Spring Cleaning: How to Tackle Painted Walls
How to Handle Painted Walls
Preparation and Paint Types
First things first: Dust your walls. Give them a quick once-over with a dry rag or run your vacuum cleaner in the corners. Then, before you begin the process of actually cleaning the walls, you’re going to need to determine what kind of interior paint is on the wall. Semi-gloss or enamel, for example, will stand up to a standard washing. These paints are highly durable, and most commonly used in areas like the kitchen or bathroom; areas that see a lot of daily traffic. Because of the durability of the interior paints, you can even use a mild degreaser on the surface. Duller paint finishes, such as flat, satin, or eggshell, are significantly less durable. You should absolutely not use any harsh chemicals or degreasers when cleaning with flat paint walls. While you can use a sponge to scrub the wall just as with glossy paints, you’re going to want to avoid scrubbing too hard or applying too much moisture to the wall. The flat paints may actually rub right off the wall if you scrub too hard.
Latex vs. Oil Paints
Latex paints are best washed with simple warm water and a non abrasive, all-purpose cleaner. The process isn’t terribly complicated: Get the sponge wet, wring it out until it’s nearly dry, and rub the walls down gently. Make sure you’re paying particular attention to areas that get touched frequently, such as around door knobs, light switches, and around hand height on doorways where you may idly place your hand while entering or exiting. Be sure that when cleaning around light switches or electric sockets that you shut off the electricity at the circuit breaker. If you encounter a particularly difficult spot, such as fingerprints or scuffs, you can make a mixture of baking soda and water to rub onto the area. You can also water down white vinegar and spray that on the wall before wiping it down with a nonabrasive pad.
Oil paints are somewhat similar to clean. The major difference is that you do not want to use the same cleaner or white vinegar mixture as with the latex paints. Instead you’re going to want to purchase or mix yourself a special oil-paint cleaning detergent solution. Textured walls, such as those with a popcorn or troweled finish, can be particularly difficult to clean, and may require that you spend a little more time than usual to have your wall sparkling.