The Lost Art of Cleaning – Walls




Main Walls
Main Walls

How long has it been since you cleaned your walls? hhmmm?  Do you know HOW to clean your walls?

No worries, I have the answers for YOU!

My sister Jody, who is the queen of clean is back with another installment in the LOST ART OF CLEANING series.  This post is all about how to clean walls.  It’s not difficult if you know the tricks, and Jody shares hers with us. 

One way she makes this chore SIMPLE is with her brilliant idea, and seriously, why didn’t I think of it first?  Click on over and you’ll see what I’m talking about. 

AND, I share readers tips and answer questions from you at the end of this post so make sure to stay till the end:)

To begin, you will need these basic supplies: 

SO many of you asked about what the sweeper was Jody was using, we finally tracked her down and found out what it was!  

Rubber headed sweeper like this Casabella Quick SweepYou can order it HERE  This is the one she prefers!

walls

wallsOR  something like the SwifferDSC_0131 (2)Other supplies you will need:

Pine-Sol          makes your whole house smell amazing!

Ammonia        great for disinfecting and getting rid of odors as you clean

Bucket

Mr. Magic Eraser          I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these!  I use them ALL the time.  I’d marry them….but you know, lol 

Cleaning Cloths   These are microfiber, thick and should last through lots of cleaning

 


Jody: Walls are a big part of deep cleaning. 

  • It is best if you first move all of the furniture away from the walls in the room that you are cleaning.
  • Take down pictures and have the walls completely bare.
  • When I clean walls I do it by room. So if you are starting in the living or family room, I first move all of the furniture such as couches and chairs away from walls so you have full access, from the ceiling to floor, for easy cleaning.

Walls To clean walls I use a Casabella Quick Sweep and put a Cleaning Cloths that has been rinsed with the cleaner of your choice,

I prefer Pine-Sol  (1/4 cup Pine-Sol to 1 gal of water= to your preference)

or

Ammonia.  (1 cup of Ammonia to 1 gallon of water = to your preference)

You can use the Cleaning Cloths just as if it were a Sweeper or Swiffer replacement in the Casabella Quick Sweep and put the edges in the holes of each corner.

Take off the Cleaning Cloths and rinse periodically as needed so you have a clean cloth to work with.walls

 




I start at the top edge of one wall and go across the top with my Casabella Quick Sweeper I just brush down half way until I have a big chunk of the wall clean, then I do the bottom half, and move over and repeat.

DSC_0133 (2)Continue this all the way around the room.

After the walls are finished, take the Cleaning Cloths off of the Casabella Quick Sweep and clean light switches with the Ammonia

or Pine-Sol solution that you have chosen to use. Main WallsDont’ forget the electrical plugs.Main WallsBe sure to clean around the doors, door jams and any other stationary fixtures on the walls.Main WallsFor black scuffs on your walls I do like Mr. Magic Erasers, however it can take the gloss out of your glossy and semi gloss paint on your wall. Meaning you can see every spot you have cleaned. I avoid using on walls that are not white. Test on an inconspicuous spot to see how a Mr. Magic Erasers will work on your paint before using on a main area as this is not the case on all paint.

You will love the feel and the smell of your home once you are finished the walls! Thank you Jody!  I sure appreciate your help getting our walls clean and homes in order:)


Tips –

The product ratio is recommended by PineSol to use 1/4 cup of Pine Sol to 1 Gallon of water. Recommended by HowStuffWorks the recipe is: Mix 1⁄2 cup vinegar, 1 cup clear ammonia, 1⁄4 cup baking soda, and 1 gallon warm water. Caution: Wear rubber gloves, and work in a well-ventilated area when using this powerful solution. (http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/household-hints-tips/cleaning-organizing/how-to-clean-your-walls-and-ceilings.htm

