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How to clean walls with flat paint

Got marks or stains on your walls with flat paint? Here is how you clean your walls with flat paint on them.

How should I clean my walls with plat paint on them?

Walls look best when they are smooth and clean.  Nobody wants their walls to be uneven, dusty, stained, and drawn on.  Over time, your walls will get dirty, and it is important to clean them every couple of months to keep them looking good.

You can clean flat paint walls similarly to how you clean any surface.  Make a cleaning solution, dip a sponge into it, and begin to scrub.

Cleaning walls

What is flat paint?

There are many different types of paint finishes.  Generally, the higher the paint sheen, the shinier the paint will look.  Flat paints have a matte finish and shine a lot less than glossy finish paints.  Flat paint will soak up light instead of reflecting it, making it very common for bedrooms and living areas.  Furthermore, flat paint has the most coverage making it a cheap painting option.  However, flat paint is more difficult to clean than high gloss paint and requires a bit more maintenance.

paint finishes

How to find out if you have flat paint

Flat paint is easily distinguishable because of its matte finish.  The main trait of flat paint is that it will soak up light instead of reflecting it.  If you shine a light onto it and don’t see any reflection, chances are that you have flat paint.  If you see reflections, you might have high-gloss or semi-gloss finishes.

Clear your walls before you start

You will want to completely clear your walls and surrounding areas before you start cleaning.  It really slows you down to have to interrupt your cleaning to move a frame or move some furniture.  Taking your time to prepare a space will save you a lot of time during the wall cleaning process.  Move all furniture away from the walls so you have adequate space to walk and clean.

Start by dusting your walls

Before you get started with deep cleaning, you want to make sure that your walls are free of any debris or dust.  If you have a duster at home, this is a great time to pull it out and use it to wipe your walls.  You might want a duster with a long handle to reach difficult spots on your wall.  If you do not have a duster, you can use any dry rag or microfiber cloth you have at home.  Whatever you use to wipe surfaces will also work on your wall.

Gently rub stained wall with a damp sponge

If your wall-stains are not severe, you might be able to clean them off by simply rubbing them with a damp sponge.  This is similar to how we clean kitchen surfaces. To remove dirt from the wall, simply soak your sponge in the water and wring it out.  You do not want your sponge soaking wet because you do not want your walls to get wet.  Take your damp sponge and lightly rub the stained area.  If you just have dirt stains, the water could be enough to clean your wall.  You will have to use tougher solutions for tougher stains.

Cleaning flat paint wall with vinegar

Was water not enough to get the stains off your flat paint wall?  Try adding vinegar.  Simply repeat the same steps as above but add vinegar to your water solution.  First, mix vinegar and water in a container.  Then, take your sponge, and soak it in the vinegar and water solution.  Lastly, squeeze the sponge so it is less wet and rub it against the wall.  The vinegar helps break down dirt that is extra stubborn.

Cleaning wall with diluted detergent

For super stubborn stains, you can try adding some detergent to your water.  Be careful not to use too much detergent.  Take a container full of water and pour some detergent into it.  Then take your sponge, soak it in the diluted detergent, wring it out, and rub it on the dirty wall.  Hopefully, you see the dirt coming off exposing a clean flat paint wall.

Magic eraser to flat paint walls

The Mr Clean Magic Eraser is a great tool to clean your walls.  There is a tutorial here on how to use the magic eraser to clean walls.  Start by soaking the magic eraser in water and squeezing out excess water.  Next, glide the magic eraser over the stained area.  Dip your magic eraser back into the water if it starts to feel dry.  Hopefully your stains disappear the more you scrub them with the magic eraser!

Be careful cleaning flat wall paint

Flat wall paint is not as strong as other high gloss paints.  For this reason, cleaning too hard could cause discoloration and other side effects.  Be careful when using chemicals on the wall and don’t scrub too hard.  I advise you to test in small areas to see if you’ll damage your paint.

If all else fails, paint over the dirty wall

I recommend always buying extra paint when painting your walls.  If you have any stains, scrapes, or holes, having paint to patch them up is very handy.  Even if you buy the same color from the store, sometimes they come out with slightly different shades because of how they were stirred.  If you do have paint that matches your walls, you could just repaint over the stains.

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