Tips on How to Clean Walls and Hard Surfaces

Person wearing rubber gloves and using a sponge to remove crayon from a white wall.

We clean our bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and family rooms, but we may never think to clean our walls. Yet, cleaning walls should be a part of everyone’s regular cleaning routine. Painted walls should be dusted and cobwebs removed at least monthly. Of course, large splatters and crayon scribbles should be cleaned immediately.

Plan to clean your painted walls about once a year, and follow the directions below to avoid damaging the paint. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to clean walls.

  • Prepare for the Clean

The best way to wash walls requires a little planning, you must first clean any dust and debris off the walls. Have at least one bucket and sponge on hand to wash and then rinse the walls. For concrete walls, you will need a bristle brush. Your cleaning supplies should include baking soda, ammonia, and dish soap.

  • Dust and Clean Your Walls Before you Start

Before you begin the cleaning process, get out a long broom to reach high places and remove any cobwebs or hard-to-reach dust. A vacuum with an attachment that can reach 6 to 8 feet also works well. Once you have removed all of the visible dust you can begin the cleaning process. 

  • Get the Gentle Cleaning Solution Ready

Deciding what to use to clean walls depends on the type of finish that is on the wall. This will help you decide which cleaning solution will work best. Matte, flat, eggshell, or stain finishes require a mild cleaning solution. Use a small amount of dye-free hand soap or dishwashing detergent dissolved in warm water. You could also use natural cleaning ingredients like baking soda and rock salt if you prefer the natural cleaning solution approach.

Glossy and semi-gloss finishes are tougher to clean, so use cleaners with a degreasing agent for this type of paint. For instance, stronger types of dish soap or nonabrasive multipurpose cleaners are suitable for the job.

Oil-based paints can withstand a potent cleaner like ammonia mixed with water. Add one teaspoon of all-purpose cleaner per quart of warm water, and fill a second bucket with clean water for rinsing. We’ll go into more detail about cleaning painted walls later on in this article (see tip #9).

  • Spot Clean Stains

Saturate a microfiber cloth with water and baking soda to clean off any scuff marks, stains, or crayon. If the stain is greasy, use rock salt on a brush to rub it off.

The best way to wash walls and remove soil from painted areas around door knobs and baseboards is with rubbing alcohol on a sponge. For tougher stains, add two tablespoons of a cleaner that includes an abrasive, like borax, to the cleaning solution.

  • Gently Wipe the Surface with a Damp Sponge

Use a mixture of lukewarm water and mild soap and gently rub the area using a circular motion. Then rinse the walls using a damp cellulose sponge.

How to Clean Bathroom Walls and Showers

Knowing what to use to clean walls in your bathroom and shower will help you make them sparkle. For tile or natural stone walls, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water into a spray bottle. Spritz the solution onto surfaces and wipe them dry. 

If there are water stains on your bathroom walls and counters, you can clean them using a sponge that has been dampened with a mixture of ½ cup of vinegar, ¼ cup of baking soda, and ½ gallon of water.

How to Clean Concrete Walls

When it comes to cleaning walls, concrete is relatively easy. However, because it’s porous, it will also absorb more dirt. When cleaning a concrete wall, it’s important to let the cleaning solution soak in. Stronger cleaners will only need a minute or two to begin working, while you can allow natural solutions to soak for up to an hour. The best products to use when cleaning concrete are trisodium phosphate, vinegar, soap, and water, or hydrogen peroxide. You may need to put some muscle into cleaning a concrete wall by applying pressure and scrubbing with a bristle brush.

How to Clean Mold and Mildew off Walls

Cleaning mold and mildew off walls require a solution of 50% bleach and 50% water. Using bleach is important because it can kill mold spores and prevent them from spreading to other areas of your home. Bleach (even when diluted) is a corrosive chemical, so make sure you wear gloves and eye protection while cleaning. Also, take extra care to avoid getting the solution on other surfaces, especially if the wall you’re cleaning is in a room with carpet or wood floors. It’s best to use this solution in a plastic spray bottle, so you have more control over where the solution winds up. After cleaning, use a hair dryer or fan to dry the area. You may also want to repaint the moldy area using mold and mildew-resistant paint.

How to Clean Painted Walls

Before you get out the water bucket and sponges, determine what kind of paint is on the walls you intend to clean. Oil-based paint is usually found in high-moisture areas like bathrooms and is durable enough for frequent cleaning. Water-based or latex paint is commonly used on interior walls like your bedrooms, kitchen, dining area, and living room. This type of paint is not as receptive to repeated cleaning. Flat or matte paint, which is also used on interior walls throughout a home has no shine and is difficult to clean. Therefore, do not use harsh chemicals when cleaning walls that have a flat or matte finish. Walls painted with a satin or eggshell paint are easier to clean using just water and a sponge but do not use abrasive cleaners. High-gloss, on the other hand, is durable and cleans very easily with detergent.

How to Clean Crayon off Walls

Use an all-purpose cleaner on the crayon stains and wipe them down with paper towels. If the crayon still will not come off, use a dampened sponge and liquid dish soap to scrub in a circular motion. A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser can also be used to remove crayon stains as well.

How to Clean Smoke Off Walls and Ceilings

Cleaning smoke off a wall requires mixing a cup of white vinegar and ½ cup of baking soda with two cups of warm water. Dip a sponge in the mixture and wipe down the walls and ceilings. Repeat the process as many times as needed. You can also repaint the ceilings and walls after the surface is clean.

What Is the Best Solution to Clean Walls?

The best solution to clean walls is a simple one: warm water and gentle dish soap. This mixture works well on a variety of wall surfaces and finishes, which is why it is the preferred method for cleaning walls. In addition, it is one of the easiest solutions to use because it’s not abrasive, or corrosive, and it won’t harm other surfaces.

Keeping Your Walls Clean

How often you should clean your walls for regular maintenance depends on whether you open your doors and windows often, if you have kids and pets, and live in an urban area.  We recommend cleaning your walls at least once a year. For homes in areas with a high amount of pollen and other allergens, cleaning your walls every six months should help reduce the effects these allergens have on you and your family.

Why Choose Molly Maid Cleaning Services

Cleaning walls can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive task, but it’s also a necessary part of maintaining a clean home. If you need help cleaning other parts of your home, the cleaning pros at your local Molly Maid can help. Whether you need regular cleaning, occasional cleaning, or a one-time visit, we offer cleaning plans that will meet your needs and make your house sparkle. To schedule a free in-home estimate, give us a call or request an estimate online today.