Freshly-painted walls are a beautiful sight. Yet, over time they’ll need ordinary cleaning and maintenance just like any other part of your home.
Clean them occasionally with water and a small amount of liquid soap. If this mixture doesn’t completely remove dirt and stains, next try a somewhat stronger household cleaner, after first reading and following the cleaner’s label instructions.
To safely wash walls and other painted surfaces, first soak a sponge in soapy water then wring out the excess soapy water before scrubbing the wall with light pressure. Be sure to thoroughly rinse all washed areas in order to remove soap and cleaning residues. If left in place, these sticky residues may attract and hold dust and dirt.
Dry the cleaned surfaces with a towel or paper towel. Always use the minimum amount of pressure needed to remove stains and dry surfaces. This will help avoid eroding the protective paint film.
Sometimes, glossy-painted surfaces appear dull after repeated washings. To increase the shine, you can try rubbing the surface lightly with a soft cloth.
If ordinary stains are still present after washing, you can touch up affected areas with the right paint. Finally, if nothing else removes the stains, you should consider repainting the area.
Certain stains, such as permanent markers and other inks, cannot be washed off. Also, if not removed, these stains and some others may “bleed through” or be visible after painting with topcoat finishes. If such stains are present, it’s best to first apply a good-quality, stain-blocker primer paint before the topcoat.
Tips for removing stains
Crayons and non-permanent markers
☆ For stains from crayons and washable markers, use a wet sponge and a little bit of dish washing liquid, or even a heavy-duty degreaser-cleaner
☆ For difficult stains, try a bit of baking soda on a damp sponge
☆ For tough grease stains, spray the stained area with WD-40® (a mechanic’s solvent and cleaner) and gently wipe with a cloth; to remove residue, use a damp sponge with a bit of dish washing liquid, and be sure to rinse the area with water and blot it dry with a clean towel or cloth
☆ For severe stains, use Krud Kutter® (a heavy-duty degreaser and cleaner); use sparingly and rub lightly to avoid removing paint
Greasy surfaces in the kitchen
Use two ounces of household ammonia in a gallon of TSP solution. Wipe from the bottom upward in order to avoid messy streaks.
Pen or pencil marks, scuffs, and difficult grime around doorknobs, switches and light fixtures
☆ Use dish washing liquid or TSP in warm water to ordinary marks
☆ Try using baking soda on a damp cloth to remove stubborn marks
☆ For scuffs and pencil marks, try using an art-gum eraser
☆ For difficult marks, use non-gel toothpaste (which contains mild abrasive) with a damp cloth
☆ For ballpoint pen marks, spray the area with alcohol then wipe it off, or try a mixture of one tablespoon of lemon juice and a half-tablespoon of salt; use a damp rag, then gently wipe the mixture off
☆ For greasy smudges and dirt around knobs and switches, or anywhere with marks from heavy hand and finger traffic, use ordinary household spray-type cleaners (like Fantastik® or Formula 409®) with a wet rag; make sure to follow all label instructions
☆ Try using specialty cleaners . These stubborn stains may not be completely removed; also be aware that any of these strong cleaners will probably remove at least some of the finish of flat-sheen paints
☆ Try careful spot-cleaning with a non-gel (abrasive) toothpaste; don’t rub too hard
☆ Also try hairspray, which works well from some ballpoint pen inks, or WD-40, which works well for crayons
First hold a bag of ice against the gum in order to harden it; scrape off any excess gum using a spatula or dull-edge knife. Then use a strong cleaner like Nature’s Orange® or Krud Kutter® to remove gum residues; it’s important to follow all label instructions and use sparingly to avoid removing paint
First melt the wax by using a hair dryer or heat gun, then wipe the excess away; placing an absorbent paper towel or rag over the wax then heating with a clothes iron may also be effective; the remaining greasy residue can be removed by using a weak solution of vinegar and water
Mold and mildew
Mold and mildew are black-colored fungal growths that must be removed entirely before painting; otherwise, they may “bleed” through painted surfaces. In order to distinguish between mildew and ordinary dirt, test the area by putting a couple of drops of chlorine bleach on the area – If it’s mildew, the bleach will remove its black color within a few minutes.
To remove mildew, apply a mixture of 3:1 water-to-bleach to the stained area with a sponge or rag; when using bleach or other strong cleaners, always wear gloves and eye protection and ensure good ventilation in the work space.
When using bleach solutions over color-painted areas, always test a tiny spot first to make sure the bleach won’t cause fading of the underlying color. The bleach-water solution should be allowed to remain on the surface for at least 20 minutes, adding more solution as it dries, in order to ensure the mildew is entirely neutralized. Afterward, thoroughly rinse the area with plenty of water.