Flat, Semi-Gloss, Glossy: How to Clean Painted Walls Without Damaging Paint
Interior House Painting

Flat, Semi-Gloss, Glossy: How to Clean Painted Walls Without Damaging Paint

Posted on December 28, 2022

Walls accumulate stains, dust, and scuffs as life happens in our homes. Therefore, walls must be cleaned and maintained like anything else in your home. Not only does cleaning walls cut down on dust, dirt and grime particles in the air, but it will help your walls and their paint finish last longer.

Luckily, cleaning walls is fairly simple, although it requires some attention to detail. Let’s discuss how to clean painted walls without damaging paint and how to protect your walls, so they stay looking good for years to come.

Materials Needed

Below are some materials and tools needed to clean your walls successfully:

  • Soft sponge
  • Soft cloth
  • Microfiber or lint-free cloth
  • Magic eraser
  • Dish soap
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Warm water

For stubborn stains, try this all-purpose cleaner recipe:

  • 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap
  • 1/4 teaspoon white vinegar

Mix together and let the cleaner sit on the wall stain for 10 minutes before blotting with a microfiber cloth.

Before You Begin

To prep your space, we recommend laying a drop cloth or towel under the area you’re cleaning. Then, dust your walls with a feather duster, vacuum dust brush attachment, or light wipe-down with a rag to remove a thin layer of dust.

How to Clean Painted Walls with Flat Paint

interior wall with flat paint

If your walls have a flat or matte finish, these require a different approach than glossier paint finishes. Be careful not to scrub flat paint too vigorously, or you’ll notice that your walls have splotches where the finish has been rubbed off.

To clean flat painted walls:

  • Try gently rubbing the wall with a damp sponge or cloth. This approach is more likely to work if stains or scuffs are addressed immediately.
  • If just water doesn’t take care of the stain, add vinegar to your sponge or cloth and gently rub the soiled area.
  • Finally, if the above fails, apply the all-purpose cleaning solution discussed in the “Materials Needed” section earlier in the article.

How to Clean Painted Walls with Semi-Gloss Paint

Unlike flat paint, semi-gloss is made for washing. The glossier the paint finish, the easier it is to clean and scrub to maintain its appearance.

To clean semi-gloss painted walls:

  • Filling two buckets of warm water, use one to mix your cleaning solution and one to rinse your wall.
  • Add a little liquid dish soap and white vinegar to the cleaning solution bucket and place your cleaning cloth or sponge in the solution.
  • In small sections, work from the bottom upward, scrubbing the walls in circular motions.
  • After each section, rinse the walls using a clean cloth or rag in the bucket with only warm water.
  • Repeat this process until all walls have been cleaned, rinsed and dried.

How to Clean Painted Walls with Glossy Paint

interior walls with glossy paint

High gloss paint is an attractive choice for its luxurious shine and easy maintenance. However, because of its intense shine, it’s important to avoid abrasive materials and harsh scrubbing that can scratch the surface.

To clean high gloss walls:

  • Use a damp cloth with warm water to remove any unwanted marks or stains.
  • If the stains aren’t budging, use the same preparation methods for semi-gloss painted walls and mix together the all-purpose cleaning solutions.

Removing Tough Stains and Scuff Marks

There’s always that one spot you’re cleaning that won’t budge. If warm water, vinegar, baking soda or dish detergent aren’t doing the trick, here are a few tips and tricks to try out.

Cleaning erasers, or magic erasers, are a great tool for stubborn stains. It’s important to note that these are considered abrasive materials and should be used cautiously when cleaning painted walls, especially if they are flat or glossy.

Another option for stubborn spots is store-bought wall cleaners. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of products specifically formulated to remove scuffs on walls.
If all else fails, consider hiring CertaPro Painters® to repaint your room with a fun, fresh color to update your space!

Keeping Your Painted Walls Clean and Protected

Regular cleaning and spot touch-ups are the key to keeping your walls looking great and protected.
Incorporate routine dusting into your monthly cleaning tasks. Dusting with a long-handled duster or a soft brush attachment on your vacuum will make this job a quick task.

For spot cleaning, take care of small blemishes and spots as soon as they happen to prevent hard staining and paint damage down the road.

Want a Refresh Instead?

Cleaning is great, but sometimes a paint refresh can restore the shine and brightness in a room that simply washing walls won’t do. The professionals at CertaPro Painters® take great care to ensure your space is as clean, if not cleaner, than when they started.

Schedule an estimate to brighten up your room with CertaPro Painters®!