How Do I Wash a Painted Wall?

There is nothing quite like a freshly-painted wall. The clean, smooth surface and uninterrupted richness of color… it’s a pleasantly satisfying sight. But then something happens — you swat a wasp, a guest spills coffee, a child leaves a shoe scuff — and the wall is now flawed. Most of us have wondered at some point, “How do I wash a painted wall?” or “Can I even wash it at all?” Well, we have good news for you: painted walls can usually be washed with great results!

Will It Wreck the Wall If I Wash It?

The main concern, of course, is that washing the wall will ruin the paint. We need to be honest and say this can happen. But in most cases, it’s not likely. Always test your washing method first in an inconspicuous area. At first, it will probably look like you’ve done something to the paint: there may be a light or dark patch where you scrubbed, or some streaks. This is normal, but it typically goes away within a couple hours. Wait until the scrubbed spot has had time to dry completely before you decide to go ahead with the cleaning.

What Do I Use to Wash a Painted Wall?

Begin with the most gentle method and see if it works, then if the wall is not clean yet, move to something stronger. Benjamin Moore recommends using water and a soft cellulose sponge. A dishcloth can also do nicely as long as it is not rough. A good next step, especially for scuffs, is the magic eraser (a Mr. Clean product).

If water and a gentle scrubbing does not remove the blemish, you will need to decide whether you want to try a more aggressive method. If it is a small or subtle discoloration, it might not be worth the risk of damaging your paint to remove it. But if the dirty spot is serious enough that you’ll need to repaint if it can’t be cleaned, then there is nothing to lose by trying to scrub it off.

For cleaning a small spot, you could make a small amount of paste with baking soda and water, and scrub gently with this. Alternatively, laundry detergent mixed with water often produces good results. You can also make your own cleaner by mixing vinegar or ammonia in water (1 or 2 cups per gallon) with some baking soda. You could even use all three together; just be careful never to mix ammonia and bleach.

If you use any cleaning solution rather than water, make sure you wash it off with water before it dries.

What Do I Use to Wash Mold or Mildew off a Painted Wall?

In this case, I would recommend using a small amount of bleach mixed in with laundry detergent and water. Spray or sponge the solution on the wall and give it a minute or two to do its work. Then be sure to thoroughly wash off your cleaning solution.

What Kinds of Paint Are Better for Cleaning?

The glossier a paint is, the better it can withstand scrubbing and cleaning solutions. If you are getting ready to paint and you think your walls will need cleaning, then an eggshell or satin finish are the best ideas for your walls. These are fairly scrubbable, without having the shine of semi-gloss. Also, some manufacturers have special formulations for scrubbable paints.

If you have any more questions related to washing a painted wall, or about any paint topics in general, please feel free to contact us. We would love to be your resource for painting information and services in the Los Angeles are ALLBRiGHT 1-800-PAINTING 1-800-PAINTING is a reliable, reputable painting contractor serving the Santa Clarita Valley and the greater Los Angeles region.