————

*Be sure to begin at the bottom and work towards the top to avoid drips

————

Mary shares:  In our family we use a cleaning mixture of baking soda, ammonia and vinegar added to a gallon of the hottest water your hands can handle, although using rubber gloves is advised because ammonia can be harsh on sensitive skin. This mixture all but cleans by itself, so be careful where you set your rag down. It is advisable so rinse the walls after washing and you will notice they are even more clean if you do rinse. this is safe for painted surfaces, and some of us have tried it on other surfaces as well. Try it on patio furniture, tires, kids play equipment kitchen cupboards, the possibilities are endless although I would not use it on wall paper, wood furniture or laminate surfaces. The precise measurements can be found on arm & hammer baking soda and bo peep ammonia. Try it, you will be AMAZED!!! Oh, it leaves such a fresh, clean smell to your home, you will look forward to spring cleaning! :)

————

Angela Shares: I keep a bag of “CLEAN” mismatched or damaged socks, at all times and use these for both cleaning furniture and as a generic Swiffer® Sweeper® Floor Mop. I take a few of them and layer them over each other so I get a nice thick cleaning pad, which takes off more gunk off the walls without having to go over the same thing twice. I have a bag in the laundry room that I just toss socks with holes or are fading in their color or got too small.  FOR FURNITURE I take two socks and put them on my hand like I am making a sock puppet and then spray my furniture polish on to the socks instead of on the furniture because I feel it gives it a deeper and a buffed shine.

————

Sara asked me: Any tips for dealing with textured walls? I think the builder was going for “orange peel” but ended up with “rub your skin on this wall and bleed.” It tends to destroy paper products and tear towels after prolonged use. :(

My answer: Those heavy textured walls are really difficult I know we used to have them when our kids were young and getting crayon out of them was really a chore…the easiest solution would be an air compressor to blow out all the dirt and a power washer to clean the walls. But, since that would really be a mess, here’s some tips for you: Use the brush attachment on your vacuum and clean the walls getting in all the cracks and crevices really good to get the dust so you don’t have mud when you wash. Then get two buckets. One with clean water and one with warm water with a little bit of all-purpose cleaner or even mild dish soap. Now, put on an old cotton sock on your hand. This will clean without leaving bits and pieces on the wall like a sponge will. Now dip into the soapy bucket and begin at the BOTTOM of the wall and give it a good wash; working towards the top. If you want, or need, get in there with a soft bristled scrub brush, tooth brush or even finger nail brush if there are some tough areas. The reason you want to start at the bottom is because of the drips from this type of cleaning; this just makes life so much easier and the drips are easily caught. USING EVEN STOKES OF YOUR CLOTH, BEGIN AT THE BOTTOM AND GO TO THE TOP TO PREVENT STREAKS. Now, after the washing, comes the rinsing. Rinse out your sock really well and repeat the process, but with clean water, again with the bottom of the wall first, working towards the top. AGAIN, USING EVEN STOKES OF YOUR CLOTH, BEGIN AT THE BOTTOM AND GO TO THE TOP TO PREVENT STREAKS.

————

Linda asked:  I live in an old house with real wood paneling at least 50 years old. What is the best way to clean them? The ceilings are paneled as well. I want them to gleam!

I replied:   I haven’t had to work with wood paneling in quite a few years, since I was a young teenage actually, so I can’t say I’m an expert in any fashion. I searched a bit and I think I found you a really credible website with some terrific information that should help you in several ways in dealing with wood paneling. The link I found is: http://www.housecleaningcentral.com/en/cleaning-tips/living-area/clean-wood-paneling.html I hope this helps

————

Christine asked: How often would you suggest wall cleaning?

I replied:  A good guide is spring and fall. Weekly or at least twice a month, if you have kids, or a lot of people coming in and out, I like to use the magic erasers (make sure to test in a non-conspicuous area and follow manufacturers instructions), a pail of water with a bit of vinegar in it and wipe the high traffic areas and get all the finger prints, marks and goo off to keep it nice and clean appearing. Even if I can’t paint often, or have ‘NICE, Expensive’ things in my home, if it’s clean – or pretty clean, lol, (it’s good to be able to feel like you live in a home, you don’t want a museum atmosphere, that’s for sure) I find I’m more comfortable and so are those who come to visit. 

