Dirty walls can make your home look filthy no matter how much dusting, mopping and vacuuming you do. Walls tend to pick up dirty handprints, splatters, scuff marks and other blemishes that combine to leave your home looking worn and unkept.
If your walls have flat paint, simply scrubbing the smudges away will not work. In fact, if the proper techniques aren’t used, the flat paint can be damaged. The last thing that you want is to deal with a big painting project. What does it take to clean walls with flat paint?
How to Determine If You Have Flat Finish Walls
There are several types of paint finishes, and these finishes describe paint’s luster. Paint with a flat finish dries with a matte surface. It has no sheen. The eggshell, semi-gloss, satin and high-gloss finishes are easier to clean because of their glossy finish. More than that, the gloss tends to conceal blemishes better than matte paint does. This means that walls with flat finish paint may be more likely to show spots and more difficult to clean.
Before cleaning your walls, you need to determine if you are dealing with a flat finish. Shine a flashlight or the light from your phone directly on the wall. Does the paint reflect the light or seem to absorb it? Flat paint will not reflect light.
How Often to Clean Flat Painted Walls
Because flat paint lacks the protective gloss coating that the other paint finishes have, the walls should be cleaned carefully. If you scrub too hard or use the wrong materials and techniques, the paint may fade or wipe off the drywall. Because of the possibility of damaging the flat paint, it is best to spot clean blemishes as needed.
However, do not scrub the walls from top to bottom. More frequent cleaning sessions are needed to remove dust, cobwebs and other debris. You can use a duster or clean rag to gently brush off the debris every week or two.
How to Clean Flat Paint Walls
Cleaning flat paint walls without damaging the paint requires the right steps. Whether you are dealing with dirt smudges, scuff marks or other blemishes, these are the steps to follow.
Gather Your Supplies
You will need laundry detergent, a foam cleanser, a magic eraser sponge, white vinegar, a dry towel and a clean cloth or sponge. You should also have a paintbrush and a can of touch-up paint nearby.
Clean as Soon as Possible
Many types of wall stains can set in if they sit for a long period of time. This makes the cleaning process more difficult. As soon as you notice a stain on flat paint walls, rub it gently with a sponge or cloth soaked in clean water. Avoid using too much pressure and friction as you may damage the paint.
In many cases, cleaning a spot on a wall with flat paint using only water is effective. However, if the spot remains, you can clean it with vinegar. Dab a small amount of white vinegar on the sponge or rag. There is no need to dilute it. Using the vinegar, lightly rub on the stain.
Clean with an Eraser Sponge
An eraser sponge may be more likely to damage paint than water or vinegar, but it can effectively remove stubborn stains. Wet the eraser sponge according to the product’s packaging instruments. Lightly wipe the stain with the sponge. Check the sponge often to see if paint is coming off of the wall.
Clean with a Foaming Cleaner or Laundry Detergent
If you use laundry detergent to clean a wall with flat paint, dilute a tablespoon of liquid soap with a gallon of water. Dip the clean cloth or sponge in the cleaning agent, and gently clean the smudge.
Rinse and Dry the Wall
You should not allow the soap or cleaning agent used to remain on the wall. Use a rag or sponge dipped in clean water to wipe the wall after cleaning off the blemishes. Then, use a dry cloth to absorb as much of the water as possible. To avoid damaging the paint, dab the wall rather than rubbing it.
Touch Up the Paint
In many cases, these techniques to clean a wall with flat paint are effective. If you have damaged the paint, you can touch it up using a clean paint brush as soon as the wall is dry. If you have not been able to remove the stain with these methods, you can try to cover over it with touch-up paint.
Removing Scuff Marks from Flat Paint Walls
Scuff marks can be problematic on flat paint walls. Often, a special cleaning technique is needed to remove the scuff marks without damaging the paint. You will need baking soda and a clean, damp sponge or cloth to get the job done. Add a small amount of baking soda to the sponge or cloth, and wipe the scuff mark. The baking soda is slightly abrasive, so proceed with a light motion.
As an alternative, you can clean the mark using an eraser or melamine sponge.
You can also use a mild detergent or dish soap mixed with warm water on a damp cloth or sponge. Gently rub the scuff mark with the soapy solution using a circular motion. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as it can cause the paint finish to fade or leave a noticeable shiny spot on the wall.
Remove Crayon from Flat Painted Walls
Kids love to express their creativity with crayons, and blank walls are often a preferred medium. Crayons are waxy, so special cleaning steps are required. As a first step, use a hair dryer to blow warm air on the marks. This will melt the crayon marks, making it easier to remove them. Using a paper towel or microfiber cloth dampened with water and a small amount of dish soap, lightly rub the marks.
Can you wash walls that have flat paint?
You can wash walls with flat paint, but you must do so carefully and use the appropriate techniques and cleaning agents. Never rub the spots too hard as the paint may come off. Cleaning products that work well with flat paint are baking soda, liquid detergent, vinegar or an eraser sponge. Before trying these methods, though, attempt to wipe the spots with plain water.
Is flat paint hard to clean?
Unlike glossy paint that has a shiny protective coating, flat paint does not have a coating. This means that it is more likely to get dirty and more easily damaged during the cleaning process. Cleaning flat paint walls without damaging them can be difficult. Because of this, you could have touch-up paint and a paintbrush available to use, if needed.
How do you protect flat paint on walls?
Compared to paints with a glossier finish, flat paint walls are more prone to damage during the cleaning process. You should only use a gentle cleaning motion and clean water or other safe agents to clean flat paint walls.
You can minimize the need to clean the walls by dusting away dirt and debris every week or two. If your flat paint walls continue to get dirty and smudged often, such as in a high-traffic area of the home, it may be best to repaint the walls using a higher-gloss paint that is easier to clean. Glossier paint also makes smudges less visible.
What is best to use to clean painted walls?
When cleaning painted walls, you should only use safe agents and a clean rag or melamine sponge. Safe agents include baking soda, clean water, vinegar, an eraser sponge or liquid soap. Before applying any cleaning agents to an obvious area of the wall, clean a test area in a less obvious area. Examples of good test areas may be behind furniture or behind a door that usually remains open.
From the walls and baseboards to the mirrors, windows, floors and more, all of the surfaces in your home can become filthier over time. While regular cleaning is important, routine chores often don’t involve cleaning the walls and many other surfaces. With Cleanzen’s deep cleaning services in Boston, you can have the pristine home and healthy living environment that you want without lifting a finger.