How to clean walls?

How to Clean Painted Walls

You regularly clean your floors, furniture, and textiles—so why aren’t you cleaning your walls? Considering how much we lean against and touch them, you should make sure they’re as clean as any other surface in the home and part of your whole-house cleaning schedule. However, walls with different paint types require special care. Read below to learn how to clean a wall without ruining the paint.

Image zoom

How to Prevent Dirty Walls

Maintain a freshly painted look on your walls by keeping them free of dust and spots. Plus, preventive maintenance means less time spent scrubbing walls later.

Vacuum painted walls with a soft brush attachment. Then wipe them down with a cloth-covered broom or mop (spray with a dusting agent for best results) or use an electrostatic dusting wipe. Wipe away fingerprints and other marks soon after they appear. Avoid using an excessive amount of water when cleaning painted walls.

Image zoom

Cleaning Different Paint Finishes

The first thing you should consider when washing painted walls is the finish. If needed, reference our handy paint finish guide. Whether a wall is glossy or flat will determine how scrubbing will affect the look of the wall.

Flat, Satin, and Eggshell Finishes: Duller paint finishes are less durable when it comes to cleaning. Do not use harsh chemicals or degreasers when cleaning flat paint walls and be mindful when washing with a sponge to not scrub too hard. The sponge should be wrung out almost completely before putting it to the walls.

Glossy or Semigloss Finishes: These paints are highly durable, so they’re most commonly used in high-traffic areas like the kitchen and bathroom. It is OK to use a mild degreaser on glossy kitchen backsplashes or vanity doors. Although glossy and semigloss paint is durable, it will still scratch, so always use a soft sponge when cleaning walls.

Image zoom

How to Clean Walls with Latex Paint

The best way to wash walls painted with latex paint is to use warm water and a nonabrasive all-purpose cleaner. Dip a clean sponge in the water, then wring it dry. Gently rub the wall. Pay special attention to areas that get touched often—such as around doorknobs and light switches. Rinse with a second sponge and clear water. Take care not to wet areas around outlets, light switches, telephone jacks, and other electrical connections. When scrubbing those spots becomes necessary, turn off electricity at the circuit breaker box.

For stubborn spots, such as fingerprints, newspaper smudges, or scuffs, make a paste of baking soda and water and rub the area with a nonabrasive pad. If cleaner (or white vinegar and water) doesn’t remove the grime or stain on painted woodwork, wipe the woodwork with a rag dampened with rubbing alcohol.

Image zoom

How to Clean Walls with Oil-Based Paint

Wash walls painted with oil-based paint in the same manner, substituting detergent solution (see below) for the cleaner or white vinegar mixture. Wring the sponge or cloth until only slightly damp. Texture-painted walls, such as those with a troweled finish, can be dust catchers and might require deeper cleaning. Add 1 ounce of borax to each pint of water to clean the wall.

Image zoom

How to Make All-Purpose Wall Cleaner

For heavy-duty painted wall stains, you might need more than a little water to remedy the situation. This all-purpose detergent can be used for oil-based painted walls. Adjust the recipe as needed for the size of your wall or stain.

  1. Stir 1 teaspoon of liquid dish detergent into a quart of warm water.
  2. Add 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar.
  3. Let the solution sit on the stain for 10 minutes before blotting.
  • By BH&G Editors

How To: Clean Painted Walls

Cleaning painted walls may seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite simple, albeit somewhat time-consuming.

The first thing to know is that whether you’re doing yearly cleaning or hoping to say goodbye to a stain, the right approach depends on what type of paint you’re dealing with. Semi-gloss and glossy enamel paints tend to stand up best to washing; flat, satin, and eggshell latex paints, on the other hand, may fade or rub off with abrasive cleaning. In other words, the only tricky part of cleaning walls is doing so without damaging the paint job.

