Cleaning Guides

Wall Washing 101: Everything You Need to Know

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Do your walls need washing? Are you tired of glancing at layers of grime that slowly accumulate over time? You’re at the right place! With our comprehensive guide on how to clean walls, you’ll have your living space extremely clean and a lot faster than usual. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about washing walls – from preparation to choosing the right cleaning solution and applying it effectively without causing damage – we’ve got you covered!

Table of contents:

Best ways to clean walls

When it comes to washing your walls, there’s no right or wrong way, but choosing the right cleaning solution can be a crucial point in the process. If you use the wrong solution you may damage the paint, wall surface, or wallpaper and cause discolouration or cracks.

That’s why we’ve taken the time to think about what to use to clean walls and we came up with five different cleaning solution options for washing walls. They have varying levels of acidity and abrasiveness, so you can choose a product to clean your walls that fits your needs.

Washing walls with vinegar

Mixing cleaning vinegar with water at a ratio of 1:3 vinegar-to-water creates a mildly acidic solution which is best used on painted walls with a flat or matte finish and for water-resistant wallpapers. The solution can remove dirt and grime without causing damage or discoloration.

Wall washing with dish soap

A few drops of dish soap mixed into 2 L of warm water also make for a mildly acidic solution. It’s safe for most types of paint and water-resistant wallpapers. A dish soap solution is best suited for walls with a gloss or semi-gloss finish since it can remove grease and grime without causing streaks or discoloration.

Washing walls with baking soda

A 1⁄4 cup of baking soda, mixed into 1 L of warm water, will get you a mildly abrasive solution. You can use it to tackle tough stains and grime from painted walls and some water-resistant wallpapers. Do not use baking soda on walls with delicate or porous surfaces. You can use it on walls with a durable paint finish and water-resistant wallpapers.

Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) for wall washing

Trisodium Phosphate is a handy little chemical formula which can be used for cleaning. Usually in powdered form, TSP works best on walls with a gloss or semi-gloss finish and water-resistant wallpapers – just like dish soap. A 1⁄4 cup of TSP powder mixes with 2 L of warm water. The result is a highly alkaline solution which you can use to get rid of heavy grease, smoke, or nicotine stains from walls and some water-resistant wallpapers. However, exercise caution and wear gloves as this solution can irritate your skin or eyes if handled improperly.

Commercial wall-cleaning solutions

You can use commercial wall cleaners which were made for wall washing. These solutions are available in various strengths and formulations and are by far the best option for walls with a delicate or porous paint finish and wallpapers that aren’t water-resistant. They’re designed to be gentle and effective without causing damage or discoloration. If you choose this option, it’s best to follow the mixing instructions on the product label.

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Washing walls starts with preparations

There are a handful of preparations to make to ensure the wall washing process flows smoothly. Prepare the space and have all the necessary supplies ready – doing so will make the whole deal sound less like a daunting task. Let’s take a closer look at the preparations you should make before washing your walls.

  1. Remove wall hangings, decorations, and furniture. Firstly, remove all wall hangings and decorations, and move furniture away from the wall you plan to clean. This will give you more space to work with and help prevent any unfortunate accidents.
  2. Protect your floors and furniture. Laying down a drop cloth or some plastic sheeting is a great idea to protect your floors and furniture from water, cleaning solution, or grime that may come off during cleaning. You can use painters’ tape to hold the covers in place. That way, you won’t have to worry about accidental damage which will make your entire cleaning process more efficient.
  3. Dust your walls. Next up, make sure to dust your walls thoroughly. You can use a dusting brush or a soft cloth for this and you can even remove some cobwebs along the way.
  4. Identify stubborn stains and marks. Once you finish dusting, inspect your walls to identify any stubborn stains or marks that require special attention. Note any such areas and address them first when you start cleaning.
  5. Cover electrical outlets, switches, and vents. Last, but not least – protect risky areas to prevent damage and ensure that your home stays safe while you’re cleaning. Cover all electrical outlets, switches, or vents on the wall you’re about to clean with plastic sheeting and painter’s tape.

With a little patience and effort, your walls will be clean and fresh in no time!

