Cleaning and Maintaining Painted Walls in Your Home

When it comes to household cleaning tasks, the walls might not even be on your list. With important and ongoing tasks like flooring and countertops to tackle, not to mention bathroom surfaces, you probably don’t spare your walls a second thought (or even a first) when it comes to cleaning.

And yet, over time, the walls in your home can start to get dingy. They might not collect dust as quickly as horizontal surfaces, but they can definitely get covered in dust and cobwebs eventually.

In addition, people are constantly touching the walls, leaving oil, dirt, and bacteria behind. You might not notice the effects immediately, but build-up can definitely occur, leaving your walls looking rather grimy.

Of course, noticing this state of affairs doesn’t necessarily mean you are equipped to handle the situation. Most people don’t have the first clue about how to keep the painted surfaces in their homes clean and maintained.

Can you clean them with regular solvents? Is it safe to scrub? How often should you clean your walls to keep them looking fresh and new? If you haven’t the foggiest notion where to start, here are just a few tips to help you clean and maintain the paint on your walls.

1. Choose your paint wisely.

When you move into a new home, the first thing you’re likely to do is paint, either to cover what the previous homeowners left behind or to instill a bland space with your own personality and style.

But you might not realize that the paint you choose can make cleaning and maintenance either easier or harder. While matte paint is the standard finish used for home interior surfaces (namely walls), it happens to be the hardest type of paint to keep clean because dirt, oil, and other environmental contaminants tend to stick to the surface and sink in, making them practically impossible to remove in some cases.

You’re much better off going with a satin finish that resists staining and makes cleaning a simple matter of wiping the surface with a wet rag or sponge in most cases. You could also opt for the high-shine finish that punctuates the trim, but this type of paint will showcase every imperfection on walls, while satin finish tends to be more forgiving.

2. Vacuum the walls.

Yeah, it sounds weird, but believe it or not, dust gets everywhere. All you have to do is shine a flashlight along the flat plane of your walls to pick out the layer of dust that covers it and quickly spot cobwebs in corners.

If you have the time and inclination, you can perform this task once a month. But if you’re not so particular on this point, you can wait until you do a major cleaning, say every six months, to take on the chore of vacuuming walls.

3. Use gentle cleansers.

This is important. Interior house paint is not designed to stand up to harsh or abrasive chemical cleaning solvents. Over time, it can start to chip or peel under the abuse.

With satin finish paint, however, a wet sponge may be enough to remove the signs of daily wear and tear on your walls, such as fingerprints, food stains, and so on. Or if you need a bit more help, try a simple solution of dish soap and water. Equal parts vinegar and water can also cut oil and grease.

4. Consider cleaning wipes.

If you want a powerful, all-in-one cleaning solution that is also gentle enough for use on your painted walls, consider the utility of the Scrubbing Wipes produced by Tub O’Towels. The proprietary cleaning solution is both effective and safe (with low VOCs), and the fiber weave feature in these disposable towelettes will save you some elbow grease when treating stuck-on substances.

5. Keep extra paint for touch-ups.

Have you ever tried to match a paint color months or years after your initial paint job? Even with the color match technology available these days that allows you to snap a shot with your smartphone and turn it over to paint store specialists, lighting conditions could impact the hue you end up with.

And the chances that you remember the specific color are pretty slim. So keep a little extra on hand, because you will need it for touch-ups any time you spackle holes, suffer scratches, or remove items you painted around, revealing the previous color underneath.