REGULAR CLEANING

  1. To preserve the quality of your paint job, start with the gentlest cleaning method possible—in this case, water on a cellulose sponge.
  2. Step it up a notch, if necessary, with a mixture of warm water and mild detergent soap.
  3. If you need even more firepower, create a solution containing 1 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda and one gallon of warm water. Add the solution to a spray bottle, spray the solution onto the wall, and lightly scrub with your sponge.

STAIN REMOVAL

You may want to lay towels, newspaper, or another absorbent material on the floor under your workspace to catch drips as you clean walls. Also, wear rubber gloves to avoid dirty water dripping down your arms. Note that wringing out sponges as you work goes a long way to help prevent the sort of drips that compromise the final result.

  1. Run the dust brush attachment of your vacuum over the wall surface.
  2. Create a paste of baking soda. To do so, mix a half cup of baking soda with about an ounce of water.
  3. Test the solution on an unobtrusive part of the wall. If the paint still looks bright and there are no water marks left after drying, you’re good to go. Otherwise proceed with caution: A sloppy attempt could make things look worse than before you started. If you know from the outset that you have flat or eggshell latex paint and the patch test doesn’t go well, consider applying a fresh coat of paint or hiring professionals to clean walls for you.
  4. If no water marks remain after your test application of the solution has dried, it’s safe to proceed. Beginning at the top of wall and working your way down, use a sponge to apply the solution in a gentle. Again, scrub lightly, ideally in a circular motion, to minimize the risk of upsetting the paint.
  5. As you work, use a second, water-dampened sponge to clear away dirt and grime where it clings to the cleaning paste.
  6. Work in sections, and once you’ve completed a section, dry the area with a clean, soft cloth.

For particularly hard-to-remove stains (e.g., grease splatters on kitchen walls), try a commercial cleaning product like Siege Premium Kitchen Degreaser, a solvent-free degreaser. Also be aware that the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser works well to clean walls of crayon and fingerprints, making it an especially useful product in homes with children.

How to Clean Walls

October 26, 2017

I am asked at least once a week for my favorite way to wash walls, so I thought it was time to show you how I manage this daunting and potentially overwhelming task.

First off, I have to ask: Does anyone wash walls anymore?

Historically speaking, wall washing was a big part of the spring cleaning routine mostly because homes were heated with wood and/or oil furnaces and there was a build up on the walls. In modern homes this task isn’t quite as necessary BUT it is something that I have on my list. I use a rotating cleaning checklist (you can find it on my free cleaning calendar here and in the monthly subscription to Homekeeping Society here). I use the phrase ‘spot clean walls’ because I am not washing all the walls from the floor to the ceiling but I am hitting the high traffic areas and checking for handprints, fingerprints, footprints, and other smudges and smears that tend to appear every once in a while. I dust corners and walls as part of my cleaning rotation, this helps keep the walls clean as well as keep the dust down in the house. Once I’ve dusted the corners and edges I check the walls for anything that can be wiped clean.

QUICK TIP: I use FLAT paint throughout our home (you can see all our paint colors here) for a couple reasons but the main one is that I love how it washes up. I also keep a small container of extra paint to do quick touch ups with a small roller when necessary. The flat paint allows for a seamless blending of paint whereas I find that when doing paint touch ups with eggshell or semi-gloss the touch-up shows so I need to redo a wall instead of a quick touch up.

My favorite tools:

  • castile or dish soap
  • container for soapy water
  • microfiber cloths
  • long-handled duster

DUST THE WALLS

I start with a long-handled soft bristled wall brush. I love the one pictured because it has soft bristles that won’t scratch surfaces but grab and hold on to dust really well. (You can find links to my favorite tools here.) You can easily use a broom for this task (just make sure it’s CLEAN) or you can put an old t-shirt on the bristles of a broom and achieve a similar tool.

WASH THE WALLS

Depending on what degree of wall washing needs to be done, you can choose one of the following wall-washing solutions. Once you’ve mixed up your solution, place towels on the floor if you’re doing a full wall washing and grab either a clean towel, a white sponge (so color won’t transfer to the walls), and/or a microfiber cloth.

