Cleaning walls can often feel like a never ending task. Sometimes it can make me just want to avoid the task altogether, but I knew that there had to be an easier way out there to do it than to use the old rag/sponge method that I have seen floating around on the internet. Luckily, when I was trying to figure out how to wash dried-on soda off of a textured ceiling (don’t even ask how it got there in the first place, lol ) my easy method wall washing was born, and I will never do it any other way. Now you can learn how to wash walls fast too, plus there’s a guide for other wall washing methods as well.
I don’t know why we always seem to do things the hard way. I guess it’s human nature to do things the way you were taught?
Though when it comes to cleaning, if the hard way is the only way you know how, it probably isn’t going to happen as often as it should.
That absolutely won’t do when you have little ones about that depend on you to grow up in a healthy environment (let’s face it, there are days that I would really rather not do any cleaning at all, but I do the best that I can anyway because I love my kids).
Which is why I am always on the lookout for a better way to do things.
Before we dive into the easiest way to wash walls, I wanted to share with you first the traditional way to wash walls.
Then will teach you how I have simplified the process, how to clean walls with vinegar, how to disinfect walls, as well as any other tips I can think of.
We may as well call this a guide on how to wash walls.
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How To Clean Walls, The Traditional/Old Fashioned Way Like Grandma Did It.
Back in the day, sometimes all that was used to clean walls with was a rag and water… I’m not even joking. Have you seen Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs?
She cleans up their cottage that way…and of course there is some animal licking going on, but we won’t get into that…lol.
I know that was like the dorkiest example that I could give you guys, but you get the gist.
I discovered this was old-school cleaning common-place once when I was helping my grandmother clean out her linen closet.
She had me pull everything out of the closet, dust it out, and then only wipe down the parts that were actually visibly dirty with a wet rag and a bucket of water…
I was FLOORED when I realized that that is all it took (mind you that my grandma kept an immaculately clean home) because I was fully ready to get out some disinfecting wipes, or some spray of some sort, & wipe down every single surface in that closet from top to bottom before I organized everything and put it back.
It actually made me really step back and think about how obsessively I had been cleaning and that day I learned that I needed to chill out a bit, because if the hardest working woman I had ever met didn’t feel like it was necessary to keep going past cleaning with water, then I didn’t need to either.
Yes, a wet rag is the most basic way to wash walls or surfaces throughout the home, and I only recommend doing it in low-traffic areas because otherwise you really should use some sort of cleaning agent to wash away body oils and smudges that make our homes actually dirty.
The Easiest/Most Painless Way To Wash Walls.
If you know anything about me, you know that I try to make things as simple as possible, but I still want the same results as if I did it the hard way.
This is why I want to share my super time saving tip for washing walls.
It just so happens that I figured out this method of washing walls when I had such a large task ahead of me that I was so overwhelmed at the thought of it, that my choices were either have a good cry and do it anyway.
Which would take maybe a couple of hours, give up and let someone else worry about it, or to figure out a solution.
Lucky for us all, I decided to figure it out.
Washing the walls this way literally cuts the time and effort down to a fraction of what it used to take…especially if you have a home with vaulted ceilings like I do.
No need to get out a ladder and risk your safety!
All you need is a sturdy large pad mop (this is the one that I now use and LOVE) and your choice of multipurpose cleaner.
Work top to bottom, left to right, and gently spray (more mist than stream) the wall down with your wall cleaner of choice.
Apply some pressure and literally mop the wall.
Which wall cleaner works best?
I put it in a spray bottle with water and just a drop or two of the Sal Suds and wash my walls that way.
If Sal Suds isn’t an option for you, you can just use a little bit of dish soap in warm water, and fill a squirt spray bottle that way.
It seems to work best using a side to side motion then work your way down, I was always taught not to work against gravity when you’re cleaning or you give yourself more work in the long run with drips and having to go back over places and such.
It really is just that easy!
I usually grab a rag to help me with the bottom of the wall where the molding/trim is, but doing it this way (using the mop) saves SO MUCH TIME!
I’ve even done this successfully to get soda off of a ceiling that didn’t have a super-thick texture (you know, that task that I mentioned earlier that made me want to cry).
Anyway, this method has literally saved me several hours of cleaning each time that I do my annual, top to bottom, spring cleaning.
I’ve only tried this method with the kind of mop that I have, I found this kind of mop at my parents house and was so impressed with it that when I got home I promptly bought myself THE SAME STYLE OF MOP (mine just had better user reviews than my folks mop did…lol) because I love it so much (it’s super sturdy and this is coming from someone that has snapped her fair share of mop handles over the years…whoops).
