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How to Clean Your Interior Walls Before Painting

Painting your walls can really add to the look of your home’s interior. It can also help you get your house ready to sell by making the colour palette nice and neutral. Either way, the process of painting walls presents a few unique challenges.

Cleaning your walls prior to painting them is an important step that ensures your paint job will stay clean and healthy for years to come. Failing to properly clean your walls before painting them can cause things like mold and other issues to crop up.

Keep reading to find details on how to clean your walls before painting, as well as tips and tricks for how to make your paint job go as smoothly as possible.

On this particular subject, different major paint manufacturers provide varying suggestions. Sherwin-Williams, for instance, offers this advice: “Washing your walls and trim will remove filth, cobwebs, dust, and stains that can prevent your paint from sticking”. PPG, on the other hand, advises you to “wipe walls clear of dust and dirt”.

How To Wash Walls

The majority of walls may be cleaned with a sponge and warm water. However, there is no singular optimal method to wash walls before painting. Kitchen walls, for example, should be washed with a solution of water and a grease-cutting detergent before being rinsed with clean water to eliminate any remaining cleaning products. Finish by using a damp cloth to clean the walls.

Ensuring everything dries completely is the most crucial step in the procedure. Applying primer or paint on moist walls can lead to a variety of problems, such as the paint bubbling or peeling away.

Step 1: Use A Slightly Damp Cellulose Sponge for Washing Walls

Cellulose sponges are a good middle ground between abrasive and gentle. Using one that is only slightly damp will avoid your walls absorbing a bunch of water before you apply your paint. It’s still important to allow the clean walls to dry before you continue.

Step 2: Make Sure to Remove Grime

This is another important step for making sure your paint stays nice. Grime and mildew can continue to grow underneath paint if you don’t clean it properly, so it’s best to get rid of it before applying the paint.

Grime can be removed with a sponge and a mixture of three to four parts water to one part bleach. Apply the solution, let it sit for a few minutes, then use a soft brush to scrub the impacted surface before rinsing it off with clean water. Wear gloves and safety eyewear, and give the clean walls time to dry.

Step 3: Sand Down The Walls

While sanding is not necessary for every painting project, rough patches on walls should be sanded before painting in order to ensure that the paint applies smoothly, regardless of whether the wall has been painted before or not. Any uneven surfaces can be smoothed out with sandpaper or a sanding block. Then, use a moist cloth to remove any dust.

For surfaces that have previously been painted with gloss or high-gloss paint, smoothing the walls before painting is required. Use fine-grit sandpaper to remove any water-based paint that has already been painted. A medium-grit sandpaper (100 to 150-grit) should be used for oil-based paint. Once more, wipe away any dirt and give it time to dry completely.

Step 4: Apply Some Primer

To ensure that the paint adheres effectively and that you receive the smoothest, cleanest finish possible, a primer prepares the painting surface and seals any stains. In 3- by 3-foot portions, apply the primer. Work from top to bottom while bouncing the paint roller back and forth across the wall.

Usually, two coats of primer are sufficient to prepare a wall for painting. However, brighter colours underneath often need less, whilst darker colours typically need more.

Step 5: Can You Paint Over Wallpaper?

It is not advisable to paint over wallpaper, especially if it has a strong texture or a high shine. Wallpaper seams cannot be concealed with even the best, most expensive paint. For wallpaper removal, you can hire a professional painting service such as Canton Commercial Painting.

Step 6: Tips For Cleaning Walls

There are a few tips you can follow to help make cleaning your walls easier before painting:

  • Use towels to protect your floor from excess water or cleaning product
  • Dust your walls before cleaning
  • Use a combination of water and dish soap
  • Test your cleaning product on a small patch of the wall before doing the rest
  • Use gentle, circular motions when gently rubbing

Final Thoughts

Regularly cleaning high-traffic areas can help cut down on dirt buildup in the first place, light switches and doorknobs especially will gather lots of dirt. If you have children or pets, cleaning your walls more often is typically necessary.

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