If you’re just dealing with general dirt on the walls you can just do a quick wipe in a small 1-2 foot section – wipe from top to bottom and left to right. If your walls are really dirty and you’re doing a full room washing, you’ll want to move from the bottom up and left to right so you aren’t getting dirty drips on your walls.

Mix up one of these simple solutions to dissolve any dirt on the walls:

Basic Wall Washing Solution

  • half gallon warm water
  • 1-2 drops castile or dish soap

Deeper Clean Wall Washing Solution

  • half gallon warm water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

Make sure you’re using a barely damp cloth, towel or sponge and that you are drying as you go as well. Once you’re done with one small section, move on to the next. If you feel extra motivated you can also take this time to wash your baseboards too. Here’s a post detailing how to wash baseboards.

How about you – do you wash walls? Any tips and tricks to share?

1. Dust your way to clean walls. In most rooms, the easiest way to get rid of the dust, dirt, and cobwebs that shorten the life of your paint is to run a microfiber dust cloth (such as Swiffer) on a long-handled sweeper over your walls every couple of months. You don’t need to take down pictures or move furniture. Areas that are covered don’t get very dirty—and they don’t show anyway. Don’t forget the ceiling; despite gravity, some airborne dust collects there. It shouldn’t take you more than 10 or 15 minutes to do an entire room. Vacuuming with a soft brush works, too, and so does Grandma’s solution: a clean, white cloth wrapped around the head of a broom.

2. Wash kitchen and bath walls. Remove the residues of cooking and steamy showers by washing the painted areas of kitchen and bathroom walls at least once every year. Do other rooms, too, if they are regularly used by children or a smoker or have a fireplace or wood-burning stove. Start from the bottom. Rub gently with a natural sponge and a soap and water solution Wash and rinse a small area, then move up and do an area that partially overlaps what you’ve already cleaned. Dry the wall with an old towel. Don’t forget to wash woodwork as well.

3. Make your own wall-washing soap. Homemade soap mixtures do a great job cleaning painted walls. Both of these mixtures are inexpensive, simple to make, and at least as good as commercially available cleaners.

• Mix 1 cup of borax and 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid in 1 gallon of warm water. You’ll find borax in the cleaning-products aisle at the supermarket.

• Mix 1 cup of ammonia and 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid in 1 gallon of water.

4. Test painted walls before cleaning them. It’s safe to wash glossy and semigloss paint, which are commonly used in kitchens and baths and on woodwork. Most modern flat and satin paint are also washable, but always test them in an inconspicuous spot. If paint chalks off on your sponge, don’t wash that paint. Never wash with trisodium phosphate (TSP) except when you are about to repaint; it dulls the finish.

5. Wash high-traffic areas. Even if you don’t need to wash an entire room, the areas around switches and thermostats may need an occasional washing. And so does that area behind the sofa where somebody’s hair leaves a greasy spot. Dust and dirt also tend to accumulate on walls behind TVs or other electronics and above radiators or heating grates. If dusting doesn’t get rid of them, wash the area.

6. Seal in lead paint. Until 1978 many paints contained harmful lead. The most reliable way to test suspect paint is with a lab test. Mail a chip of paint to the lab for a report (check the Yellow Pages or the Internet for a source). If you have lead paint, seal it off with two coats of high-quality paint. As long as the new paint remains sound, the lead is contained and presents no danger.

7. Touch up damage. To keep paint looking fresh, touch up damage as it occurs. Sand and touch up a scraped or chipped surface, feathering the paint over the surrounding area. Fill holes first. And coat a recalcitrant stain with stain sealer before touching it up. If a leak has caused peeling and bubbling, fix the leak source; then scrape and sand the area and repaint it. Whenever possible, use paint left over from the original job.

8. Computer-match your paint color. A leak damages the paint in the corner of the ceiling and a bit of the wall under it. You don’t have any of the original paint left over. Must you repaint the entire room? No, just slice through the paint on the wall with a sharp utility knife in an out-of-the-way area and lift off a good-sized chip. Take the chip to a paint store that has computerized paint-matching equipment, which will generate a recipe the store can use to match the color. Computerized color matching is usually free and it may save you from having to repaint the entire room for a few years.