*Please note that if your walls are really dusty you are going to want to take care of that first, so you are going to need to dust the walls.
Otherwise it’ll just make them look muddy after the first pass. If dusty is the case, I find it helpful to take my mop, with a fresh pad cover on, and just use the same mopping motions as I use when it is wet.
This should remove most, if not all, of the dust. You can always just keep swapping out the pad and repeating until it’s as dustless as you want it to be. Then just go ahead and wash your little heart out.
** I mop my tile this exact same way except I use a 70/30 water /vinegar solution to spray it down.
It also cuts the time I spend mopping down to a few minutes, even in my large kitchen and dining room. How does it save so much time you may ask?
The pad on the mop is huge so it covers a large surface area at once.
*** Certain cleaning solutions can leave your walls sticky if you wash them this way. You can always follow up with a water “rinse” spritz with your spray bottle and a fresh mop pad to avoid this.
How To Clean Walls With Vinegar
I love to clean with Natural cleaning solutions as often as possible, so I must tell you that I use White Distilled Vinegar to clean with on a daily basis.
Before I break down how to wash walls with vinegar, I wanted to tell you that I actually do not recommend cleaning all types of painted walls with vinegar…that is because Vinegar is acidic.
The problem with Vinegar being acidic is that certain finishes of paint on walls will get a bit of a haze and look like they need to be repainted if you’re not careful about what you are using to wash them with.
If your walls have a matte finish, or even eggshell, I highly suggest that you wash a test area first, in a non-conspicuous area, so that if it does react funny with your paint then you are not kicking yourself, or cursing me, for suggesting that you use Vinegar to clean them with.
I seem to find that the higher the gloss in the paint, the less washing with Vinegar has been a problem, at least in my experience with washing various types of painted walls.
There are two different ways that I recommend washing walls with Vinegar.
I did mention earlier in this post that I sometimes like to do a 70/30 mixture of water/vinegar, and most of the time (when we are all happy and healthy) that is absolutely sufficient, but if there is ever a time when there is sickness in your home, it needs to be a stronger solution to actually kill germs…more like 50/50.
Anyway, whichever water to Vinegar ratio that you decide is going to be best for the task at hand, you can either put it in a bucket and wash the walls with a rag and a sponge (you will need gloves for this part because of the acidity in the vinegar).
Or, you can add it to a fresh spray bottle (I always say fresh so that you’re not accidentally mixing chemicals) and spray it directly onto the wall and mop it off, the easy way.
*Don’t forget that when you’re washing with a bucket of soapy water to make sure to empty the bucket and use clean/fresh water any time it gets murky. That is because you can’t clean something that is dirty with a dirty water and rag…you just spread the filth around.*
Both ways are good options and you will be hard-pressed to find another cleaning “expert” that will tell you otherwise.
How To Disinfect Walls
Most of the time when I’m cleaning, I find that I don’t actually need to disinfect my walls. I really only worry about doing it when I have had a child with a cold or some other type of sickness.
If cleaning with Vinegar (as mentioned just above this section)is not your cup of tea there are a few other cleaning solutions that would be a good option.
You can find all of those cleaning solutions within my Ultimate Guide On What To Clean (& How)During Times Of Sickness.
Any of those options would be a good way to disinfect your walls.
Then of course just pick if you want to do the spray bottle option and mop, or if you would like to do the good ‘ol bucket and rag/sponge.
It’s up to you, of course, but I would also recommend being careful with your paint if you decide to go the bleach route, if it is your only option, make sure to rinse it really well and dry it so that it will damage your paint as little as possible.
How to clean walls with different paint finishes:
I actually think that it is easiest to clean walls with an oil based paint.
The shiny smooth sheen seems to not hold onto dirt and grime the way that an eggshell finish in latex paint does.
For spot cleaning just use the above mentioned method the way that grandma does it.
For stubborn stains (such as scuff marks that just need a spot cleaning), of course you can get out a Magic Eraser.
In which case just dip it in a bucket of clean water and use gentle circular motions. The shinier the paint the more careful you will need to be so you don’t rub off the sheen while you are at it.
I find that Magic Erasers leave a bit of a white film on walls (when used for stain removal), so make sure to use a clean sponge or a microfiber cloth, dip it in some clean water, wring it out, and wipe it down after you use the Magic Eraser.
