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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:
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?