Yes, You Should Be Washing Your Walls, and Here's How to Do It

Let's be honest — it can get pretty tough to keep your walls looking totally clean at every moment. Whether you have rambunctious pets or children who like to use the walls as a coloring book, a "less than pristine" look is inevitable. For me, I live in a big city with two energetic cats, so I always feel like my apartment walls are constantly collecting dust or showing marks. But thankfully, walls can easily be cleaned. The secret, however, is learning exactly how to as to not damage the paint.

To help learn the best ways to clean the walls inside your home, POPSUGAR spoke with Michael Nungesser, Owner of Five Star Painting of Central Georgia, a Neighborly company. Nungesser explains that the first thing you should do before cleaning your walls is something you may not have thought of — dust. "Before you dive into wall washing, be sure to get rid of the dust bunnies," says Nungesser. You can easily do this by running the dust brush attachment from your vacuum over both ceilings and walls. "This step in itself may yield a dramatically brighter appearance of your paint color," he adds.

The next step is to figure out what kind of paint your walls may have, as different paint jobs call for different cleaning techniques. "Types of paint that hold up the best during cleaning are semi-gloss and glossy enamel paints," explains Nungesser. "However, flat, satin, and eggshell latex paints may not do so well depending on the quality of paint that was applied — there is a risk of the color fading or rubbing off with overly abrasive wall washing." Nungesser says that if you already know you have a "trouble type" of paint, you should either consider putting on a new coat or hiring a professional wall cleaner to do the job. If you're not positive what type of paint you have, the best thing you can do is test clean a small section, using a simple solution of water on a cellulose sponge, before taking on the whole place. "If you notice any smudging or color fading, stop immediately," says Nungesser. "If the spot is clean, continue the water and sponge technique across the whole wall."

Sometimes, however, you may notice that you need something stronger to get the job done. If your walls still aren't looking and feeling squeaky clean, try using either a mixture of warm water and mild detergent soap, or a combination of 1 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup vinegar, and 1/4 cup baking soda to one gallon of warm water. Nungesser also advises to clean in gentle, circular motions to minimize the risk of stripping the paint and to protect your floors from drips by placing down newspaper or old towels.