Washing walls is a daunting, time-consuming chore but a build-up of dirt, grime, smoke, fingerprints, crayon and food splashes makes it necessary! Cleaning your walls also freshens your home, maintains your wall colour and extends the life of your paint. Following is advice for undertaking this formidable task without damaging the paint on your walls.


  • Prep the Room: Remove artwork from the walls and push furniture to the center of the room. Place towels or a drop cloth at the base of the walls.
  • Dust walls and baseboards: Use a towel covered broom, a dry mop, a foam craft brush, a lamb’s wool duster or the soft brush attachment on your vacuum to remove dust from your walls and baseboards Work from the top down.
  • Choose your tool: A soft dye-free sponge or a lint free cloth work well.
  • Prepare your solution: Try using a gallon of plain water to wash a section of wall. If this doesn’t remove the dirt, add a few drops of dish soap. Test again. If the cleaner still doesn’t remove the marks, add a ½ cup of white vinegar (a natural degreaser). If you need more cleaning power, add ¼ baking soda and a cup of ammonia to your solution.
  • Wash: Do a section at a time. Wring your sponge/cloth out well after each section and change water frequently to avoid streaking. Use gentle pressure to protect your paint. Start at the top and work toward the bottom.
  • Dry: Each time you complete a section of wall, dry it with a towel to prevent streaking and water damage.
  • Deal with stubborn stains: Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply to stubborn stains. Rub gently. Remove with clean water and a cloth. Test on an inconspicuous area before moving on to more visible areas of your wall. Grease stains in the kitchen may require a commercial degreaser.
  • Rinse all walls with clean water drying sections as you go. If possible, open windows to help with air flow.


Other Tips:

  • Turn off the electricity before wetting areas around outlets, light switches, telephone jacks and other electrical connections.
  • Never use a “scratchy” sponge.
  • If your cleaning solution does not remove the dirt from painted woodwork, wipe using a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol.

Directions for different types of paint


  • Flat, satin and/or eggshell finishes do best with as little water as possible so wring your sponge/cloth thoroughly. Avoid harsh cleaners and degreasers. Scrub gently.


  • Glossy and semi-gloss finishes can handle a little more water and a mild degreaser.


Between kids, pets, guests and cooking, walls get dirty! Clean your walls regularly to keep your house looking fresh and stain-free.

Looking for advice on the best paint for your home improvement project? Call Calgary’s independent paint and blinds store West Hillhurst Paint + Design at (403) 270-9696 or email at kyle@westhillhurstpaint.com Our knowledgeable professional design associates provide high quality paint, a wide selection of blinds and advice for home projects. We offer excellent service and a variety of products to match any budget. Call for a consultation today!

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