————COOKBOOK - CFK Ad buttonCopyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015

Comments

  1. I don’t wash walls very often…that duty was always assigned to our oldest [kid] whenever he got into big trouble! He’s become so good at it that you could have collaborated with him on this post…he would have had a few tips and tricks to share I’m sure! :)

  2. You have to clean the walls????
    Thanks Jody. I knew my mother and Granny did it, but I assumed houses were so modernized these days, they were self cleaning. ;)
    Carrie, thanks for having Jody over.
    Sisters are wonderful!

    • Oh, Melinda, you crack me up! That’s a good one and when your house does clean its own walls, pretty please tell me how to get mine to do it. I’m so lucky to have Jody; I’ll pass this on to her. Thanks Melinda.

  3. Oh did i ever enjoy this one, now i must first mention that the older i get the harder it is for me to do these chores, along with this my short 4’6 height really causes problems for me.. I have a hard time cleaning my over head fans for this same reason, i am a young 73 but also have back issues and getting over four broken ribs. I would just like to find someone to help me wash my windows !!!!!!!!!!
    Great tip on cleaning walls, how about the ceiling ??

    • Wow! You are a tiny gal, and I’m so impressed with all you do! Take care of yourself with your back problems and those ribs my friend. I would like to find someone to do my windows also, lol. Jody will be teaching us how to clean the ceilings and the fans in her next installment in the series. Sure appreciate your stopping by Mary.

  4. Hi Carrie, haha now if only your sister could come to my house and clean for me!
    Thanks for sharing this great cleaning tip at Cooking and Crafting with J & J.
    Enjoy the week.
    Julie xo

  5. These are great tips and actually this was something my mother just did not too long ago! :)

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  6. This make the job look so doable! I’m pretty short, so a big reason I often skip this job is that it requires stools or ladders or climbing on things that probably shouldn’t be climbed to use just a cloth in my hand. Thanks for the inspiration – I’m going to give this a try!

  7. I love this idea, I hate washing walls because I need a ladder and a bucket. Then when I’m just getting things done I need to get down and move the ladder, then when I get back up I need to change the water or I drop the cloth! UUUUUUGGGGGGGGG! This would be so much easier. And putting a washcloth on my swiffer? Brilliant! I haven’t used mine in ages cause I refuse to break the bank for swiffer soap and pads! But I still have the mop itself! Yeah! Thanks for linking to #WAYWOW

    • That’s another great idea Virgina, thank you for letting us know how you clean your walls. It’s always so nice to have options. Please let us know more of your tips for cleaning.

    • Hello Laura and thank you for asking that question. I would definitely see if you can find any instructions for your particular paint brand on the can itself, calling a paint store, or even googling the brand. If none of that works, you might try cleaning the walls in a non-conspicuous area to see how it affects the walls. I hope this helps and happy cleaning:)

  8. Hello!
    While washing my walls with my swiffer, I discovered that the dry swiffer cloths work much better than a wet rag of any kind! It was amazing, and soooooo much time was saved! I couldn’t believe how well they worked! No more messy water for me! Try it and let me know what you all think!

    • A good guide is spring and fall. Weekly or at least twice a month, if you have kids, or a lot of people coming in and out, I like to use the magic erasers (make sure to test in a non-conspicuous area and follow manufacturers instructions), a pail of water with a bit of vinegar in it and wipe the high traffic areas and get all the finger prints, marks and goo off to keep it nice and clean appearing. Even if I can’t paint often, or have ‘NICE, Expensive’ things in my home, if it’s clean – or pretty clean, lol, (it’s good to be able to feel like you live in a home, you don’t want a museum atmosphere, that’s for sure) I find I’m more comfortable and so are those who come to visit. Thanks for asking such a great question Christine.

  9. Uff…washing walls is my least favourite job in the house… I pass the vacuum cleaner up and down the walls, but it does sometimes leave marks and my walls are all super white. But this is way better and I easier than holding up the vacuum cleaner. It’s a great tip, Carrie, it cleans better too I bet!!! On parts like the stairs, which are high it’s a great way to reach the top! Thanks for sharing this! Have a great weekend!!!