Female hand holding sponge with foam against black background

I remember as a little boy living in the Burg we had wallpaper, that was actually made of paper, everywhere in our home. Every once in a while dad would buy a can of wallpaper cleaner. We would take it out of the can and rub it all over the wallpaper and marvel at how clean the green putty-like substance would get the wallpaper.

That was a long time ago and wallpaper today is usually made out of vinyl meaning you can carefully wash it with water.

Learning how to wash walls and ceilings can save you a bundle in lieu of painting which can cost from $800 to upwards of $1600 for a large living room depending on how large your room is and the contractor you hire! While not a glamorous subject, there’s a correct way to professionally wash walls and ceilings.

Some folks will opt to hire out the work because it is labor intensive. This is easier said than done is some areas because though in some cases cleaning companies will provide wall washing but often, as is the case in our Pittsburgh Pa. area, most don’t which means this project is more than likely to fall on your plate.

I have chatted with a few folks who believe they understand wall and ceiling cleaning and treat it as if there are no tricks and secrets to doing the job right. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Over the years in the house cleaning industry, a frequent question that pops up when it comes to wall washing is do you start at the top and work your way down or do you start at the bottom and work your way up.

Some folk reason it’s like painting a wall which means you start at the top and work your way down? Wrong! And for reasons that I can’t explain, well I can explain the reason but I can’t explain the phenomenon which is beyond the scope of this writing and might be best left for a chemical engineer or scientist.

So let’s begin to understand how to handle a wall and ceiling washing project.

Hindrances To Wall and Ceiling Washing

There are five main things that will make this project distasteful, at least more than it has to be. I am sure there is a myriad of other items as well, such as the family dog that is in the way, but these five will cover most cases. They are:

  • The wrong tools or supplies
  • Pictures, artwork, mirrors any other items hanging on the walls
  • Chandeliers and Ceiling Fans
  • Furniture near or up against the walls
  • Poor lighting

Gather Tools Needed For Walls and Ceilings

Before beginning, you will need to gather a few inexpensive supplies and tools. Be certain to gather all you need before you start. Nothing can exasperate me more than starting a project and discovering that I need to stop to find something that I should’ve found before starting. Our short list of supplies follows:

  • One bucket with a handle (Some advocate 2 buckets – one for washing and one for rinsing. No-rinse solutions are best saving time and your back. The product I recommend requires no rinsing and does a superb job of removing dirt.
  • A natural sea sponge for washing (not as durable as man-made sponges but is gentle on paint)
  • A toothbrush – to clean in the nooks and crannies.
  • A high quality, no rinse soap product (I like Soilmax.)
  • A pair of rubber gloves.
  • Goggles for ceiling work.
  • A two-step stool or possibly a ladder if the walls or ceiling are high up.
  • A high-quality ostrich feather duster to dust the walls before washing (Saves time and makes washing much easier.)

  • Several old towels to place on the floor to catch dripping or running water (aids in keeping your carpets and floor clean and more importantly dry.)

Heed This Warning Before Washing

Before starting this project, it’s important to understand what type of paint you’ve on your walls and ceiling. The only caution here is if you’ve flat paint. Flat paint can’t be washed but must be re-painted instead.

Washing flat paint will remove the dirt for certain by removing the paint as well! Usually, walls will be painted with a gloss, a semi-gloss or a satin finish meaning they can be washed. However, sometimes, even though walls can be washed a ceiling will have been painted with flat paint and will need re-painting instead of washing.

Surprisingly, as mentioned before, wallpaper can more often than not be washed because oddly enough it’s usually made from a vinyl material. Who would have known? In any case, test wallpaper first in an inconspicuous area before beginning just to be certain it doesn’t loosen or break down from the dampness.

Prepare Walls and Ceilings Before Starting

So now you’re ready to get started. Hold your horses, not so fast. Follow the next six points to make your time washing the walls and ceiling much easier and more productive.

