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Tips for Keeping Your Beautiful Walls Looking New

Hester Painting & Decorating painters just left your home and you are admiring your gorgeous walls when it hits you – “How on earth will I keep them clean?”

This is one of the most common questions we receive, so we thought a blog on the subject would be timely. Enjoy!




What is the Recommended Procedure for Washing Latex Finishes?

After the paint has cured for 30 days, the best approach to washing a wall is to start with the least aggressive method; water on a soft cellulose sponge or natural sea sponge. If this is not successful, use a mild, non­ abrasive, weak solution of a wall washing soap like Dirtex or Glisten Blue Soap. Add a small handful of cleaner to 2 gallons of warm water . Be sure that the mixture is diluted to avoid harming the paint film. Directions for use are on the box. Wash the entire wall from bottom towards the ceiling.

What Cleansers Should Not Be Used On A Painted Surface?

Most standard glass and household spray cleaners are formulated with strong solvents that can damage the paint finish and are therefore not recommended for use on painted surfaces.

How Soon Before a Newly Applied Latex Surface Can Be Washed?

Wait until the latex coating has had a chance to fully cure before washing it- typically at least 30 days following application. If it is not allowed to cure properly, paint colors will have some color rub-off in a flat or low-sheen finish. There also may be “shiners” on any colored walls. Shiners are a change in sheen of the paint. This does not indicate inferior or defective paint. Once the surface has dried, the paint should appear uniform.

Washing Procedure:

I        Use one bucket for washing solution and one for clean water rinsing. Use separate sponges (a large sea sponge or cellulose sponge works well) for each bucket.

I        Wear rubber gloves to protect hands.

I        Wring out excess water before washing the wall.

I        Begin washing at the bottom of the wall, working up, so the cleaning solution doesn’t run down the dirty wall and cause streaks that are difficult to remove.

I        When cleaning, rub gently in a circular motion, from bottom up, to avoid damaging the paint.

I        After washing, rinse with clean water and dry off excess moisture with soft, absorbent terry cloth towels.

Tips to Remember:

I        Darker colors and flat paints are more susceptible to being damaged and having pigments rub off when they are scrubbed too harshly. Gloss, semi-gloss and egg-shell paints withstand cleaning better than flat paints.

I        Test your cleaning solution in an inconspicuous corner first. If the wall color and finish look the same, but cleaner, continue washing the entire wall.

I        Always rinse off the wall with clean water after using any type of cleaning agent.

I        If spot-washing a sheen less than a semi-gloss and not washing full walls, shiners may result from spot scrubbing.



As long as it has been cured for a minimum of 30 days, oil and acrylic semi-gloss painted trim should clean up with a mixture of wall washing solution and a sponge.

Take caution if you are washing a door frame or any trim that is right up against wallcovering or a faux finish.



Our first recommendation is to call Hester Painting & Decorating and discuss the situation with your estimator/supervisor.

On glazed walls that have been finished with an oil top coat, you can use a mild solution of dish detergent or Dirtex (mild mix) with a soft cellulose sponge or rag to clean.

All finishes that were applied by a trowel; i.e. venetian plasters, Luster Stone etc. should be checked with Hester Painting & Decorating before cleaning.



First request washing specifications from the wallcovering manufacturer. If the wallcovering is a vinyl, a light mixture of a wall washing solution should be sufficient. Always wash from the bottom up and follow up immediately with a terry cloth towel to dry.

If the wallcovering is a paper or fabric, call Hester Painting & Decorating to discuss the situation before cleaning.



Painted Areas:

As long as the paint has cured for a minimum of 30 days, you can clean with a mixture of Dirtex or Glisten Blue Soap and water (or equivalent solution) and a natural or cellulose sponge.

Paint is not made to withstand high water pressure. If you are power washing the structure, make sure you use a higher numbered degree tip and stay a safe distance away as not do damage the substrate.

Cedar Siding:

If mildew is present, follow manufacturer’s directions on the bottle. Apply by garden sprayer. Scrub with a stiff scrub brush and rinse to neutralize the cleaner. Always protect the ground and shrubs where working. Start from the bottom working your way up. If the siding is just dusty, use a hose to wet the cedar and a stiff scrub brush on a pole to clean, always in the direction of the grain. Never power wash cedar with high pressure as it ruins the fibers of the wood.

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