There are many types of walls. There are walls painted with different types of paints, walls with wall paper, walls with ceramic tiles, wood paneled walls and those with wall coverings. Each type of wall requires a different cleaning technique because the materials covering the wall react differently to the different types of cleaning products used. Some walls are easily washable and some walls are not washable at all. When cleaning walls care must be taken to cause the least amount of damage to the covering material so that refinishing wherever necessary can be kept at a minimum. With regular maintenance and proper care during cleaning you will have a clean wall without the need for refinishing at all. Here are some cleaning tips for cleaning your walls properly.
Most painted wall are easy to clean. Note that gloss or semi gloss enamel paints do not get as easily damaged while cleaning as compared to latex paint. For any kind of painted wall first try out the cleaning solution in a very small inconspicuous area. If you find that there is no change except that the wall is cleaner then you can safely use that cleaning solution throughout the wall. For most painted walls you can use a mild detergent or a mild commercial household cleaner and water solution for washing. For painted walls that are heavily soiled or very dirty you can use a stronger alkaline solution like one gallon of lukewarm water into which a tablespoon of trisodium phosphate or two tablespoon ammonia or two tablespoons detergent used for laundry are added. Make sure that the alkali solution is not stronger as it might remove the paint. Finally rinse the wall with clean water to get rid of the cleaning solution.
There is a simple procedure for washing painted walls which will simplify the whole cleaning process. Before starting to wash first vacuum or dust off the wall to remove any loose dirt. Use separate buckets for the cleaning solution and for rinsing. Use a separate natural sponge for each bucket. Nylon sponge tends to stick to the wall. making the job more difficult. To avoid drips down the hand you can wrap terrycloth strips around your wrists secured by rubber bands. You need not remove hooks and nails.
Just cover them with sponge to protect your knuckles. You can rehang your pictures after the wall is dry without having to replace the nails and hooks thus causing the least damage to the walls. When you are washing a wall put a drop cloth or old sheets below that portion so that the liquids don’t run down the floor. Don’t use plastic sheets to cover the floor as these become very slippery. To minimize rinsing change the cleaning solution when it becomes dirty. Don’t use scrubbing powders or other abrasive cleaners. Rubbing should be done gently to prevent the paint from coming off. Be sure to use a good pair of gloves.
Washing should always be started at the bottom with the sponge moved in a circular motion and then gradually moving up the wall. This will prevent the cleaning solution from running down the soiled wall and leaving streaks that can be difficult to remove. Wash and rinse one portion using the respective sponges and then move on to the overlapping portion. Never stop cleaning in the middle of a wall as tide marks showing where you stopped will appear later. After finishing one use a towel or soft absorbent cloths to dry off the wall and then move on to the adjacent wall. For removing heavily soiled spots dip the corner of a soft white rag in baking soda and rub gently on the mark. Sooty walls can be cleaned similarly using the trisodium phosphate solution mentioned earlier. To clean crayon marks off painted walls however, you have to use a small portion of a soft cloth dipped in lubricating oil and rub it gently on the mark. Keep repeating until the crayon mark is completely removed. Scuff marks can be removed with a dry gum eraser like rubbing of pencil marks on paper. For stubborn scuff marks dab a small portion of a damp cloth with a non gel toothpaste or baking soda and gently rub the spot until clean.
Fabric wall coverings require different type of cleaning procedure. Some of the wall coverings like grass cloth or burlap are difficult to wash while vinyl coated ones are easier to wash. They need regular dusting or vacuuming to prevent dust accumulation. Spots and stains can be removed with a sponge or a soft bristle brush dipped in soapy water. Rinse the cleaned portion well. If the stain is stubborn then use a non chlorine bleach in the cleaning solution. Rinse thoroughly and dry the wet portion with an absorbent towel. When in doubt consult the manufacturer or dealer about the cleaning method or products to be used especially for delicate material. Wallpapers come in washable and non washable varieties. To remove smudges, pencil and fingermarks simply rub it gently with art gum. In case of washable wall papers other marks can be removed by gently rubbing with a sponge dipped in soapy water. For removing grease spots from wallpaper hold white paper towels over the spot and press a warm iron over the paper towels until the towels have completely absorbed the grease.
Cleaning wood paneled walls is easy if done properly. Dust should be removed regularly by dusting with the vacuum cleaner brush or a soft cloth. For cleaning soiled portions you can use commercial cleaners meant for cleaning woodwork. A wood cleaning wax can also be used. Be sure to follow exact directions. As in other cases test the cleaner you are going to use in a small inconspicuous portion of the wood paneling and then proceed to the other portions. Due consideration should be given to the type of finish used so that it is not damaged. The type of wood is not considered important except for color considerations. The cleaner used should not discolor the wood. Where there is a heavy buildup of grease on the wood paneling you will need to use mineral spirits or other petroleum based solvents trying it first on a small inconspicuous area. If found safe clean the soiled portion with the small portion of a clean cloth dipped in the solvent, using a circular motion to clean. If the wood finish gets dulled then you will have to use a solvent based wax to polish it. Solvents used for wood are inflammable and give off fumes, so adequate care is necessary.
Ceramic tiles are easier to clean hen the stains are not too old. However clean stains that are too old will require some effort. For ordinary cleaning you can use a sponge or a damp cloth to wipe the surface clean. However, for removing soap deposits, grease and general soiling use a solution of trisodium phosphate (TSP) or borax 1 teaspoonful or more in a bucket of warm water. Fore more heavily soiled tiles dab a damp cloth in the TSP or borax powder and rub the tiles clean. After cleaning rinse with clean water. Don’t use abrasive cleaners or acids. Plastic tiles that are usually made from polystyrene or vinyl plastics can be easily cleaned by wiping with damp cloth or when more soiled, with detergent or soap and lukewarm water solution. Avoid using cleaning chemicals, gasoline and nail polish remover on polystyrene tiles. Vinyl plastics are tougher and can withstand general household cleaning chemicals including acids and alcohol. Use the cleaning tips discussed here to always keep your walls sparkling clean.