  • Remove all mirrors, picture frames, and any other items hanging on your walls (tip: put a piece of masking tape on the nails to prevent your fingers from getting cut when washing.)
  • Turn off the current that runs to any ceiling fan or chandelier.
  • Pull furniture away from your walls at least four feet or more if you have the room.
  • Remove curtains to keep them safe but also to get a much natural light into the room as possible.
  • Using your feather duster dust all the walls and possibly ceilings, if needed, starting from the top working your way down to the floor. (This step will save you some time and hard labor – especially if you have cobwebs and a lot of loose surface dirt. There is no cogent reason to wash the dirt away when you can quickly and easily dust it away with a long-handled feather duster.)
  • Roll your towels in a loose roll and lay them on the floor up against the wall to catch dripping water.

Get Ready – Get Set – Start Washing

Follow the directions on the Soilmax box and pour what they say into the bucket for your particular cleaning needs. Run hot water into the bucket while stirring the water to ensure the Soilmax is dissolved completely.

Put on your rubber gloves before you begin to wash the walls to save your hands from drying out.
Dip the sponge into the hot water and squeeze out the excess water just enough to keep it from dripping. You want it wet but not dripping water all over the walls and floor.

If you are washing the ceiling be sure to wear your goggles to prevent soapy water drips from getting into your eyes. Use your step stool or a ladder to get close to the ceiling and thereby reduce stretching which will tire you out and make this project more difficult than it needs to be.

Starting at a corner and using a circular motion begin scrubbing a three or four-foot square area. Rinse your sponge as needed (see 6 below). After the first section is completed, continue by moving over and beginning to working a second three or four-foot square area. Be sure to overlap the first area by an inch or two. Continue working your way around the room until the entire ceiling is completed.

Be careful around ceiling fans and chandeliers as water and electric don’t mix well and ceiling fans can easily slice up fingers and arms when spinning. You did remember to turn off the current before starting, right?

Attack the walls by starting at a corner. If you have baseboards begin by starting to clean a stretch of baseboard three or four foot long.

In either case, when you start the walls begin to scrub in a circular motion at the bottom near the floor or just above the baseboard if you have baseboards. Clean a square area three or four foot – a size that is comfortable and easy for you to reach.

Some people suggest working from the top down which is a mistake, trust me on this one, I have tried both. When running water from the top runs down over the dirty walls below it will streak and cause you to work extra hard to get the steaks out. I can’t explain the phenomenon but for some reason it’s true.

Use your toothbrush as needed to scrub hard to reach places such as around switch plates, corners, where the wall meets the baseboard and around molding or chair rails if you have them.

Rinse out your sponge as needed when it becomes dirty or too dry. If you don’t take the time to rinse often enough you will be disappointed with the results. At a minimum, you should rinse after every three or four-foot area is completed before going to the next area.

When the area nearest the floor is completed, continue by scrubbing another three or four-foot square area just above the one you completed being certain to overlap the first area by an inch or two with the new area you are working on. When this area is completed, move above it and start to clean the next area in like fashion.

Continue, in this manner, until you reach the ceiling. You may need to use your step stool or ladder depending on how high up your walls run to the ceiling. If any water runs down the wall to an area you have already completed just wipe it with a towel to remove it. This is sweet because you’ll not encounter any streaks like you would’ve if you were working from the top down.

If you’ve taken the time to put a small piece of masking tape on any nails in the wall you have a clear indication of where the nails are, otherwise be extra careful or you’ll risk cutting your fingers quite easily. I wish I knew about the masking tape trick the last time I washed walls.

After you’ve cleaned a wall area from the floor to the ceiling it’s time to shift to the right or left a few feet depending on which way you’re working your way around the room.

Start scrubbing at the bottom as before and work upward in three or four-foot areas that are comfortable and easy to reach. Overlap each new area by an inch or so to the area next to it and below it that has already been cleaned. Work your way around the room until all walls and baseboards (if you have them) are cleaned.

