Safe Effective Homemade Cleaner for Painted Walls

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If not cared for properly, painted walls will begin to chip.
If not cared for properly, painted walls will begin to chip. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Dirt, grease and grime can build up on walls, making a room appear dingy and dull. When washing painted walls, choosing the right type of cleaner is extremely important. Certain common cleaning products will remove the paint and leave scratches on the wall. Fortunately, several homemade cleaners exist that will cleanse painted walls without damaging the surface.

White Vinegar

A pungent liquid common in homemade cleaners, white vinegar is all natural and will not damage painted walls. Furthermore, white vinegar will kill mold and mildew while eliminating any unpleasant odors trapped in the walls. Fill a clean bucket with 1 gallon of water and 2 cups of white vinegar. Use a sponge dampened in the mixture to clean the paint walls. If the vinegar odor is too pungent for you, add ½ cup of lemon juice to the mixture. The lemon juice will add a fresh citrus aroma to the air.

Baking Soda

Baking soda cleans painted walls and removes odors without using toxic chemicals. Dissolve 1 cup of baking soda in 1 gallon of lukewarm water and saturate a sponge in the mixture. Before saturating the sponge, make sure all traces of the baking soda dissolves. Wring out the excess liquid. You want the sponge damp, but not dripping wet. After you have thoroughly cleaned the walls, rinse the baking soda off the paint by wiping carefully with a clean lint-free cloth dampened in cool water.

Borax

A common ingredient in many nontoxic homemade cleaning recipes, borax is a white powder that contains sodium borate. You can find borax in the laundry aisle of department and grocery stores. Use 1 cup of borax for every gallon of water. Dissolve the borax thoroughly in the water by mixing with a spoon for several seconds. Borax will also kill any mold or mildew growing on the walls. Apply with a dampened sponge. Leave the mixture on the surface for 10 minutes before rinsing off with a lint-free cloth and cool water.

Ammonia

Typically found in commercial glass and window cleaners, ammonia is a versatile liquid that will cut through dirt and grime on hard surfaces. Mix 1 cup of clear ammonia with 1 gallon of water in a plastic bucket. The hotter the water, the more fumes the ammonia produces, so use cold or cool water to mix with the ammonia. Apply with a dampened sponge. Let the diluted ammonia air dry on the painted walls. Never mix ammonia with bleach of products containing bleach. Mixing the two chemicals together will result in dangerous, toxic fumes.

Considerations

Before washing any walls, use a dust mop to remove any traces of cobwebs, dust and surface dirt off the painted walls. Repeat this process once a week to keep your walls looking their No matter what cleaning solution you use, test it on an inconspicuous area of the painted wall. If damage or discoloration occurs to the paint or wall, discontinue use.

When washing walls, start at the top and work downward in 4-foot sections. This will ensure you clean the painted walls completely. While cleaning, refrain from oversaturating the walls. If the wall becomes too moist, the chance of water damage or fungus growth increases.

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