State University Extension
Home Maintenance And Repair - 01500185
Washing Painted Walls, Woodwork
Gloss or semi-gloss enamels are less likely to be damaged by cleaning
than is flat latex paint. Test cleaning solution in an inconspicuous
corner first; if wall color and finish look the same--but cleaner--go
ahead and use.
Wash or spot clean most painted surfaces with a solution of water and
mild detergent (such as hand dishwashing liquid), or a mild commercial
household cleaner, that says on label is safe for painted surfaces.
Rinse off thoroughly with clear water.
If walls are very dirty, use a stronger alkali solution such as 2
tablespoons ammonia or tablespoon trisodium phosphate or 2 tablespoons
laundry detergent powder in 1 gallon warm (not hot) water. Stronger
solutions remove some of the paint. Always rinse off. Gloss or
semi-gloss enamels are less likely to be damaged by cleaning than is
flat latex paint. Test cleaning solution in an inconspicuous corner
first; if wall color and finish look the same--but cleaner--go ahead
1. Before washing, dust or vacuum walls to remove loose soil.
2. Use one bucket for washing solution and one for rinsing, and a large
cellulose sponge for each bucket.
3. Wear rubber gloves to protect hands.
4. Start washing at the bottom and work up, so cleaning solution does
not run down the dirty wall and cause streaks that are hard to remove.
5. Rub gently to avoid damage to paint.
6. Wash and rinse one area; then do the next overlapping area.
7. After doing several areas, dry off excess moisture with soft
absorbent cloths or towels, which can be laundered and reused.
This article was written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus.
to main page
This information is for
educational purposes only. References to commercial products or trade
names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those
not mentioned. This information becomes public property upon
publication and may be printed verbatim with credit to MSU Extension.
Reprinting cannot be used to endorse or advertise a commercial product
MSU is an
employer. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials
are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender,
gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political
beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran
status. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and
June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Thomas G. Coon, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing,MI 48824. This
information is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial
products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or
bias against those not mentioned.
information.was reviewed as
of June 2008. For more information about the contents please
for webpage problems