How to Clean Walls and Ceilings in Your House


Plan ahead for easier wall and ceiling cleaning. Light colours show up dirt and stains far more than dark colours, and non-washable coverings are obvi­ously more trouble than painting your walls with a washable surface. Regular dusting or light vacuuming will help keep walls and ceilings clean. If they do get soiled, and are covered with any­thing other than paint, read any manufacturer’s care instructions before cleaning. Even then, test cleaning methods on an unseen part of the wall or ceiling before removing your stain so that if your method causes any damage, it will not be visible.

Many stains on wallpapers and painted walls can be removed by gently rubbing with a piece of stale white bread. Or you can make a wallpaper cleaning dough by mixing 3 tablespoons of flour with  tablespoons of white spirit and lj tablespoons of water, kneading well for a few minutes, and then rubbing gently along the wall with long, sweeping movements.

Cleaning Walls

Cork

Cork should never be overwet, but just sponged gently with warm, mild deter­gent solution.

Fabric (including silk)

Always follow the manufacturer’s care instructions and never use dry-cleaner or upholstery cleaner. Instead dab gen­eral stains with baby powder, leave for a couple of hours and then gently brush it off. Never attempt to clean silk yourself. Always consult a specialist dry-cleaner.

Grasscloth and hessian

Never use water. Dab stains with baby powder, as for fabric above. Remove general stains on hessian by rubbing gently with a piece of stale, white bread, as for wallpaper.

Paint (water-based)

Keep clean by dusting regularly and using a mild solution of dishwashing liquid on any stains. Rinse and dry well afterwards. Never use abrasive powders and always keep water clean and rinse thoroughly with cold water. If you are cleaning an entire wall or ceiling, cover electric sockets and switches and re­move any paintings, sconces, etc. Clean small areas (about 2 ft, 60 cm, square) at a time and rinse and dry each area before moving on to the next bit of wall. Repaint whitewashed (distempered) walls when badly stained.

Paint (oil-based)

Rub with dishwashing liquid solution or a hot, mild washing soda solution. Tackle general stains with a liquid non-abrasive cleaner and a soft nail brush.

Polystyrene/Styrofoam (expanded)

Sponge tiles with a warm, mild deter­gent solution, never anything stronger. Rinse well afterwards and leave to dry naturally. Do not apply pressure or dents will be left. If badly stained, paint with a water-based paint.

Clean Ceiling

Tiles (aluminium and ceramic)

Clean white grouting with an old tooth­brush dipped in mild bleach solution and then rinse well. Use a detergent solution for coloured grouting. Clean the tiles with a mild detergent solution, then rinse and dry with a chamois leather.

Tiles (mirror)

Wipe with a chamois leather wrung out in a mild vinegar solution.

Wallpaper (non-washable)

Never use water on non-washable wall­paper; instead rub any general stains with stale white bread and rub light smudges and pencil marks with an eraser. Food and grease stains, as well as candle wax stains, can be removed by placing a piece of blotting or kitchen paper over the stain and covering it carefully with a warm iron which will draw the grease out and into the paper. Remove any traces of grease with mois­tened borax or bicarbonate of soda or with liquid dry-cleaner.

Wallpaper (textured and embossed)

Never press textured wallpaper too hard or overwet it. Clean regularly by brushing or lightly vacuuming and sponge general stains with a little mild detergent solution. Dab grease stains with baby powder. Leave for two hours for the grease to be absorbed and then gently brush the powder off.

Wallpaper (washable)

Treat washable wallpaper with care, as you would water-based paint. Always test any stain-removing materials first and never overwet the surface or the paper will peel.

Wallpaper (vinyl ‘scrubbable’)

Although they should not be overwet, vinyl wallcoverings are tougher and can be washed with a mild solution of dish­washing liquid; stains can be gently ‘scrubbed’ with a liquid non-abrasive cleaner. Crayon marks can be removed with silver metal polish and felt-tip pen stains with neat dishwashing liquid or methylated spirit. Never use ammonia, acetone, abrasives or nail-polish re­mover on vinyl.

Filed Under: Home & Maintenance

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About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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