How to Clean Walls with Flat Paint

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Flat paint is a great choice for various surfaces because it works well with sprayers and rollers. It also effectively masks defects from walls that’s why it’s the first choice for many homeowners.

how to clean walls with flat paint

However, there are some drawbacks of using this paint like: you are going to notice smudges, scuffs, or fingerprints on your fresh wall. The other thing is that it reacts pretty badly with moisture. If you were thinking of going with flat paints, don’t get disappointed. All you need to know is how to clean walls with flat paint?

First, remove all the loose dust and dirt from the wall. For the remaining stains, try to clean them with water only, if it doesn’t work, use a solution made up of dishwashing liquid and warm water. Next, clean the solution residue from the surface and add retouches with matching paint if required.

Also Read: Why Spray Paint Wrinkle?

How to Know that You Have Flat Paint Walls?

Though scuffs, defects, or smudges appear on flat walls comparatively quicker than other paint types, you may find scuffs or smudges appearing on any walls very quickly.

That’s why it’s not enough to prove that the wall is painted with flat paint just by looking at some imperfections. So, how do you know that you have walls with flat paint?

It’s simple; you can test yourself just by observing how your walls behave with light rays. If you notice your walls are absorbing the light instead of causing the light to bounce off then consider your walls are painted with flat paint.

How Often Do You Need to Clean Flat Painted Walls?

The straightforward answer is: you need to clean the flat painted walls regularly. The best thing to do is to clean them twice a month but if you are on the lazy squad like me, cleaning them once a month will do. 

You need to pay attention to some places that are regularly used like: light switches, doorknobs, etc. Don’t let these areas get affected by smudges and dirt; they look ugly. The sooner you decide to clean them the better.

You don’t need to worry too much about wet cleaning. Cleaning it with water once or twice a year will be sufficient.

How to Clean Walls with Flat Paint?

Before you begin, you need to collect some supplies. After collecting all the supplies, you will be ready to start the cleaning process.

Things You Will Need:

  • Sponge
  • Regular water
  • Warm water
  • Spray bottle
  • White vinegar
  • Towels
  • Bucket
  • Regular laundry detergent or dish soap
  • Matching paint
  • Paintbrush

Okay, it’s time to clean the walls. Let’s begin with removing the dust.

Step 1: Cleaning Loose Dust

Before using water and any solvents on your walls, it’s better to remove the loose dust first. Directly applying water and solvents before cleaning the dry and loose dust from your walls may make your work even harder. So, it’s necessary to clean the dry dirt and cobwebs from your walls.

To begin cleaning, you can use a feather duster to gently sweep over the wall. You may use a cloth or towel for this if you don’t have a duster. If the dirt is a little bit stubborn and seems like it won’t go away with just sweeping, you need to use a sponge. You don’t need to use water yet, just apply mild pressure and remove the dirt.

Step 2: Cleaning with Warm Water

After all the dry objects and dirt are gone, it’s time to use some warm water to clean your walls. You need to check if you can clean the stains and smudges just by applying warm water. This will be way safer than using any harsh cleaning agents in the first place.

Take the sponge and dip it into the bowl of warm water. Squeeze the sponge to remove the excess water. Now, place the sponge over the stained area and clean it, maintaining a gentle pressure. Try using the sponge in a circular motion; it will make your work easier and more fun.

Step 3: Making a Cleaning Solution

After you are done with all the easy techniques, it’s time to try the hard way! Take a regular dishwashing liquid and some warm water. The ratio should be 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid for 1 quart of water. Now mix them well. You may use dishwashing soap or regular laundry detergent as well.

Additionally, you can use white vinegar to make your solution even stronger and more effective. This will help clean the surface as well as destroy mold and mildew growth. You need to add one-half cup for 1 quart of the previous water and dishwashing liquid mixture.

Step 4: Start Cleaning

Firstly, make sure you start working from the top to the bottom of your walls; this will make your work easier and organized. Now take your sponge and submerge it into the solution. Wring out the excess water and start wiping over the soiled areas maintaining a gentle pressure.

Keep rinsing and repeating the process until you are satisfied. But be careful don’t scrub too hard as this may damage the paint.

Note: You can take the solution in a spray bottle and spray it directly on the soiled area and clean the stain using a sponge. This will save you from dipping the sponge in the solution every now and then.

Step 5: Cleaning with Soap and Warm Water

If you are using soap and water to clean your walls, you should never use soap directly on the surface especially if the soap is known to contain strong and harsh chemicals. This may damage the paint.

Always use the soap in a small amount to make the solution. Now test it on a small portion of the wall where normally no one would notice.

If the solution seems to not work properly, slightly increase the amount of soap or detergent, and if you notice that the solution is damaging the paint, add more water to it to balance things up.

Step 6: Removing the Soap Residue

After you are done with the soap and water solution, it’s time to clean your walls because you don’t want to get more trouble from soap residue as it may dry and leave a soapy stain. To clean your walls, simply rinse the area with warm water.

After you are done, use a clean towel to remove excess moisture from the wall.

Step 7: Add Finishing Touches

You may find some stains or scuff marks so stubborn that all of your techniques above failed to remove them! And in most cases, the stains would be: some crayon masterpieces – thanks to your creative toddler or oil splatters – thanks to experimental cooking! Removing these is something close to impossible.