While Washing A Few Tips to Bear in Mind

This work can be physically intensive, especially ceilings. Accidents and injuries are more likely to happen when you’re tired. If and when you get tired take a breather. But if you need to take a break try first to complete a whole wall by working until you reach a corner before stopping to rest. This helps to prevent streaking.

The less stretching you do the easier it is to complete this project. Take the time to move your step stool or ladder as needed. Work in small enough areas that are easy and comfortable to reach.

Hot water works better than cold water. When your water becomes dirty or cool to the touch change it. Depending on how dirty your walls and ceiling are, you may need to change it frequently.

Stop to use your toothbrush when needed – your fingers will thank you.

Wear your goggles when cleaning the ceiling. Wearing them when washing the walls is a wise move as well. Your eyes will thank you because the soap you’re using to clean the walls and ceiling can be quite harsh on your eyes.

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, the medicine go down, the medicine go down… Okay, so I can’t sing very well. But music helps me to get a tough job completed and it might be what the doctor ordered for you as well. A radio nearby blasting out a song that energizes one for work, is helpful for most folks.

Knowing how to clean painted walls won’t be a top house-cleaning priority. However, painted walls do need cleaning, and regularly. At the very best, walls gather dust and grime. At the very worst, it’s likely they’ll be smeared with dirty finger prints, knocks and scuffs and possibly even food. Cleaning painted walls needs to be done cautiously. The last thing you want to do is to remove the finish. So, read these tips* to find out how.

For more cleaning tips, hacks and buys, see our dedicated hub page. Find out how to clean wallpaper in our expert guide.

  • Don’t miss our sourcebook of the top 50 must-have cleaning products for your home

How to clean painted walls

Before you start, ensure the tools you’re using, from sponges to cloths to dust mops won’t scratch the paintwork. Soft sponges and soft cloths are what’s needed.

  • Find out everything you need to know about paint on our dedicated hub page

1. Dust before you clean

Dust off any excess dirt before starting to clean painted walls, otherwise you will just spread the grime. You can do this using a lint-free cloth for those areas you can reach, and a soft broom with a rag over its bristles or, better still, a dust mop (we rate the e-cloth deep clean mop) for any high areas.

2. Wash the walls with a gentle detergent

In most cases, all you need for this is warm, soapy water. Create a cleaning solution in a bucket using water and your mildest cleaning detergent – we like the Ecozone Sensitive washing up liquid. Use your softest sponge to apply the solution to your walls. Don’t over soak the sponge. If you do, wring it out properly before cleaning as dripping can potentially leave water stains on your walls. Leave for five to 10 minutes.

3. Rinse off the detergent

Have a second bowl or bucket of clean water to hand so you can rinse off the soapy solution about five to 10 minutes after applying. This simple process should be enough to clean most painted walls.

4. Clean painted walls of pesky stains with vinegar

Need something a little stronger? White vinegar, our old cleaning favourite, is up to the task of cleaning off any stubborn stains or particularly grimy walls.

Simply mix a cup of white vinegar with a bucket full of warm water and use your soft sponge to tackle any stains. No need to rinse off after.

Find more tips on cleaning your house with vinegar in our guide.

5. Don’t clean painted walls with alcohol + chemicals

If you’re heading to your cleaning cupboard to find the right products to clean painted walls with, step away from anything containing alcohol or harsh chemicals. These ingredients can break down your paint surfaces and leave your walls in more of a mess than when you first started.

If you’re unsure about even the mildest detergent, test it out first. Find an inconspicuous area to make sure it doesn’t contain any ingredients that will affect the paintwork.

6. Use a mild degreaser for painted kitchen walls

Obviously, painted kitchen walls can get a little greasy. On top of your washing techniques above, an additional wipe down with a gentle degreaser should do the trick. Just follow the product instructions to avoid any streak marks, and don’t forget that harsh chemicals should be avoided. Our advice? If in doubt, stick to white vinegar.

7. Spot clean painted walls with baking soda + water

Got a few stains that just won’t budge? Baking soda can come to your rescue. Spot clean your walls using a mixture of water and bicarbonate of soda/baking soda on a soft cloth or towel.

