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Wall Washing Tips: Stains on Painted Walls

Wall Washing Tips: Stains on Painted Walls

It seems like it’s usually right before guests arrive that we notice things in our home that previously escaped our attention, like a crookedly-hung photo, a dust-covered surface we forgot to clean, or some kind of stain on the wall. In the time you have left before the guests arrive, how do you clean those painted walls? What if there is a stain? Can you remove it?

Thankfully, it is possible to wash a painted wall, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind, otherwise you might end up with bigger regrets!

Tip 1: Check your paint sheen

The more glossy or reflective a paint is, the more likely it is to be washable. Satin and Semi-gloss paints are usually fairly resistant to scrubbing, and High-gloss paint is very washable. However, a typical Flat or Eggshell paint is not as likely to do well with scrubbing. Additionally, these lower-gloss sheens are not as resistant to staining, so the stains you wish to remove might not come out as well.

Tip 2: Use a soft sponge and detergent

While the “magic eraser” might be wonderful for a lot of cleaning uses around the home, DO NOT use it on your painted walls. This type of sponge has an abrasive quality that will remove the paint sheen. Afterwards, when you view the wall with light reflecting off it, you will always see those places you scrubbed.

Instead, use a soft sponge or a gentle washcloth. Get it slightly damp, and use some dish soap or another soft cleaner, if you want. Gently scrub the surface and see if the stain or dirt will come off. 

Tip 3: Test it first

Before you go scrubbing the walls in an obvious location, test it out first in an inconspicuous spot. Give the area a good while to dry, and then see if the paint looks normal afterwards. Don’t be alarmed if the washed section has a slightly different look for an hour or two. But if the area is still noticeably different the next day, you need a gentler cleaning method.

Tip 4: If it’s crayon, get creative!

Crayon drawings can be removed from a painted wall (usually), but it takes some creative solutions! Some people suggest baking soda, and other say mayonnaise or WD-40. Apply your choice to the spot, let it sit for a few minutes, and then try washing it off with a damp cloth. If it doesn’t work, try something else.

Tip 5: If all else fails, repaint that section

Some stains just won’t come out. Maybe the paint sheen was not scrubbable, or the stain was allowed to sit too long, or maybe it was just too tough of a stain to remove. What do you do then? The truth is, it’s time to repaint. Unfortunately, you can’t just paint the area where the stain is, as the color will not match perfectly (even if it’s the same can of paint used before).

If it is a strong discoloration, like cranberry juice or crayons, you will need a stain-blocking primer first, to make sure the stain won’t bleed through the new paint. Next, make sure you use the same color paint that was on there before, and repaint the wall from one corner to the other. It is not necessary to repaint the whole room, since the joints at the corners will disguise the slight difference in the paint color.

Williams Professional Painting

Do you have any rooms that need painting, maybe to get rid of stains or to update the space? Williams Professional Painting would love to help! Based in Alexandria, Virginia, we have been serving the Washington, D.C. region since 1979, offering premium interior and exterior painting services at an excellent price. 

Contact Williams Professional Painting today for a free estimate on any house painting project. We look forward to hearing from you!


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