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Washing Painted Walls
by Michigan State University on May 12, 2012
When washing painting walls semi-gloss or gloss enamels are easier to clean than is flat sheened paint.
Always, first use a cleaning solution in a hidden area. After it dries, check to see if the color and sheen look the same.
Wash or spot clean most painted surfaces with a solution of water and mild detergent (such as hand dish washing liquid), or a mild commercial household cleaner, that says on label is safe for painted surfaces.
Rinse off thoroughly with clear water. If walls are very dirty, use a stronger alkali solution such as 2 tablespoons ammonia or tablespoon trisodium phosphate or 2 tablespoons laundry detergent powder in 1 gallon warm (not hot) water. Stronger solutions remove some of the paint. Always rinse off. Gloss or semi-gloss enamels are less likely to be damaged by cleaning than is flat latex paint. Test cleaning solution in an inconspicuous corner first; if wall color and finish look the same--but cleaner--go ahead and use.
- Before washing, dust or vacuum walls to remove loose soil.
- Use one bucket for washing solution and one for rinsing, and a large cellulose sponge for each bucket.
- Wear rubber gloves to protect hands.
- Start washing at the bottom and work up, so cleaning solution does not run down the dirty wall and cause streaks that are hard to remove.
- Rub gently to avoid damage to paint.
- Wash and rinse one area; then do the next overlapping area.
- After doing several areas, dry off excess moisture with soft absorbent cloths or towels, which can be laundered and reused.
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