How To Keep/Maintain Clean Walls As Long As Possible
Some of you are not going to like what I have to say about this, but really the best way to keep your walls clean is to avoid some bad habits…no smoking indoors, no burning candles indoors (the soot gets all over your walls and makes them turn a black color it’s good to just use candle warmers as an alternative)
…and maybe train your kids not to drag their hands along the walls when they walk by…I know, that one is much easier said than done, but it makes a huge difference.
Also, just like how I mentioned in my post about spot mopping your floors, it is a good idea to just spot clean your walls in between the big jobs when you tackle the whole wall.
That’s about all that you can do, on a practical note, to keep your walls looking as clean as possible for as long as possible.
Most households really only need to regularly clean their walls once every couple of months though, so it shouldn’t be too overwhelming.
Washing walls FAQ’s
Cleaning painted walls requires a gentle approach to avoid damaging the paint finish. Here’s a step-by-step guide to safely and effectively clean painted walls:
Dust the Walls: Start by dusting the walls using a soft, lint-free microfiber cloth or a dusting brush. This will help remove loose dirt, cobwebs, and other debris from the surface.
Prepare a Cleaning Solution: For most painted walls, a mild cleaning solution will suffice. Mix a few drops of dish soap or a gentle all-purpose cleaner with warm water in a bucket. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can harm the paint.
Test in an Inconspicuous Area: Before cleaning the entire wall, test your cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t damage the paint or cause any discoloration.
Spot Clean Stains: If you encounter stubborn stains or marks, apply a bit of the cleaning solution directly to the affected area and gently scrub with a soft sponge or cloth. Be careful not to scrub too hard, as this might remove the paint.
Clean the Entire Wall: Dip a soft sponge or cloth into the cleaning solution and wring it out until it’s damp but not soaking wet. Working from the top down, wipe the walls in a gentle, circular motion. Avoid excessive moisture on the walls, as this can lead to streaks or damage.
Rinse with Clean Water: After cleaning the walls, go over them again with a clean, damp cloth to remove any soap residue.
Dry the Walls: Use a dry microfiber cloth or soft towel to pat the walls dry. Ensure there’s no excess moisture left on the painted surface.
Focus on High-Traffic Areas: Pay extra attention to areas around light switches, door handles, and other high-traffic spots that may require more frequent cleaning.
Protect the Baseboards: When cleaning the lower parts of the walls, be mindful not to damage or soak the baseboards. You can use painter’s tape to protect them during the cleaning process.
Ventilate the Room: After cleaning, open windows or use fans to promote air circulation and help the walls dry faster.
Remember, regular dusting and occasional gentle cleaning are the keys to maintaining the appearance of painted walls without causing any harm. Always use soft materials and avoid abrasive scrubbing to preserve the paint finish for years to come.
*I will add more washing / cleaning walls FAQ’s as the questions get sent to me.
In today’s fast-paced world, time-saving solutions are a must, even when it comes to household chores like washing walls.
As we’ve explored in this article, mastering the art of how to wash walls fast can make a significant difference in your cleaning routine.
By adopting the painless and efficient techniques outlined here, you can transform a tedious task into a quick and satisfying accomplishment.
Gone are the days of spending hours scrubbing away at stubborn stains and grime.
With the tips provided, you can optimize your wall-cleaning process, reclaiming precious moments for more enjoyable activities.
Embracing the right tools, making your own effective cleaning solution, and following the best practices for each wall type will ensure you achieve sparkling results in no time.
So, whether you’re preparing your home for a special occasion or just seeking a more manageable cleaning routine, remember it’s easy with a painless and efficient wall-washing approach, & you’ll have more time for the things that truly matter in life too.
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Check out my other cleaning tips
Otherwise, here are direct links to several of my other cleaning/laundry related posts that you’re also going to love:
My most popular laundry & cleaning articles
Other good resources for wall cleaning
Maybe you don’t wanna go the way that I showed you how to do this…if that’s the case, here are some other good reputable resources that you could try instead:
*This cleaning article was originally shared to this blog on August 3rd 2013, and has since been updated to improve user experience, add video instruction, as well as to make it as shareable as possible across the social medias.
**Please note that I do try my hardest to provide factual, but easy to understand, information about each topic. If you notice a discrepancy in my methods, facts, or see something that you deem “misinformation/incorrect” please make sure to notify me about it. I would prefer that you send me an email with a link to a more reputable resource on that subject, so that I can correct it as soon as possible. Thanks so much for helping this site become the best that it can be!