A half cup of it in a bucket of warm water should do it. Any crayon or pen marks should come straight off with this nifty little blend. Again, be sure to test out on a hidden area before applying it to a visible part of the wall.

Use our guide to find out how to use bicarbonate of soda to clean your home.

8. Or spot clean with baby wipes

Baby wipes, make up removers… all of these are good for removing the odd dirty spot from your walls. Choose eco-friendly ones and don’t flush them down the toilet to be environmentally friendly.

*Tips thanks to Airtasker.

More cleaning tips:

  • 21 spring cleaning hacks that don’t use chemicals
  • How to clean stainless steel
  • How to clean and maintain wooden worktops

The painless way to wash walls, is probably also one of the easiest ways to wash walls!

I don’t know why we always seem to do things the hard way. I guess it’s human nature to do things the way you were taught? Though when it comes to cleaning, if the hard way is the only way you know how, it’s not going to happen as often as it should.

The Painless Way To Wash Walls. lifeshouldcostless.com

Which just won’t do when you have little ones about that depend on you to grow up in a healthy environment(let’s face it, there are days that I would really rather not do any cleaning, but I do the best that I can anyway because I love my kids). Which is why I am always on the lookout for a better way to do things.

If you know anything about me, you know that I try to make things as simply as possible, but I still want the same results as if I did it the hard way.

This is why I want to share my super time saving tip for washing walls. It just so happens that I figured out this method of washing walls when I had such a large task ahead of me that I was so overwhelmed at the thought of it, that my choices were either have a good cry and do it anyway(taking maybe a couple of hours), give up and let someone else worry about it, or to figure out a solution. Lucky for us all, I decided to figure it out.

Washing the walls this way literally cuts the time and effort down to a fraction of what it used to take…especially if you have a home with vaulted ceilings like I do. No need to get out a ladder and risk your safety!

Before I share with you all my tip for the best way to wash walls, I wanted to share with you links to five of my other cleaning tips, so make sure to check them out too:

  • How To Remove Grease Stains From Clothes (even after being baked in by the dryer)
  • How To Clean Grout With Water
  • Second-Hand Mason Jar Cleaning Regimen
  • How To Make Your Slow Cooker Clean Itself
  • How To Clean A Stainless Steel Sink Like A Pro

Now back to learning The Painless Way To Wash Walls.

All you need is a sturdy large pad mop (this is the one that I use and LOVE)and your choice of multipurpose cleaner.

(I use Dr Bronner’s Sal Suds, and if you want to read my post about how awesome it is you can see that here) in a spray bottle (a bottle filled with warm water and maybe a drop or two of soap works too).

Work top to bottom, left to right, and gently spray (more mist than stream) the wall down with your cleaner of choice.

Apply some pressure and literally mop the wall.

It seems to work best using a side to side motion then work your way down.

It really is just that easy!

I usually grab a rag to help me with the bottom where the molding is, but doing it this way saves SO MUCH TIME! I’ve even done this successfully to get soda off of a ceiling that didn’t have a super-thick texture (you know, that task that I mentioned earlier that made me want to cry).

Anyway, this method has literally saved me several hours of cleaning in the last few months alone since I prepped my condo to put on the housing market, re-cleaned when I moved out, and now I’m doing it in my new house because literally every wall is dirty!

I’ve only tried it with the kind of mop that I have, I found this mop at my parents house on one trip down south and was so impressed with it that when I got home I promptly bought myself THE EXACT SAME MOP and a SECOND WASHABLE PAD because I love it so much (it’s super sturdy and this is coming from someone that has snapped her fair share of mop handles over the years…whoops).

It’s so nice having a mop that will last years, if I take care of it, instead of a couple of months like it was frequently in the past. I am hoping that this time saving tip will make your deep cleaning routine a bit more bearable. Happy washing everyone!

