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What Is The Best Way To Clean Walls Before Painting?



So, you’ve finally decided to revitalise your space by adding a splash of colour to the walls?

Yes, painting your walls can refresh the interiors, but cleaning walls is important for the flawless finish you wish to achieve. Many do-it-yourselfers think a clean wall doesn’t need to be prepped or cleaned before painting.

But do you know what happens when you slather paint on walls without prepping them? Applying paint over walls covered in dust prevents the new paint from adhering to them. Even if the paint adheres, it won’t dry properly, affecting the finish.

So, cleaning the walls is important before starting your paint job, but what’s the best way to clean them? We asked professional painters the same question, and they shared a few tips and tricks, which we’ve shared in this guide.

Let’s get started on how to wash walls!

How To Clean Walls Before Painting?

Sure, cleaning your walls before painting is quite a chore, but you mustn’t ignore it at any cost to help the paint adhere to your existing wall surface. While you can wipe the wall with cleaning products or a cleaning solution, wiping alone may not remove grime and stubborn impurities.

Washing walls is one of the best ways to clean them, especially if they are covered with sticky liquids, grease, or a thick layer of dust. You can’t skip cleaning walls if you want to start your painting project off right.

Many major paint manufacturers and major paint companies express that you must prep walls before painting them. So, let’s explore how you can get rid of dirt, accumulated grease, grime and other impurities from wall surfaces.

1. Use A Clean Cloth To Remove Dust From Your Walls

Getting rid of dust should be your priority because it can prevent the binders in the paint from adhering to the surface of your wall. Use a duster or a clean cloth to remove cobwebs and dust from interior walls.

2. Wipe Your Walls With A Damp Sponge

A dry cloth will remove dust and cobwebs but won’t do much to eliminate rough spots or stubborn stains. That’s why you’ll have to use a mild detergent or mild dishwashing liquid soap and rinse it with a cloth or slightly damp cellulose sponge to scrub the wall surface and clean smears and scuffs.

Be it grease stains on kitchen walls or crayon stains on kids’ bedroom walls, using TSP (trisodium phosphate) can prove helpful in scrubbing stubborn stains. If TSP isn’t available, you can use baking soda for tough stains.

While warm water is excellent for cleaning walls, adding a grease-cutting detergent or other mild cleaning product will remove stubborn impurities more efficiently. Anyone who doesn’t wish to wash walls with warm water must wipe them with a mild detergent and wet sponge in a circular motion to eliminate all impurities from the painting surface.

3. Remove Mould And Mildew

Simply getting rid of stains isn’t enough. You’ll have to remove mould and mildew before painting walls to avoid them from spreading and ruining the appearance of the wall.

Among all the options, the most common is to use bleach to remove mould and mildew from walls. All you need to do is mix water with bleach in a 3:1 ratio, pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray it onto the areas where these microscopic fungi grow.

Allow it to sit undisturbed for some time before wiping the surface with a damp cloth. When spraying bleach-water solution, wear rubber gloves and eye goggles to ensure it doesn’t come in contact with your eyes or skin. Exposure to bleach can cause irritancy, resulting in swelling.

If soapy water and bleach do nothing to eliminate mould and mildew, you’ll have to use a more potent residual cleaning agent to remove them.

4. Sand Walls For A Smooth Finish

After wiping walls, you must leave them to dry completely for a few hours before sanding them to start your painting project.

This is particularly useful for already painted walls where the paint is chipping or those with rough spots. A sanding block and fine-grain sandpaper are all that you need to smooth out irregularities and bumps from walls. When walls are sanded, they become smooth; as a result, paint adheres better on them than on unsanded surfaces.

Mistakes To Avoid When Cleaning Your Walls Before Painting

1. Not Removing Wall Decor

Before you wash the walls, you should remove any wall decorations, such as pictures, shelves, and other items that are fastened to the surface. These items can be damaged during the cleaning process.

2. Not Testing Cleaning Products

Make sure any cleaning product you intend to use on walls is safe by testing it on an inconspicuous area.

3. Applying Too Much Pressure

When cleaning the walls, use a gentle touch. Too much pressure can damage the wall and its foundation. 

4. Not Rinsing the Walls

After you wash walls before painting, it is important to rinse them with a clean, damp cloth. This will help remove any cleaning chemicals that may have been left behind.

5. Not Letting the Walls Dry

After rinsing the walls, let them dry completely before painting. The paint may not adhere properly if the walls are not completely dry.

When Can You Skip Washing Walls?

Don’t have time to undertake this arduous task before painting? We’ve enlisted the conditions for skipping washing walls before painting them.

  • You don’t have furry friends at home
  • There isn’t excessive dust present on the walls
  • No grease or crayon stains
  • Neither bathing nor cooking takes place, meaning you should always wash the bathroom and kitchen walls.
  • Your home doesn’t have a wood-burning fireplace.

Besides, the spaces which you don’t need to wash with TSP or detergents include are as follows:

  • Powder room used only for hand-washing purposes
  • Family room that doesn’t have a fireplace
  • The dining room, where only eating takes place
  • Adult bedrooms
Achieving A Professional Finish: Tips On How To Clean Walls Before Painting

Though not a fun DIY task that you’d like to do, cleaning walls before painting is something you can rarely skip.

Sparing a few hours to clean dirt, grime, stubborn stains, mould, and mildew can impart a professional finish to your walls. Hence, neither your money nor your efforts would go in vain.

Before cleaning, remove all the room’s draperies, mirrors, paintings and pictures. Also, move all the furniture to the centre of your space and lay tarps or drop clothes to prevent them from staining.

If you’re painting for the first time, we suggest using masking tape to cover surfaces you don’t wish to stain.

If you require assistance or advice for painting your home, our team at Master Of Paint is here to help! We are experienced in all aspects of painting, from helping you select the ideal colour palette for your project to painting a newly built home. So, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us!

That’s all we have for you today cleaning walls before painting. Before painting your home, read our guide on what mistakes to avoid when choosing exterior paint!


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