How Do You Clean Your Walls?

Updated on March 14, 2017
T.D. asks from Springfield, IL
23 answers

and how often?
i am having a kids bday party here and as i am washing down the walls i got curious as to how often and how others do this. growin up we were not allowed to touch the walls, not allowed in this area or that area of the house, we pretty much had our bedroom, and the unfinished basement to play in. or we could be outside... so my mother never really scrubbed the walls. so how was it growing up? and how is it now for your family?

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So What Happened?

its mainly adults comming to the party, youngest is the bday girl and shes my kid... the rest are old enough to just want to sit and play on tablets or iphones. (their parents are at the party too so they regulate what their own kids do)
i am forced to wash my walls 2 or 3 times a year. and holy crap are they dirty! they have dirty fingerprints, they have food splatters in the kitchen, the worst areas are where the dog lays touching the wall.. hes got greasy skin so he brushes against the wall and leaves a grease residue which then collects dirt thus making the wall look like we sponge painted the dirt on.
i am grateful that i am done with that task and i have hope for the future! (wehen that old dogs gone and we have no more pets or no gross oily ones)

Featured Answers

K.A.

answers from San Diego on

You're supposed to wash walls? I have never washed a wall as a regular chore. I wash a wall if something like splashed food from a spill or something gets on it and that's it and then it's only the area where it was splashed.
Drywall doesn't like getting wet. If it starts looking really grungy, I'd repaint it before thinking of washing it.

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

I typically only wash them when I notice there is a dirty mark. My husband washes them thoroughly before he paints. I wash the ones in bathrooms down around sink and toilet, etc. But I don't normally clean them unless reason to.

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B.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Before they're repainted?

You're making me feel like an underachiever...

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A.L.

answers from Atlanta on

We don't clean them, so never. I have enough trouble dealing with floors and bathrooms...

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H.W.

answers from Portland on

My life is too short to get on my kid about where on the walls he touches. I knock down the cobwebs I see, but otherwise, unless there is something visually apparent on the walls, no, I do not wash them.

Growing up? My mom freaked out about stuff like this. She's also nuts, so not a great example. I have a son who likes to pull out my exercise mat (for the floor) and climb the walls in the hallway as a way to burn off energy. I'd much rather have a kid who is taking care of his needs than a spotless wall.

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C.B.

answers from San Francisco on

I just wash them when I notice something spilt/splashed on them - then I do the wall and baseboard so not at set intervals. I use the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. When you get done, it looks like you repainted!

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N.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Depends on the situation, a WHOLE lot!

Flat paint isn't really made to wash. It washes away. Apartments paint is usually the cheapest paint. If you try to wash your walls in an apartment you might find you are literally washing away the paint. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to remove obvious sticky messes or food stuff or even trash debris that missed the can.

Semi flat and gloss levels of paint are much more prepared to be wiped down and/or scrubbed.

If there is something on my walls I usually get it off right then but if I notice something later I might just paint over it.

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B.A.

answers from Columbus on

I can't remember my parents ever washing the walls, and they also never told us not to touch them (unless our hands were dirty).

I think the last time I washed the entire wall in every room was before we painted. I clean the baseboards every two weeks. Mostly I just spot clean.

I use a cleaning calendar my mother-in-law gave me. I has daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and annual tasks. Washing the walls isn't anywhere on the calendar!

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S.T.

answers from Houston on

Growing up we were allowed to be anywhere in the house. My mother grew up in a house like you describe - certain kid friendly spaces and the outdoors, full stop. She hated it so she didn't do that to her children. She never washed walls.

We allow the kids anywhere in our house with gentle reminders not to tear up the house. I never wash the walls unless we are painting. My husband on the other hand gets rather wound tight about hands on walls. It's a daily nag from him to our children. In addition when he cleans, I'll catch him wiping down the baseboards and the walls. I never say anything about any of it but his anxiety about the spotlessness of the house raises my blood pressure. It's not like the kids are knocking holes in the walls. Dirt and scuff marks are part of life and why we paint periodically. Besides kids are a bit clueless and untidy so what's the hang up here? The whole matter is absolutely not a hill I am dying on with my husband. You wash the walls and baseboards if it makes you happy.

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T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Rarely to never?
I guess if something gets on the wall I just clean it as it happens. It's not like the floor that gets walked on every day.
The baseboards however gather dust and grime and I need to scrub those every three months or so, a chore I LOATHE.