Wait, there is still hope. You can simply repaint the area with the matching paint color. And this is more like a sneaky shortcut.

However, there are drawbacks. Feathering the edges while repainting a small area can be very tricky. Try your best to clean the stained area and then repaint the spot.

How to Clean Scuff Marks Off Walls with Flat Paint?

To remove scuff marks from your wall you need to use a sponge. First, dampen the sponge using water and try to rub off the mark. If the mark is a little bit stubborn and seems like it won’t go away with just damp rubbing, you need to take a little amount of dishwashing liquid on the sponge.

Now, rub off the mark gently. Some people might suggest you use baking soda and it may seem legit because baking soda is great for removing stains. However, this is not an ideal thing for flat-painted walls as this may cause the paint to wear off.

How to Clean Dirt off Walls with Flat Paint?

If you are stuck with dirty latex painted wall and searching here and there to find out how to clean walls with flat latex paint? You can stop jumping from one forum to another because we got your answer.

Latex paint is washable; however, if the finish is flat, you need to take special care especially if the wall is painted with a deep shade. You can’t just go rough on a flat latex paint; it may get damaged easily. So, you need to be gentle and avoid harsh rubbing.

Now, let’s get to the step-by-step cleaning process.

Step 1: Cleaning the Loose Dirt

First, look for loose dirt on the wall. If you find any, just use a duster to get rid of them. You don’t need to use water for this. You can lay a dirty cloth on the floor to catch any dirt that drops; this will make your work less messy.

Step 2: Cleaning with Water and Dishwashing Liquid

For the remaining stains, you need to use water. Take a sponge and dip it in a bucket of water. Wring out excess water as much as possible. Now clean the spot using the sponge in a circular motion.

If there are still stains remaining, you may need to use a solution of dishwashing liquid and water. Take warm water and a little amount of dishwashing liquid, mix them well. Now apply the solution to the soiled area using a sponge.

If the whole wall is dirty, start working in a single small section at a time. Make sure to clean the sponge when it gets dirty so that this doesn’t make the previously cleaned area dirty again. Take a bucket of clean water and rinse the sponge frequently.

Step 3: Advanced Cleaning

If the stain is strong and none of the techniques work on it, you may need to use ammonia. However, laundry detergent will work as well, and you need to take either of the products just 2 tablespoons and dilute it in 1 gallon of warm water.

There is a warning though, this might damage your paint so test it in a small area first. Wait for a while to observe the result. If the sample area seems fine, you can apply it to your walls.

How to Clean White Walls with Flat Paint?

Before answering this question for flat white walls first, let’s see how you can clean simple, plain white walls. We can consider white paints on walls to be of two types in general: oil-based or water-based.

1. For Water-based Paint:

If your wall is painted with water-based paint, first of all, remove all the loose dirt and dust using a duster. Next, you need to use an all-purpose cleaner. Make sure you choose a mild cleaner especially if the wall is painted with flat paints because they are very delicate.

Now take a little amount of the all-purpose cleaner in a bucket of water and mix it well with water. Next, dip a sponge into the solution and gently run it over the soiled areas. Take special care of the areas that are regularly used.

Finally, take a bucket of clean water and dip your sponge in it. Now clean the areas with clean water.

2. For Oil-based Paint:

Remove all the loose dust like the previous one. Now you need to make a cleaning solution. To do that, you will need:

  • Vinegar: ¼ cup
  • Dishwashing Detergent: 1 teaspoon
  • Water (warm): 1 quart

Now, mix them well. After that, dip a sponge into the solution, wring out excess water, and wipe down the surface.

If the stains are strong, you will need to use a degreaser. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and apply the degreaser. This may take a while to work, so you need to be patient and leave it on the surface. After its job is done, simply rinsing it off using a sponge will be okay.

Finally, as we stated earlier that flat paints are very delicate so you need to be very careful while cleaning. Though these methods are not that harsh, still make a test in a small area first. If everything seems okay, apply the methods on your white walls with flat paint.

How to Clean Soot on Walls Painted With Flat Latex Paint?

If you were dealing with normal impurities, we would recommend using warm water. However, as you are dealing with soot you need to be careful about using water. Using the water in the first place may cause the soot to spread and make it an impossible task.

  • First, you need to vacuum the soot-affected area to remove the soot. Next, you need to clean the remaining soot using a chemical sponge or dry cleaning sponge. Simply wipe off the soot residue.
  • If there is soot remaining on your walls, you need to use the water and dishwashing liquid solution. Take 1-quart water and 3 to 4 squirts of the dish liquid, mix them well. Now apply it to small areas so that the soot doesn’t spread on the walls and make your work harder.
  • If there is a large amount of smoke, you need to take 4 to 6 tablespoons of TSP (Trisodium Phosphate) and a cup of chlorine bleach or detergent and mix them with 1 gallon of water, this is recommended by the U.S Fire Administration.

However, there are many bad effects of using TSP on your walls. This damages wildlife and plants. TSP is bad for your health as well, so we are not recommending this.

Final Thoughts

Your walls represent your choices, tastes and in other words “it represents you”. With regular usages, walls get dirty over time. With proper cleaning and maintenance, you can make your walls look lively for a long time.

In this guide, we tried to focus on some useful tips on how to clean flat paint walls so that you can get the feeling of having newly painted walls after every wall clean-up day.

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