A Damage-Free Wall Cleaning Guide

Portrait of happy woman holding in her hands cleaning products while standing at home and starting to clean.

In a literal sense, and from a stylistic point of view; walls hold your entire home together! The colours, patterns and cleanliness of your walls play a major role in converting your house into a beautiful home. That’s why cleaning and maintaining walls should be a priority for every homeowner.

Walls are prone to smudges, grease marks, dust, cobwebs and finger marks. If you have little ones running around the house with paint and play dough on their fingers, your walls may have bear a lot more. Any which way, it is inevitable to keep your walls spotlessly clean forever; but that doesn’t mean you should leave them dirty either. Yes, it can be scary to clean your own walls for fear of damaging them; not to mention intimidating as it’s a vast area to clean. But with a little knowledge on the job at hand, this step by step guide is fairly easy to follow.

Step 1: Wall Cleaning Preparation is Now in Session

To prepare for the forthcoming wall cleaning, move all the furniture to the middle of the room so that you have enough space to work and the water doesn’t splash where it’s not supposed to. Secondly, put some old towels or sheets down to absorb drips. The third and final thing to complete the preparation stage is to gather all the items you will require to clean your walls:

  • Long handled broom (grass brooms work perfectly)
  • 2 Buckets
  • Wall cleaning solution or mild detergent
  • Soft sponges (nothing abrasive whatsoever!)
  • Ladder
  • Clean absorbent cloths

Step 2: Rid the Walls of Dust and Cobwebs

Use a long handled broom to take down cobwebs and remove dust from the corners of the walls. For out of reach places, climb onto the ladder and use the broom or a dusting rag to wipe the walls. For the remainder of the wall, simply glide the broom across the wall in a back and forth motion to wipe away all the dust.

Step 3: Make Your Cleaning Solution

In about 1 gallon of water, mix in 1 cup of wall cleaning solution. There are different types of wall cleaning solutions available so be sure to ask the store clerk for one that’s suitable for your paint type (i.e. glossy finish, semi-glossy or flat paint). Alternatively, you can use a mild cleaning detergent (about half a cup in 1 gallon of water) if your walls are just a little soiled. Stir the solution gently until suds are formed; this is when the real cleaning can begin. HOWEVER, it is advisable to test your cleaning solution on a small, hidden portion of the wall first, to ensure that it is not too harsh or causing any discolouration to the walls. If the solution is too strong, add more water until you’re satisfied with the test results.

Step 4: Start from the Bottom and Make Your Way Up

Never start from the top because this will cause dirty water to run down your walls and stain as it’s drying up. Keep the second bucket ready with clean water and another sponge at hand. Start by dipping the sponge in the cleaning solution and squeeze out all the excess soapy water. Using minimal force, gently wipe the wall from one bottom corner and slowly make your way to the other. After every portion cleaned with the soapy water, rinse it by using the clean sponge and water (squeeze out excess clean water). As you start cleaning upwards, use the clean sponge to wipe any drips that run down the already cleaned portions.

Step 5: Finish Up with Blotting

After you’ve cleaned an entire wall from side to side, bottom to top; take a clean cloth and blot any areas with excess dampness. If the cloth itself gets too damp, take another dry one and continue before you move on to cleaning the next wall.

Important Wall Cleaning Tips:

  • Never use extra force when cleaning your walls or you might remove the paint. For stubborn marks, go over them again and again using minimal pressure as opposed to one hard scrub.
  • Don’t leave a wall mid-way washed; finish the entire wall and then take a break. This is because continuous dampening and drying of the wall with soapy water can create a wave-like detergent mark.
  • Make sure your walls are dust-free before you start washing. Even a little dust in the corners can be smeared across the wall which is harder to remove as the moisture makes it cling to the wall more.
  • For more densely soiled walls, try a solution of 1 cup borax; 1 cup white vinegar; and 1 cup clear ammonia mixed in 1 gallon of water.
Karen Saunders


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