Even if the rest of your house is spotlessly clean, grungy walls can make your home look dirty. Before you reach for more paint to mask the problem learn how to clean your painted walls in this video.
Find your finish…
The way you should clean your walls and the effectiveness of washing them will all depend on the paint you are cleaning. Most wall paint will be of one of the four following varieties:
Baked enamel is the easiest paint to clean, so if this is your paint you are in luck. The enamel paint is durable and doesn’t easily stain, dirt can’t easily penetrate this paint. You will typically see baked enamel on appliances etcetera Feel free to give baked enamel a good scrub with a mild abrasive cleaner, a heavy duty cleaner or a degreaser if needed. Just be careful not to use any harsh abrasives, steel wool or serious solvents as any of these can dull or scratch that shiny finish!
General Purpose Enamel
This is a popular paint choice for kitchens or bathrooms especially. This kind of enamel paint is pretty durable and can clean up nicely if you give it a light scrubbing with a neutral cleaner and a white scrubby sponge. Avoid color sponges that may stain white walls and stay away from abrasive cleaners. If your enamel is latex based don’t get it too wet, you can dry as you go. Oil based enamels are more resistant to water damage. The finish will also affect your outcome, glossy enamels are the easiest to clean, followed by semi-gloss and satin. Satin finish is the least washable of the enamel family.
Flat latex paints are the least durable and washable of the interior paints. You run the risk of removing some of the paint if you scrub too hard so be careful! A mild cleaner and a soft rag are acceptable, just don’t get the walls too wet. Rinse off the product quickly and if you can blot the walls to dry with a clean towel that’s even better.
Obviously you will usually see this paint on the outside of your home. It’s pretty durable but you should still steer clear of using pressure washers or harsh chemicals as these can both damage the paint. Instead give it a scrub with a mild detergent and then rinse it off with a hose. You may need a ladder or a long handled brush to reach the high up trim.
The hard and fast rules for cleaning painted walls are: know your paint, know it’s weaknesses and know when it may just be time for a fresh coat. That’s it for this edition of Clean Freaks and as always: if it sounds like too much work just call Dallas Maids!