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Step-by-step guide for washing walls

Tools for the job:

  • Bucket
  • Gloves
  • Stiff bristled brush
  • Sponge or microfiber cloth
  • Cleaning solution of choice
  • Drop cloth or plastic sheeting

Now that you have settled for a cleaning solution and collected all the necessary tools, it’s time to start washing your walls. A step-by-step guide on how to clean walls:

  1. Test your wall cleaning solution. To start off, test the cleaning solution you favoured on a small, inconspicuous area of your wall (preferably one of the lower corners) to ensure it won’t damage the paint or wallpaper.
  2. Divide and conquer-clean. Draw a mental tic-tac-toe puzzle on your wall to divide it into 9 sections. Start at the top of the wall and work your way down, cleaning one section at a time.
  3. Pre-treat tough stains. Remember when you had to note any stubborn stains? Now’s your chance to show them who’s boss. Wet your stiff bristled brush in your cleaning solution and shake it out well. Then, give any tough stains a good, but gentle scrub.
  4. Dip and wring. Dip your sponge or cloth into the cleaning solution, then wring it out to remove excess liquid. The key phrase here is “damp, not drippy”.
  5. Scrub gently. Gently scrub your wall in a circular motion, focusing on any areas with stubborn stains. Be careful not to scrub too hard, as this could damage the wall or paint.
  6. Rinse, dry and move on. Once you’ve scrubbed the section, use a clean sponge or cloth and water to rinse it. Then, press a dry towel on the cleaned area to absorb as much moisture as possible. Continue washing the next section, following the steps 4-6, until you complete cleaning the entire wall.
Remember: Take as many breaks as you need and clean at your own pace for the best results.

Tips for drying your walls after washing

Achieving a clean and fresh-looking wall means drying it to the best of your ability. We’ve collected some extra tips to help you dry your walls more effectively:

  1. Your drying cloth matters – Choose a cloth that is absorbent and free of lint or debris to avoid leaving streaks.
  2. Change cloths frequently – Change your drying cloth or towel frequently to achieve the best effect.
  3. Check for water damage – Check for any signs of water damage, such as water spots, discoloration, or peeling paint/wallpaper. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, address it immediately to prevent further damage or mould
  4. Use a fan or dehumidifier – After washing your walls, turn on a fan or dehumidifier to improve air circulation. This can be especially helpful in areas with high humidity.
  5. Open windows and doors – Another great way to improve air circulation, if weather permits, is to open windows and doors and allow fresh air to circulate freely.
  6. Avoid using heat sources – Heat sources can cause the paint or wallpaper to dry too quickly, which leads to cracking or peeling. It’s best to allow your walls to air-dry naturally.

Don’t rush the drying process and take your time to ensure that your walls are completely dry. If possible, let your walls air-dry completely before putting any furniture, artwork, or decorations back in place. This ensures that your walls are completely dry and free of moisture.

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How to maintain walls after washing

Now that you’re done cleaning your walls, you should consider maintaining their cleanliness and appearance. Here are some tips to help keep your walls looking their best:

  • Dust regularly – Dust your walls regularly to prevent accumulation. You can use a dust mop or a soft, dry cloth.
  • Soak and clean spills and stains ASAP – If you spill something on your walls or notice a stain, address it immediately to prevent it from setting in.
  • Repair any damage – Scratches, dings, and other damage can make your walls look unsightly. Repair any problematic areas as soon as possible.
  • Bring the pros in – Wall washing can help maintain your walls, but it would be beneficial to schedule professional cleaning at least once a year for a deep-clean and refresh.
  • Monitor humidity levels – High levels of humidity support mould growth. Use a dehumidifier if necessary, and ensure your home is well-ventilated.


  • Choose the right cleaning solution for your type of paint/wallpaper and test it on a small corner area.
  • Clean from top to bottom in small sections.
  • Use a dry cloth to wipe your walls after washing them.
  • Dust regularly and address spills and damage as soon as possible.
  • Hire a professional to clean your walls for you at least once a year. Washing walls is often required when moving out, so you can book us for an end of lease cleaning.

A clean space is a happy place!

Let us help you achieve that with a professional wall cleaning service!

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