How to clean painted walls

Do your walls look as though they could do with a fresh lick of paint? Before you spend, try these expert wall cleaning tips - they'll have your walls looking spotless!

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3 reasons to visit The Clean & Tidy Home Show at ExCel London

Are you an organisation pro after new home hacks? Or maybe you can’t get enough of genius cleaning products and tools? You might be happy to know The Clean & Tidy Home Show is coming to ExCel London on the 8th and 9th of October!

  • Learn hints and tips from interiors experts, DIY stars and pro cleaners like Georgina Burnett, and @homewithaziza
  • Try out the latest gadgets and cleaning products first-hand
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The walls in your home can gather dust, grime and marks from everyday life, but giving them a good clean will make your home look as good as new.

If you want to make your home look freshly painted without doing any painting, take a look at these top tips from Johnstone’s on how to correctly clean existing paintwork.

And when you’ve mastered cleaning your painted walls, why not try learning how to wallpaper like a pro? Or even give your old appliances a makeover with paint?


Step 1

Make sure the wall is free from dust before you start. Remove any excess dust and dirt particles by going over it with a duster or vacuum cleaner.

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For hard-to-reach places, try a broom with an old t-shirt or cleaning rag tied over the bristles to stop them scratching the paint. If some cobwebs are particularly hard to reach, as they often are above a staircase, tie old rags into a ball and throw them up.

Step 2

In most cases, using warm, soapy water will be sufficient to clean your walls. If you’re in need of something slightly stronger, a cup of distilled white vinegar in a bucket of warm water will do the trick – and there’s no need to rinse, as it won’t leave residue.

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Top tip: test your cleaning solution on a hidden part of your wall before you start, especially if you’ve opted for dark paint

It’s important to use a soft, clean sponge which won’t disturb the paintwork – so avoid harsh sponges and especially scourers. Ensure you wring the soft sponge out before you put it on the wall, as water dripping down your walls could leave unsightly marks. Finally, use a soft, clean tea towel to dry things off – it’s best to use a white one to avoid colour transfer.

Step 3

Next, deal with any remaining marks and stains. There are home-made remedies for almost any kind of stain you can think of – check out our stain removal guide here if you’re unsure – but it’s important to do a test on a well-hidden part of the wall to check the formulation won’t lift the paint.

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Gloss or metallic paint will show marks and prints more easily than some types of paint, so regular washing is key

A simple mixture of baking soda and water on a cloth should break down stains such as pencil, crayon, rub marks and marker pen.


And one final warning to bear in mind! Remember, products containing alcohol are no good for wall cleaning. Using them risks breaking down the surface of your paint, leaving a mark on your clean walls.

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