Living Space: How to clean painted walls
Freshly painted walls can instantly brighten up a room, making a dingy space feel cleaner, brighter and more appealing. It’s also a far less expensive option than putting up new drywall or buying new furniture for a room, and for this reason, paint is often the first tool homeowners and renters turn to when looking to improve a space. Once you’ve taken the time to paint a room, keep it looking fresh with regular cleaning and maintenance.
Preventive maintenance for freshly painted walls.
Preventive maintenance means less time spent scrubbing later. Maintain a freshly painted look on your walls by keeping them free of dust and spots. First, vacuum 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, or scrubbing at stubborn spots too hard.
How to clean walls painted with latex paint.
You can wash walls painted with latex paint using 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 or other electrical connections. When scrubbing those spots becomes necessary, turn off electricity at the circuit breaker box before cleaning.
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.
How to clean walls painted with oil-based paint.
You can wash walls painted with oil-based paint in the same manner as latex-painted walls, 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 more thoroughly.
(Better Homes and Gardens is a magazine and website devoted to ideas and improvement projects for your home and garden, plus recipes and entertaining ideas. Online at www.bhg.com.)
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