How to clean dirty walls

Even the best intentions can come undone when it comes to keeping your home clean. This is certainly true for walls, which often get ignored until after the floors and everything else has been sparkled.

Modern homes often make use of light, neutral colours such as greys and whites. While these tones ensure a comfortable and ambient feel, they don’t disguise dirt, scuffs and marks, which can make an otherwise impeccable home design look tarnished.

This is even more true if you have kids or pets, who can rub dirt up against the walls or leave crayon marks on your shiny paint job. But the solution for cleaning dirty walls it is quite simple.

What you’ll need

Before you get started, assemble the following:

  • Towel or sheet
  • Broom
  • A bucket full of light soapy water
  • Sponge
  • Cleaning rag
  • Sugar soap (optional)

Step 1. Cover the floor

Before you even get started with the actual cleaning take your towel or sheet and lay it on the floor, flush against the wall. You’ll be using water and a sponge and this covering will make sure you don’t wet your flooring or carpet while you clean.

Before washing your walls, cover the floor with a towel or sheet.

Step 2. Brush the wall

First, check that your broom head is free of any dirt. You don’t want to make the wall even dirtier as you clean it. If all looks good, use the broom to gently brush at the wall, removing any dust or cobwebs.

Brush down the walls before getting stuck into scrubbing.

Step 3. Scrub the wall

Using light soapy water, gently scrub at the wall using your sponge. Pay particular attention to any stains or marks. If there’s a stain that’s really hard to budge, you can use a magic eraser or scouring sponge. However, don’t scrub too hard or you risk scouring away the paintwork.

Scrub your walls with a soapy sponge.

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Step 4. Wipe down

As a final step, take your cleaning rag and wipe down the wall to remove any dampness or soap. If you’ve followed the steps above, things should now be looking clean and stain free.

Last but not least, wipe down the wall with a cloth.

Step 5. Repeat as necessary

If you’ve used the soapy water and wiped things down with a cleaning rag but your wall still isn’t clean, then it may be time to bring out the big guns. Take some sugar soap and add it to your bucket of water. Sugar soap is mildly coarse and should work as an abrasive to remove any further stains.

White walls, while often looking dirtier than their coloured counterparts, are just as susceptible to the above method. Simply follow the steps outlined and you’ll have your bright white walls back in the glowing condition in no time.

Originally published as How to clean dirty walls by Michael Brooke.