How to Clean Painted Walls

Everything is going along fine and then you see it – the scuff or mark on your wall. While it’s inevitable, it doesn’t make you happy.

Not every mark requires a full wall painting. Still, there is a protocol to follow so as to not damage the paint. Here’s what our pros suggest to clean painted walls.

Marks on walls happen for all sorts of reasons. Cooking splatters, rough housing scuffs and sticky fingerprints are all the enemy of the paint film. It can be tough to remove marks, but start gently and work your way up to preserve your paint. Following proper cleaning methods can prolong the life of your paint and keep your rooms looking fresh.


Cleaning the walls starts off similarly to painting. Preparation is important for a good outcome. Start by getting loose dust and dirt off the wall with a vacuum and brush nozzle. Alternatively, a broom wrapped with a towel will work too. Our professionals suggest putting a large towel or sheet down to catch large dust bunnies, or water from the next step. Plastic tarps can be tempting, but the water will just run off onto the floor.

Start Gentle

Start with the most gentle option to clean marks. Get a soft sponge with some lukewarm water to dab at the mark. Avoid scrubbing as you could damage the paint film. Try a mild detergent, like dish soap, if you don’t see any progress.

Go Stronger if Necessary

If the soap isn’t making an impact on the mark, move to an alkali solution. You’ll want to do a test patch on a hidden part of the wall just in case it harms the color. Try behind furniture or a bookcase. If the test dries ok, proceed on the mark.

Make the solution with warm water, non-sudsing clear ammonia, white vinegar and baking soda. Gentle dab at the mark. If it dries with a ring around it, fear not. Wash the entirety of the wall to eliminate dry lines. If it removes the mark, you’ll also have a superbly clean wall.

Cleaning sponges

If you’re still not having any luck removing the mark, you have one more option before you resort to repainting. Cleaning sponges have damaged as many walls as they have saved. A test patch is going to be crucial. Try the sponge in an out of the way place in the room. If there is no damage to the paint, attempt to remove the mark. Tread lightly with these sponges. They are quick to remove films, paint and drywall.

Painting over

If you have diligently attempted each of these options with no luck, you can always paint. Either match the paint or add an accent wall. Painting the whole room opens up a lot of color options and will remove the spot for sure.

Have marks you need removed and can’t make progress with? We’re here to help! Schedule a free, in-home estimate today.

CertaPro Painters® of West Houston, TX
CertaPro Painters® of West Houston, TX