  10. Okay I live in an old house with real wood paneling at least 50 years old. What is the best way to clean them? The ceilings are paneled as well. I want them to gleam!

    • Hello Linda and I’m so glad you stopped by with a question. I haven’t had to work with wood paneling in quite a few years, since I was a young teenage actually, so I can’t say I’m an expert in any fashion. I searched a bit and I think I found you a really credible website with some terrific information that should help you in several ways in dealing with wood paneling. The link I found is: http://www.housecleaningcentral.com/en/cleaning-tips/living-area/clean-wood-paneling.html I hope this helps and please let me know if you have any other topics you’d liked covered in my Lost Art Series.

    • Swifter with microfiber cloths and Murphys Oil Soap OR AMISHMILK. If not shiny enough try lemon or orange polish. Apply THIS coat. Let rest and run over with a clean old thirty on your swiffer. I rubber band and can turn it when it gets too oily.

  11. Hi, Carrie! I remember my parents used to clean the walls, but can’t remember when I forget about it. I must confess I don’t clean walls too often…
    Hugs,
    Pili

  12. Ran across this post again, and I’m so happy I did. When I was hanging the Christmas decorations I ran into a bunch of spider webs, UG! LOL the worst thing? I left them there, I didn’t want to deal with them, then this post popped back up, I think it’s a sign to clean my walls when I take them down. Hmmm, now I think I’ll leave them up for a bit! LOL

    • I’m not sure on this one. I would recommend googling and seeing what cleaner would cut the soot. I remember as a kid one house I lived in had a coal furnace and there is a definite soot that comes from certain fuels. Sorry I can’t be of more help, but thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you find other posts that will be helpful to you and that you enjoy.

  13. I keep a bag of “CLEAN” mismatched or damaged socks, at all times and use these for both cleaning furniture and as a generic Swiffer® Sweeper® Floor Mop. I take a few of them and layer them over each other so I get a nice thick cleaning pad, which takes off more gunk off the walls without having to go over the same thing twice. I have a bag in the laundry room that I just toss socks with holes or are fading in their color or got too small and with 4 people in my family you can count on a steady supply of these socks, lol.

    FOR FURNITURE

    I take two socks and put them on my hand like I am making a sock puppet and then spray my furniture polish on to the socks instead of on the furniture because I feel it gives it a deeper and a buffed shine.

    • What great ideas Angela! Thanks for your fabulous suggestions. I really like the one of re-purposing old socks in these ways of cleaning your walls and in polishing furniture – brilliant! Please come by and share some more ideas with us.

  14. Any tips for dealing with textured walls? I think the builder was going for “orange peel” but ended up with “rub your skin on this wall and bleed.” It tends to destroy paper products and tear towels after prolonged use. :(

    • Hello Sara! Those heavy textured walls are really difficult I know we used to have them when our kids were young and getting crayon out of them was really a chore…the easiest solution would be an air compressor to blow out all the dirt and a power washer to clean the walls. But, since that would really be a mess, here’s some tips for you: Use the brush attachment on your vacuum and clean the walls getting in all the cracks and crevices really good to get the dust so you don’t have mud when you wash. Then get two buckets. One with clean water and one with warm water with a little bit of all-purpose cleaner or even mild dish soap. Now, put on an old cotton sock on your hand. This will clean without leaving bits and pieces on the wall like a sponge will. Now dip into the soapy bucket and begin at the BOTTOM of the wall and give it a good wash; working towards the top. If you want, or need, get in there with a soft bristled scrub brush, tooth brush or even finger nail brush if there are some tough areas. The reason you want to start at the bottom is because of the drips from this type of cleaning; this just makes life so much easier and the drips are easily caught. USING EVEN STOKES OF YOUR CLOTH, BEGIN AT THE BOTTOM AND GO TO THE TOP TO PREVENT STREAKS. Now, after the washing, comes the rinsing. Rinse out your sock really well and repeat the process, but with clean water, again with the bottom of the wall first, working towards the top. AGAIN, USING EVEN STOKES OF YOUR CLOTH, BEGIN AT THE BOTTOM AND GO TO THE TOP TO PREVENT STREAKS. I hope this helps you out Sara.

