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Washing Walls....best tips for really dirty walls

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In my getting ready to move mode we really need to wash the walls.  They were painted 7 years ago with 2 coats of a Sherwin Williams scrubbable/stain free paint.  Well, my family out did their promises and we have marks, stains, dirt, etc.

What are your best wall washing tips, tricks, ideas?

I know that the paint needs to be updated by the new buyer but I also want the house to show the best it can so we can get the best price.

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start at the bottom, and work out.  that will minimize streaks from drips, etc. as you wash them.

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I'd first vacuum it with some kind of brush attachment - no sense in getting loose dust wet. Then I'd do a pass with a wet microfiber cloth on a swiffer, flipping the cloth and then rinsing it when it's visibly dirty. I prefer to start at the top, that way any drips will be taken care of as I work my way down.

For any marks left at that point, I like to start with something gentler, like baby wipes. Anything left after that would get worked on with the magic eraser. However, I have found that those can remove paint, or at the very least affect the sheen. 

If the paint is a low-sheen finish that Sherwin-Williams still carries, rather than the magic eraser, it may be easier to just use new paint to touch up any marks still remaining. I think it would be less obvious and more clean-looking than significant scrubbing by a magic eraser.

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I found that washing them twice was necessary.  The first time to get most of the dirt and dust dealt with, and the second to take care of all the streaks and smudges from the first washing. DH and I were both amazed at how fresh the walls looked after a good scrubbing!

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23 minutes ago, JIN MOUSA said:

 

For any marks left at that point, I like to start with something gentler, like baby wipes. Anything left after that would get worked on with the magic eraser. However, I have found that those can remove paint, or at the very least affect the sheen. 

If the paint is a low-sheen finish that Sherwin-Williams still carries, rather than the magic eraser, it may be easier to just use new paint to touch up any marks still remaining. I think it would be less obvious and more clean-looking than significant scrubbing by a magic eraser.

 

Years ago, I ruined some of our walls by using the magic eraser.  Never again!  

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Just now, Kassia said:

 

Years ago, I ruined some of our walls by using the magic eraser.  Never again!  

The trick is to go lightly over it several times, not heavy-scrub it all at once.  And keep it pretty wet.

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Microfiber cloth with warm water and sudsy with Dawn. Worked wonders on my white flat paint walls. I ended up painting the walls that were really messed up. 

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6 hours ago, ksr5377 said:

I found that washing them twice was necessary.  The first time to get most of the dirt and dust dealt with, and the second to take care of all the streaks and smudges from the first washing. DH and I were both amazed at how fresh the walls looked after a good scrubbing!

Definitely dust them first!

I think that microfiber and a lot of elbow grease does the best job, and the specific cleanser is less important. I also found that after cleaning, it wasn't hard to touch up even quite old paint as long as the leftover paint itself hasn't been someplace super hot or cold.

We definitely had walls that we were able to avoid repainting because we'd been able to get them clean.

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A bit of dish soap, a wash cloth, warm water, and a bucket.  Scrub scrub, repeat.  Then touch up paint.

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We would use a duster to dust the walls.  We would use something like an over-sized real feather duster and every few minutes clean the duster with a vacuum cleaner hose. That way the duster stayed clean and did a good job loosening things.  

Then we would use some TSP (home improvement stores carry it), Dawn dish soap, or Lysol/floor cleaning type detergent in one bucket.   Plain water in other bucket to rinse mop. We would use a new sponge mop and HOT water.  We would roll towels and put them a the base of the walls (to catch drips) and use the mop to clean the wall. We would start high, scrubbing a stripe about a 1/4 to 1/3 of the upper section of wall, in a length of about 6 to 10 feet.  Then using a towel, we would dry the wall. We used two buckets one to rinse the mop in and one for clean solution. It doesn't make sense to use dirty water clean walls, so we wanted the mop rinsed before we put it back in the soapy bucket.  Then go to the next lower section and do the same. We would move fairly quick so the wall wasn't soaked for too long. We found that using a mop and bucket of water was the best way to get a thorough cleaning in a timely manner. We used sponges in the early days and microfiber clothes later to hand scrub more difficult spots. Glass cleaner is a great spot treatment on walls.  (ammonia and hot water is another one but more smelly)

We I am cleaning my own house. I use aerosol spray-on glass cleaner to spot clean walls all the time.  

BTW....Sponge mops are also a great way to clean outdoor window. 

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