How to Clean Walls
If you own or rent a house, apartment, or even just a room, you know that over time, walls can gather all kinds of marks, dust, and grime. Cleaning your walls can be a daunting task, but a rewarding one, too; you’ll be surprised how much brighter the whole house will look after a thorough wall-cleaning session. With a few simple tips in your arsenal, you can tackle walls that are painted, unpainted, and wallpapered, and get your house looking as good as new!
Method 1 Cleaning Unpainted Walls
1. Cover any carpet or furniture in the immediate area. Using temporary coverings like newspaper, towels, old sheets, or painter's groundsheets, cover anything of value as this will prevent possible spills of water or cleaning solution from ruining the carpet or furniture. The last thing you want is to damage one area of the house when you’re trying to clean another!
2. Move everything that is against the wall. You want to be able to get at dust that’s built up behind dressers, appliances, and other types of furniture. You can clean these often-neglected areas now that the furniture is out of the way.
3. Dust the walls. Use either a broom, a dusting brush, or a vacuum cleaner to do this. Run the broom, brush, or vacuum up and down the walls in a vertical motion. Use a ladder to get into high corners, or enlist a tall friend to help.
· If the broom or brush has strong bristles, tie an old t-shirt or other cleaning rag over it to prevent the sharpness of the bristles from scratching against the wall. Rinse out the shirt or rag or grab a new one when it gets too dirty, since you don’t want to spread the dirt from one wall to the next!
4. Start at the top of the wall when washing. Then, move up gradually, drying as you go, so you don’t leave behind any streaks or drip marks.
Method 2 Cleaning Painted Walls
1. Remove marks or stains first. Test your product on an inconspicuous area of the wall first before cleaning the stain off, to make sure that the stain remover won't lift the paintwork. Make sure to read the directions first and apply carefully.
2. Wash the walls. For most painted walls, warm, soapy water will work just fine. If your walls need something a little stronger, try mixing a cup of distilled white vinegar in one bucket of warm water. Vinegar won't leave any residue, so don’t worry about rinsing.
· Prepare two buckets for comprehensive wall cleaning. Fill one bucket with the cleaning solution and the other with water, and rinse the wall about 5 minutes after the solution has been applied. Remember to change the rinsing water when it starts to look dirty, since you don’t want to rinse the walls with their own dirt.
· Avoid the use of proprietary products that contain alcohol for wall cleaning. These products might break down the paint surface and leave behind a bright and shiny mark--not something you want on your nice, clean walls!
3. Make your own spot cleanser. It’s not as hard as it sounds! Simply add ½ cup of baking soda to a gallon-sized bucket of warm water. Spray this mixture onto a soft towel and wipe over the stains or sticky spots, then rinse the area with water and wipe it dry with a separate towel.
Method 3 Cleaning Wallpapered Walls
1. Clean wallpaper with warm, soapy water. As a general rule, you can wash a wallpapered wall with either soapy water or warm water with a bit of ammonia. Don’t forget to dust first!
2. Use a vinegar mixture for vinyl-coated wallpaper. Soak a cloth in white vinegar and warm water and dab the walls clean. Try to avoid applying the vinegar directly to the walls.
3. Use vinegar and water to scrub stains and mold off walls. If the mold is bad, a proprietary product suitable for the wall surface is usually your best bet. Remember to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to avoid any accidents. No one likes being the one to scrub mold off the walls, but you’ll be much happier with your clean walls once you’re done!
· For ink, crayon and marker stains left behind by unruly kids (or adults!), use a liquid solvent cleaner, such as WD-40 or dry-cleaning fluid.
· To remove grease stains, simply use warm, soapy water.
4. Rinse clean. Use a cloth dampened in warm water to gently and lightly rinse off the cleaning solution. Dab dry with a soft towel using the same process as cleaning painted walls and take a break: your wallpapered walls are clean!
Method 4 Cleaning Wooden Walls
1. Dust the walls. Use a broom, dustpan brush or a brush attachment on the end of a vacuum cleaner. Since there’s no paint on the wall, you can be a little less gentle with the wooden walls in this step. Dust to your heart’s content!
2. Use warm, soapy water to wash down the walls. Supplement a mild detergent solution and with warm water to make the perfect wooden wall-cleaning mixture.
3. Create a vinegar mixture to remove any stains. Mix ½ cup of white vinegar and warm water in a bucket. Dip in a towel and rub the stains out until your walls are as good as new.
4. Rinse walls with clean water. No need for any more detergent! Use some plain water to rinse the walls and dry them well with a clean towel. Make sure that the walls are completely dry to prevent possible wood rot.