*Please note that if your walls are really dusty you are going to want to take care of that first. Otherwise it’ll just make them look muddy after the first pass. If dusty is the case, I find it helpful to take my mop, with a fresh pad cover on, and just use the same mopping motions as I use when it is wet. This should remove most, if not all, of the dust. You can always just keep swapping out the pad and repeating until it’s as dustless as you want it to be. Then just go ahead and wash your little heart out the way that I suggested(with a fresh mop pad on there of course)!

The painless way to wash walls. lifeshouldcostless.com

** I mop my tile this exact same way except I use a 70/30 water /vinegar solution to spray it down. It also cuts the time I spend mopping down to a few minutes, even in my large kitchen and dining room. How does it save so much time you may ask? The pad on the mop is huge so it covers a large surface area at once.

*** Certain cleaning solutions can leave your walls sticky if you wash them this way. You can always follow up with a water “rinse” spritz with your spray bottle and a fresh mop pad to avoid this.

Well, what do you think? This is actually my most popular cleaning tip (to date it has had more than a million views and has been shared by some huge websites, so that’s been exciting! ).

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! If you liked what you saw, please make sure to share it via social media!

Other ways to show your support are to follow and/or interact with me on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or by Subscribing To My Email List. If you purchase suggested products through Amazon, the cost to you remains the same, but I make a small commission on everything in your cart.

If something was particularly helpful and you would like to donate directly to the blog, you can do so via PayPal, here. I’m a single mom of four, so every little bit helps. Thanks so much! ~Sarah

P.S. You may also like my entire Cleaning section as well as my DIY section.

Don’t forget to check out five of my other cleaning tips (the pics are links):

*Reposts: Please note that this idea/post was originally posted to this website on 08/03/2013 but it was in great need of a refresh so it now is more user friendly/shareable.

Spring cleaning is a little overdue if you haven’t started yet, but better late than never. If nothing else, you’ve probably swapped your sweaters for shirts and your faux-fur throw for a knit one. But I bet you didn’t think about cleaning your walls. Well, here’s a guide for how to do it, based on the type of paint you have.

First things first—this is what you’ll need: a bucket, a sponge or microfiber towel, dish detergent, distilled white vinegar, and water.

How to clean walls coated with flat paint

Flat paint is less durable than other finishes, which means it is easier to damage, and that’s the last thing you want to do. So for walls with flat paint, you need to take a little extra precaution. Completely wring out the sponge each time you wipe, and use a soap solution that’s very light on detergent. Most importantly, do not use vinegar in this solution; use only dish detergent and water.

How to clean walls coated with semigloss paint

Semigloss paint is a bit more durable, so bring on the dish detergent–but not too much. It’s best to use a soft sponge for this type of paint, and you still want to make sure you’re completely wringing out the sponge to avoid creating any streaks on your walls.

How to clean walls coated with oil-based paint

Oil-based paints are even more durable than semigloss, so you definitely want to use vinegar and dish soap in this solution. This solution is perfect if you have oil-based paint in your kitchen, because it helps get all of the grease and nasty grime off.

House Beautiful

How to clean walls coated with latex paint

When cleaning walls with latex paint, you want to add dish detergent and distilled white vinegar to your solution. You can use a little of both or just use two tablespoons of vinegar—or three tablespoons if you know you’re going to need to use some elbow grease.

No matter what type of paint you have on your wall, fill the bucket about halfway and never use more than a couple drops of dish detergent. Some alternatives: castile soap instead of dish detergent, a microfiber cloth instead of a sponge, and a long-handled, soft-bristled brush for hard-to-reach places. Just make sure that whatever you’re using to clean is not dripping wet—you want all the water to be wrung out and for it to be just a little damp.

Here’s a cute chart to recap all of the key things you need to know to clean your walls. Happy cleaning!

House Beautiful

Can’t Beat the Heat? Shop These Summer Essentials:

Rainbow Cloud Pool Float FUNBOY amazon.com $137.95 Mosquito Repellent Incense Sticks amazon.com $22.95 Outdoor Patio Cooler Table Keter amazon.com $46.99 Beach Day Lounger Mac Sports amazon.com $116.76

Follow House Beautiful on Instagram.