“Ugh, my walls are dirty! Now I have to spend a huge amount of money to fix them.” Stained, dirty, dingy walls can seem overwhelming to deal with and definitely can be easy to add to your “I’ll take care of that later” list. However, with just a couple of household products, a little time and some thoughtful work, you can have those walls shining, refreshing, and welcoming once again.
Gather and Prepare
Before you begin, it’s very important to gather all the supplies you will need and then to prepare the room for the work.
- Protective coverings – You can use plastic painter’s drop cloths, old sheets, blankets, towels or even newspapers.
- Duster – Ideally, you want to use a dusting brush with a long handle, but a broom covered with a rag or cloth would work as well. A vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment could also be used.
- Step ladder – You will need a step ladder or step stool that will allow you to safely reach the top of the walls.
- Two buckets – Both should be filled three quarters of the way up with warm water. Be sure they are at least one gallon in size and clean.
- Soap solution – Using one of your water buckets, mix in a mild household cleaner or dish soap until it’s a little sudsy. As an alternative, white vinegar can also be used at a ratio of one cup vinegar for each gallon of water. Avoid any solvent or alcohol based cleaners as these may damage the wall paint or wallpaper.
- Spot cleaner – An easy, effective spot remover can be made using a 1/8 cup of baking soda mixed thoroughly in one quart of warm water. This solution can be used in a spray bottle or by dabbing with a clean rag.
- Clean rags – You will need several clean rags for washing and spot cleaning. Be sure to save some for drying too.
Prepare the room. It is always best to put small items and breakables away. Then you will need to move everything off of and away from the walls toward the middle of the room. Leave enough space to use your dusting device and your step ladder. Don’t forget to unplug the power cords! Finally, drape everything left in the room, including carpets and flooring, with your protective coverings.
Spots, Stains, and Mold
Be sure to remove spots, stains or mold before washing and rinsing the walls. Using your home made spot cleaner, apply some to a clean rag and directly to the spot, then wipe until clean.
Dusting, Washing, and Drying
Alright, the prep work is now done and you are ready for the four step cleaning process: dusting, washing, rinsing and drying.
- Dusting. Pick a doorway or corner to start, then use your duster to start at the ceiling and brush downwards to the floor. Be sure to overlap slightly each stroke from the last and methodically go around the entire room. If you are using the step ladder, do the top half of the walls first, then the bottom half, following the same method.
- Washing. Using the bucket of soapy water and a clean rag, follow the same method as used for dusting. You will want to wring out most of the water from the rag before applying it to the walls and then every after every couple of passes.
- Rinsing. Wait about five minutes after washing and then use the bucket of clean water along with a clean rag to wipe the walls a second time as a rinse. Be watchful of the water color and change it once it looks dirty.
- Drying. After finishing the rinse, use two clean rags, one in each hand to dry the walls.