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By: Rain City Maids
Jun 03, 2024

Whether it's smudges, fingerprints, or mysterious marks seemingly appearing out of nowhere, walls can accumulate a surprising amount of grime. However, as cleaning walls is not as usual as other chores, not all homeowners know the proper way to clean them.

If the fear of damaging your walls while cleaning them holds you back, we got you! In this blog, we'll walk you through the process, ensuring your walls look fresh and vibrant without risking any harm to their surfaces. 

What to consider before you clean the walls

In the quest to make your walls pristine, there are a couple of essential things you need to pay attention to avoid ruining them. Check them out:

Types of paint and wallpapers

There are various types of paint homeowners can choose from if they want to go for a certain look in their houses. Depending on the paint you have, the methods need to be more or less delicate. If you don't know which kind you have, here's how to identify the most common ones:

  • Flat/Matte. As its name suggests, matte paint (also known as flat) doesn't have any shine. Due to its non-reflective properties, it gives the walls a uniform color throughout.
  • Eggshell. Similar to matte, eggshell paint doesn't have a shine to it, yet it has a luster similar to the texture on the surface of an eggshell.
  • Satin. Satin paint gives your walls a pearl- or velvet-like appearance. This type of paint has a low-shine look and can give the walls a gradient effect—from darker to lighter.
  • Semi-gloss and high-gloss. These two types of paint are easily identifiable as they can give your walls a metallic-like look, especially high-gloss paint.

If you find it hard to identify your type of paint, follow this visual guide.

The same goes if you have wallpaper on your walls. However, although there are different types of wallpapers, you can basically categorize them as washable or non-washable.

  • Washable. Vinyl, fiberglass, polyester, and fabric wallpapers.
  • Non-washable. Traditional, non-woven, foil, flock, grasscloth, and bamboo wallpapers.

You can check the label to find out what type you have—if it isn't possible, the best is to treat it as non-washable.

Dos and don'ts of wall cleaning

Besides the type of paint, you also need to know a few generals to ensure your walls remain safe while you clean them.

  • Dust the wall. Whether you're going to clean a painted wall or one covered with wallpaper, dust it first—even if it looks clean. Failing to do so can create a muddy mess when you reach the point where you need to use water.
  • Spot-test. Although we'll share with you cleaners to keep your walls spotless without damage, always spot-test before going all in. This way, you could prevent unexpected results.
  • Clean in small areas. This way, you won't risk humidity seeping due to leaving the cleaning solution sitting for too long before drying it.
  • Don't use bleach. No matter how tough a stain looks, don't try bleach on your walls. In the best scenario, you'll decolorize the spot, and in the worst case, you'll ruin the area—especially if you use it on wallpaper.
  • Don't scrub harshly. The same as bleach. Paint and wallpapers can only withstand a certain amount of harshness before wearing out. Be gentle if you want to keep your walls in good shape.
  • Don't leave your walls to dry on their own. It could seem like a pretty harmless thing to do, but moisture on walls can facilitate mold and mildew growth. So be sure to dry them as quickly as possible—for example, using a fan or a dry cloth.
  • Don't clean a newly painted wall. To clean a freshly painted wall, you need to wait at least two weeks before using any cleaners or water.

How to clean walls with flat/matte paint

This type of paint is the least durable of them all and the most vulnerable to damage, so you need to clean your matte walls more carefully than the rest. Here's how to do it:

  1. Grab a clean microfiber cloth and dampen it with clean, warm water.
  2. Wring the cloth until it's barely damp.
  3. Work the stained area with gentle, circular motions.
  4. If the stain persists, add a sprinkle of dish soap to the water and rub it again.
  5. If you use soapy water, rinse the area with another clean, dampened cloth.

Note: Don't apply water directly on your walls; always use a microfiber cloth.

How to clean walls with eggshell and satin paint

These two types of paint are more durable and resistant than flat types, but that doesn't mean you can be super harsh with them. Follow these steps to keep your walls clean and safe:

  1. Fill a bucket with one gallon of warm water and a squirt of dish soap.
  2. Dip a kitchen sponge in your soapy solution and wring it to remove excess liquid.
  3. Clean the area with the soft side of the sponge, applying a bit of pressure.
  4. Rinse your sponge, then dip it in clean water and remove the excess.
  5. Remove the soapy residue from the walls with the dampened sponge.

Note: For particularly challenging stains, you can use a magic eraser—just don't be too tough!

How to clean walls with glossy paint

Semi-gloss and high-gloss paints are the most durable of the bunch. They can withstand harsh cleaning methods—and more elbow grease—than other types of paint. Still, you can't just use any product on them. Check out the best way to clean them:

  1. Mix in a bucket one gallon of warm water, a drizzle of dish soap, and three tablespoons of baking soda. Swirl to mix everything well.
  2. Dip a kitchen sponge with your DIY mixture and use it to lightly scrub your walls with the soft side.
  3. For stubborn stains, rub them in circular motions with a soft toothbrush.
  4. Use a clean, dampened microfiber cloth to rinse the soapy remains.

Extra: You can use degreaser on your kitchen gloss and semi-gloss walls.

How to clean washable wallpaper

Even if they're washable, wallpapers require a bit more care than walls. Stains can get deeper into the material, and they're more likely to wear if you scrub them too much. Stick to these tips to avoid damage!

  1. Fill a bucket halfway with water and add a trickle of dye-free dish soap to create a DIY cleaner.
  2. Dampen a white microfiber cloth with the mixture and wring it until it is just slightly wet.
  3. Tap with your cloth over the areas you want to clean, doing gentle wiping motions.
  4. Immediately after wiping, rinse and dry with different microfiber white cloths.

Note: Most wallpapers come with manufacturer instructions on how to clean them. If you have them available, be sure to check them.

How to clean non-washable wallpaper

As the name indicates, water is a no-no with non-washable wallpapers. The only things you can do to address dirt and dust in this kind of wallpaper are to use a microfiber or feather duster and then vacuum it. You can also use an artist gum eraser to tackle stubborn stains.

If the stains are too challenging, don't push it, or you could end up damaging the wallpaper. In the end, the best solution might be to replace it.

We have more tips to solve your cleaning needs!

Keeping your house looking good constantly can get tedious. Luckily, Rain City Maids has tons of tips to make your daily cleaning chores easier and get excellent results! From tips on how often to vacuum your place to the best order to clean your home, we have it all. Take a look!

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