Is it Safe to Wash My Painted Walls?

Is it Safe to Wash My Painted Walls?

Unless you’re quite unusual, your walls get at least a little bit dirty. If you’re at all like me, they sometimes get more than a little dirty! Splatters, splashes, and stains of all sorts can end up in the most unexpected places. And finally, unless you’re unusually unusual, you would like to get rid of these marks. So, is it OK to scrub these surfaces, or will it ruin the paint job? In other words, is it safe to wash my painted walls?

Paint Glossiness – It Makes a Difference

How durable your paint job will be is very much dependent on the glossiness of the paint that was used. The glossier the paint is, the more durable it will be. Since glossy paints form harder, more resilient surfaces, it will be much harder for stains to seep in, and you are less likely to harm them by scrubbing. Unfortunately, however, flatter paints will be damaged much more easily by attempts to wash them.

Your interior walls are probably painted with satin or eggshell sheens, which are about in the middle of the paint glossiness range. They have some durability when it comes to scrubbing. If you are not sure how well it will work to wash your wall, first do a little scrubbing in an inconspicuous place and look at the results when the wall has dried again. If the paint seems unchanged, then go ahead and wash any trouble spots (or the whole wall).

Doors, window frames, baseboards, and trim are most commonly painted with semi-gloss paint, which is nice and washable. They should look as good as new when you’ve finished washing them!

How to Wash Your Painted Wall

When you go to wash your painted wall, start with just a soft sponge (not a magic eraser) and water. If this isn’t enough to get rid of your stains, you can add a little dish soap or vinegar. Don’t rub too hard, and be patient! Also, as I mentioned earlier, start somewhere inconspicuous, so if it looks terrible, it’s not right in the middle of the wall by your dining room table (where all the guests would see it!).

Extra -Stubborn Stains

If your wall is stained badly enough, or if it is marred by extra-stubborn materials, you might need to repaint your wall. If it was a grease stain (like crayon), you might also need to use stain blocking primer to prevent the color bleeding through.


It is difficult to paint just one spot on your wall in a way that will match the rest of it, so you will probably need to repaint your whole wall.

If you have any questions about washing a painted wall, please call Williams Professional Painting. Also, feel free to contact us if you have a project that requires professional painting help. You can count on us! We have served the Washington, D.C. area, including Maryland and Northern Virginia, since 1979, building a reputation for excellence in both interior and exterior painting.

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