    • It will Shelley. Just try it on an inconspicuous place to make sure it won’t be a problem on your paint and if it’s not, then happy cleaning! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you visit often.

    • Renee, I have a special tip at the end of my post (the TIP section) all about cleaning textured walls and how to use a sock or thick rag on your hand. If you can’t see it easily, or have further questions, please contact me again, and let’s get those walls spic-and span!!!

  15. Didn’t know that Pine Sol or ammonia was ok to use on painted walls. It won’t take the paint off? I’ve been wondering how to clean the handprints and splatter marks let by little ones. Thanks!

  16. If u find the drippy lines are still there when the walls are dry, a tip is to start washing from the bottom to the top.

    • That’s a fabulous tip Andrea! Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and share that with us. Anything that makes the work quicker and more successful is better right!

  17. What brand “mop” do you use? I know it isn’t Swiffer because the design is different and it is more sturdy. I tossed the Swiffer I had years ago because it was too cheaply made.

    • Hello Gail, I double checked with my sister and she can’t find the brand on the sweeper type of tool she used, but she found it at Walmart and Target. I will be on a quest to get the exact name to put on this post. THANK YOU for bringing this to my attention!

  18. In our family we use a cleaning mixture of baking soda, ammonia and vinegar added to a gallon of the hottest water your hands can handle, although using rubber gloves is advised because ammonia can be harsh on sensitive skin. This mixture all but cleans by itself, so be careful where you set your rag down. It is advisable so rinse the walls after washing and you will notice they are even more clean if you do rinse. this is safe for painted surfaces, and some of us have tried it on other surfaces as well. Try it on patio furniture, tires, kids play equipment kitchen cupboards, the possibilities are endless although I would not use it on wall paper, wood furniture or laminate surfaces. The precise measurements can be found on arm & hammer baking soda and bo peep ammonia. Try it, you will be AMAZED!!! Oh, it leaves such a fresh, clean smell to your home, you will look forward to spring cleaning! :)

  19. *Be sure to begin at the bottom and work towards the top to avoid drips

    Opposite, because gravity. Begin at the top, whatever drips down you will eventually get to.

  20. UK reader – we don’t have Pine SoL! Is it just a disinfectant? And as for ammonia would normal bleach do or is that too harsh?

    • Hello Sheryl, yes PineSol is a disinfectant that also cleans grease and heavy stains. So if you can find something comparable, that would be terrific. I would not use bleach on my walls personally, I do think it would be too harsh and would potentially damage/stain/discolor the paint. If you cannot find ammonia, possibly vinegar would also work in its place. Thank you so much for contacting me and watching my site.

  21. I came to the right place, I love all the good tip’s, how do I remove cigarette smoke from the walls, I am going to quit due to the fact I hate to smell smoke and it’s really bad for my health, I used tsp for my walls it did nothing but make my walls look bad, help, Thanks.

    • Thank you Deborah for coming by and for your question. I just found this while searching for your answer since I haven’t had this situation myself yet. Check out this site: http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf001194.tip.html I also read that some people had great success when cleaning with straight ammonia or vinegar. I wish you success in quitting. YOU CAN DO IT! Me and all your AMS friends here are right behind you all the way cheering you on. Keep us posted on how you are doing and thanks for stopping by.

    • Now, I will have to look into that Pam! Thank you for bringing up the mop, I didn’t even know that Magic Eraser made a mop – something new every day. Please stop by again soon!

  22. Looking forward to more posts on cleaning anytime I can find an efficient way to clean my house the better I like the posts.

    • I am so glad that you found this series in the Lost Art Series Carlee! We are working on more tips and tricks to help with cleaning, so watch for those coming in the near future.

  23. I realized cleaning walls was a good thing when I had to clean the smell of nicotine off rather recently painted walls and ceilings in otherwise good condition.
    TOOL OF CHOICE: Flat microfiber mop. You can wring it before so it doesn’t drip too much and rinse during the process if getting too dirty before you’re finished.
    CLEANING PRODUCT: Lavender scented Pinesol and the whole placed smelled awesome afterwards and not too strong.
    Enjoy!

