How to Clean White Walls

pink cloth wiping white wall

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Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 mins - 4 hrs
  • Total Time: 10 mins - 4 hrs

Fresh, white walls make a space look bigger, brighter, and cleaner...most of the time. The problem with white walls is they easily become dirty, whether it be due to scuffs from moving furniture or fingerprints from little ones.

It's difficult to keep a home looking fresh when the walls show every sign of wear and tear. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get your walls looking spic and span again. Read on for a few simple methods that will get your walls from looking smudged to smashing in no time.

How Often Should You Clean Your Walls?

Walls can usually wait to be cleaned during deep cleans or before important home events, like moving in or moving out. However, our walls can get dirty after entertaining or in the warmer months when we open our windows to let the fresh air (and with it, the dust) in.

More often, walls require spot cleaning, especially in homes with children and pets. Choose a schedule that works best for you, your home, and your needs.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

Cleaning Tools

  • 1 Sponge
  • 1 Microfiber towel or rag
  • 1 roll Paper towels

Materials

Cleaning Products

  • 1 All-purpose cleaner
  • 1 Mild dish soap
  • 1 Baking soda
  • 1 Magic eraser

Instructions

How to Properly Clean White Walls

  1. Assemble Your Supplies

    Assess the damage and get the tools you'll need. What exactly are you dealing with? Are you just in need of ceiling-to-floor dust down? Are you looking at a few thumbprints or a scuff longer than your forearm?

    The size and type of stain or mark heavily determine what supplies you’ll need. For the most part, you can tackle any stain with a soft sponge or microfiber cloth, but for extra stubborn stuff, you might need a Magic Eraser or a scrubber brush.

  2. Start With Ceiling to Floor Dusting

    If you're not dealing with a spot and are more in the market for a good ole fashioned dust down, grab a step ladder, a damp microfiber cloth, an extra cup of coffee, and get to work. Make sure to check your microfiber as you work, rinse it and wring it out as it gets dirty. You can add a few sprays of all-purpose cleaner here if you'd like, but it's not entirely necessary, just more of a personal preference.

    Tip

    If you want to get extra crafty and thorough, use a tool with an extendable arm that can reach up in high corners.

  3. Spot Method 1: All-Purpose Cleaner

    You can pair any all-purpose cleaner with a microfiber cloth, rag, or paper towel, according to your preference. Try to choose an all-purpose cleaner with an almost soapy texture. You’ll likely use the same one to tackle grease messes in your kitchen.

    These work the best for picking up sticky messes, like if some food or drink is spilled on your white wall. The all-purpose cleaner method works best if you catch a stain immediately.

  4. Spot Method 2: Dish Soap and a Soft Sponge

    Don't let the name of the product deceive you—dish soap actually makes a fantastic cleaner for surfaces all around your home, from countertops to carpets. Try to opt for a mild dish soap that doesn’t have a lot of heavy fragrance or other harsh chemicals.

    For a stain that isn’t quite budging, grab a soft sponge, get it wet, add a dot of dish soap, and sud up the stain. Gently rub the stain until you see suds, let it sit for a bit, and then wipe it clean with a wet microfiber cloth. You may have to repeat the process two or three times.

  5. Spot Method 3: Baking Soda Paste

    Got a really stubborn spot that's still stuck? Try this natural remedy for all types of stains and surfaces.

    • Grab some baking soda and a bowl; create a paste using three parts baking soda to one part water. It should have a slightly sticky texture, so adjust your ratio accordingly.
    • Gently spread the paste on the wall with a wet sponge
    • Let it sit—the longer, the better
    • Once the spot is sufficiently soaked, wipe clean with a damp microfiber cloth or paper towel.
  6. Spot Method 4: Magic Eraser

    Still no luck? When all else fails, it's time to whip out the big guns. Get a Magic Eraser wet and gently wipe the stain or scuff until the walls are clean. Magic Erasers are so strong that this should require little to no elbow grease.

    Use caution on gloss and semi-gloss painted walls. The Magic Eraser can leave a noticeable 'dull' spot if used aggressively while scrubbing.

    Warning

    Remember to use the Magic Eraser on truly white walls, otherwise, this magic little powerhouse will leave a big erased spot on your wall.

Tips for Keeping Walls Clean Longer

  • Spot-clean regularly to keep stains from soaking into the wall
  • Vacuum carefully to avoid dirt being kicked up off the floors and onto the walls
  • Dust ceiling to floor, especially on ceiling fans. Running a ceiling fan sprinkles dust all over your home, a lot of which gets stuck on the walls