhelmed by the risk associated with putting a sponge to your nicely painted walls, you can always consult with a upholstery professional, cleaning service, or even a painter to help clear up any uncertainties you might have.