    • Paula, this is a GREAT idea and thank you for sharing your idea with us! This is a problem for many to deal with and now we know how to take care of it. I sure appreciate your time!!!

  24. I have stucco ceilings in most of my house and my arms really get tiered cleaning the ceilings I need some advice on this as well as getting certain things off the walls and ceiling such as soot from an electrical fire we had plus sour crout on a wall long story their and grease as well but with sour crout I’ve tried everything i could think of including the paint scraper which I wanted to repaint anyway but this has gotten ridiculous what can I do.

  25. For all those who are challenged with ceiling cleaning. My house is all wood paneling with white 12″x12″ ceiling tile. What we’ve always done is use a floor cleaning mop; those kind that the handle in the middle allows you to pinch the cleaning pad/sponge like butterfly wings to wring out. That and a 5 gal. bucket with hot water and Spic-an-span. Stand on the floor and use the mop to reach. Flush and rinse. Just be careful you get the pad flat on the tiles so you don’t gouge them. Hand clean around the edges where the wall & ceiling meet. Works wonders and beats the heck out of a scrub cloth and working with your hands totally over your head continuously.

    • This is genius Juanita! I love this and thank you SO much for sharing your tips with us. When I do the ‘how to clean ceiling’s I’ll add YOUR idea here with YOUR name so it can be referenced there also. I really appreciate your time to give us this cleaning idea!!!

    • What a fantastic idea Alisha! Vinegar is a wonderful cleaner, you are right. And I love the idea of adding in the oils for a fabulous clean smell to the house. THANK YOU so much for sharing your tips with us!!!

  26. I have a large mirror half a wall up X 11 1/2 foot. I use my own mix, 1 cp vinegar to a gal hot water, 1/2 cp ammonia, and 1 tsp corn starch, a drop of dawn. I use the fuzzy T handle to wet & clean and a 12 inch squeegee to dry. I will use the fuzzy T bar to clean my walls as I have several just for that purpose. You will need a large rectangle bucket, then hand wring out the fuzzy. It works pretty good.

    • Now, that is clever! I will have to give that a whirl very soon! Thank you for sharing that mixture with us so we can try it. Homemade solutions are always the best and that one is really great.

  27. Do shower walls (tub enclosure) count as “walls” in our homes? If so I use Scrubbing Bubbles & a sponge mop to clean it. SO much easier on your back.
    Fabuloso also works well & makes your bathroom smell wonderful.
    Thanks for all the great tips.
    I too was one that didn’t know you needed to clean other walls in my home.

  28. I use my Rubbermaid spraymop. I just remove liquid reservoir. The microfiber pad head works great. But, how would the pinesol /ammonia be on walpaper. I usually use a vinegar mix.

    • I think it would be a good idea to rinse and dry them, but I am not an expert in this area, so I’d check with a paint store, or the paint source from where you purchased the product. Happy Painting!

    • Hello Annette, I’m glad you asked that question. I found this solution on: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/rid-nicotine-stains-walls-92410.html
      I hope it helps. Thank you for stopping by and happy cleaning!
      1
      Dust the walls by wiping them with a microfiber cloth or damp chamois cloth. Alternatively you can vacuum them with a hose and upholstery brush attachment to get into corners and crevices.
      2
      Fill a 1-gallon bucket with hot tap water. Add 3 tablespoons of dish soap and 1/2 cup baking soda. Stir to mix.
      3
      Dip a sponge into the homemade cleaning solution, wring it out and then wash the walls from the bottom up. Dry each section with a microfiber or chamois cloth immediately after washing to prevent the wall from absorbing too much water.
      4
      Pour 1 cup of undiluted white vinegar, ammonia or lemon juice into a bowl. If using vinegar or ammonia, open the windows or turn on a fan.
      5
      Dip a sponge into the vinegar or ammonia. Wash the walls, starting from the bottom up and scrubbing gently in a circular motion.
      6
      Rinse the sponge in clean water, wring it out and wipe the walls down. Dry them with a microfiber or chamois cloth.

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