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M.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

The only people I know who clean walls regularly are smokers because the walls get dingy from smoke residue. I have never cleaned mine. I just spot clean as needed from fingerprints, splashes, etc.

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J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

I am pretty relaxed about that sort of thing, a few times a year we hit the trouble spots (along stairs ect) but I don't get overly concerned about having perfectly clean walls, this is a home where actual people live and I am to busy enjoying my family to worry about walls.

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T.F.

answers from Dallas on

What a timely question!! You freaked me out to because I don't wash walls on a regular basis!

However, I've gone through a getting rid of carpet to porcelain tile wood in 3 rooms to complete downstairs with no carpet this week.

As I noticed my furniture moved out, I noticed exactly where my dogs slept per the wall.

Mostly, my wall cleaning was spot cleaning and patch painting when needed for fingerprints and such.

Now with my new bedroom, I need to wash my walls!! Just more to do with this project but since you mentioned it... every spot sticks out like a sore thumb to me.

Thank you... I'm adding this to my list since we just wrapped up the floors today. It will not be a routine job though!

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

My mom has wood paneling all over her house and she wipes it down with Liquid Gold once a year.
The wood still looks great after 40 years!
It's surprising how much dust, dirt, residue, cobwebs can build up over time.
I don't wipe down my walls that often but I hit the high traffic areas when they need it.
With kids in the house - grubby hand prints happen.

http://www.bhg.com/homekeeping/house-cleaning/surface/how...

Are you sure you want to wash the walls BEFORE the kids party?
They might need it more afterward!

Additional:
I'm a bit surprised people don't realize what builds up on walls.
Sure if you smoke - there's reside.
But there's also residue if you have a gas stove or burn candles, use scent diffusers, anything you spray into the air ultimately adheres to something.
Dust happens - we all lose skin cells everyday - mostly dust bunnies are on the floors - but surfaces need dusting and walls need it too every so often.
I get cob webs in corners of my 16 ft ceiling in the living room - and they'd be invisible if dust didn't adhere to them (a telescoping pole duster helps with that).
So yeah, the concept of washing walls is not a strange one to me.

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R.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Um, never? I don't have little kids anymore, so they really don't get dirty anyway.

If you use eggshell or satin or semigloss paint, vs. flat, you can easily remove any dirt from the walls when needed. Otherwise, if you use flat paint, the only way to really clean it is to repaint.

It's news to me that people regularly clean their walls.

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J.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

My walls don't typically get dirty (I trained my kids not to touch them) but I am constantly cleaning light switches and around my door knobs. (I use Fantastic and a paper towel)

My baseboards and molding gets dusted weekly.

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I.N.

answers from Atlanta on

I keep extra paint and paint over them as needed. Wiping them just removes the paint. Doesn't seem to help much. So next time I painted, I bought extra!

S.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

I was taught not to touch the walls. I taught my kids not to touch the walls. I spot clean around light switches and clean up spills/splatters as needed. Sometimes the kids have friends over that will touch the walls, and I ask them not to. I use semi gloss paint and it wouldn't really stand up to washing. I think I would repaint before I would bother washing walls.

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F.B.

answers from New York on

Growing up if it was done it was done while we kids weren't underfoot because I never remember seeing it done. Before kids hubs and I would wash the walls once a year. We haven't since but thanks for the reminder I will see if I can get the cleaner to tackle one a month as an add on until we have done them all.

L.U.

answers from Seattle on

Growing up....I don't remember my mom cleaning the walls unless something got on the wall (usually food behind the baby chair). We went where ever we wanted in the house! I have never heard of not being able to go in areas of a house...how strange.
In my home...I don't clean my walls unless I see something gross (again, usually food...or boogers...ick!)
I don't ever just clean them because they *might* be dirty.
And my kids can play in the whole house, although I prefer them not to play in my room.

A.W.

answers from Kalamazoo on

I use a vinegar/water mix in a spray bottle. I use it to wash pretty much everything! lol I don't wash entire walls - mostly just spot clean, like you said, where the dog lays, smudged dirty little finger prints etc.

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C.N.

answers from Baton Rouge on

People actually wash walls?

R.A.

answers from Boston on

My parents never washed our walls growing up.. I did in my first home as we had tile in the kitchen on the walls and in the bathroom.. I also wash the walls before re painting but that's about it.. spot clean is what I do now . Mostly the kitchen , stair wall, and bathroom..

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