Cleaning 101: Removing Scuffs from Your Newly Painted Wall 

Painting the walls can do a lot to freshen up your house. A clean house makes for a comfortable living area, as well as being welcoming to visitors.

When it comes to cleaning, the walls of a house are often overlooked. Whether this is due to not having time, not knowing how or simply missing the dirt, it is important not to neglect this chore. Over time, dirt will build up, leaving your beautiful newly painted walls looking worse for wear.

 Not only will it make your house look drab, but dirt and dust could pose a health risk to you and your family.

A lived-in home, especially with children and pets, will always show the evidence of its occupants. Let’s look at how we can help you to keep your walls looking fresh and clean.

Removing Scuff Marks 

Nothing is more disheartening than seeing scuff marks appear on your freshly painted walls. Whether caused by shoes, the kids bringing their bikes inside, or bumping furniture into the walls, scuff marks seem to be unavoidable.

The best approach is tending to scuff marks as quickly as possible. The fresher the marks are, the easier they are to clean.

 It is important to minimize any damage to your fresh paint, as this could ultimately look worse. For this reason, it is vital to start off by taking the most straightforward technique.

 Before starting, clean the area with a dusting cloth or small broom to remove any excess dirt. Then, using a soft cloth dampened with warm water, attempt wiping the mark.

 Should this be inadequate to remove the scuff mark, mix together baking soda or vinegar with water. The ratio should be 3 parts water to 1 part baking soda/vinegar. Use a spray bottle to gently apply the solution to the area and wipe it clean with a damp cloth.

 Cleaning Different Paints

As we want to remove dirty marks without damaging the paint, it is important to know how to clean certain types of paint.

The easiest paint to clean is oil-based paint, as most times, it can be cleaned with nothing more than a damp cloth. At worst, dishwashing soap or the solution mentioned above can remove more stubborn marks.

 Oil-based paints are more resistant to wear and tear and are commonly used in high-traffic areas. Oil-based paints additionally repel water which means that cleaning it is less likely to leave a watermark. This is certainly worth considering when painting your walls.

 Latex-based paints can also be cleaned relatively easily. Bear in mind that latex paints can come in a variety of different finishes. These may have other cleaning requirements. 

Cleaning Oil-based Painted Walls

  1. Remove the excess dirt with a soft broom or duster cloth.
  2. Before using a cleaning solution, try to remove the dirt with a damp cloth and warm water.
  3. Mix up a solution of vinegar/baking soda and water, as per the above ratio of 3:1, into a spray bottle.
  4. For more challenging stains, you can also add in a small amount of dishwashing liquid.
  5. Gently spray the solution onto the wall – do not use an excessive amount.
  6. For stubborn stains, leave the solution on the affected area for a few minutes.
  7. Using a cloth with warm water, wipe the dirt and solution from the walls, ensuring that nothing is left behind. Avoid using too much pressure as this can damage the paint.
  8. Wipe with a dry towel to avoid leaving any moisture on the wall.

Cleaning Latex-Based Painted Walls

Two of the most common latex-based paint finishes are gloss/semi-gloss or else matte/flat finish.

If your freshly painted walls have a glossy latex-based finish, the same method as oil-based paints can be used. If the dirt proves to be stubborn, an all-purpose non-abrasive cleaner can be used. This should be your last resort after trying other methods mentioned.

For walls painted with a flat finish, it is worth noting that it is most likely less durable, meaning that you want to avoid any scrubbing that may wear down the paint.

  1. As always, start by cleaning off the excess dirt.
  2. You will want to avoid over-scrubbing the area, so gently wipe the walls with a damp cloth. Check the fabric with each wipe to determine if dirt is still being wiped off the wall, and keep checking to see that you are not wiping off paint.
  3. If warm water is not enough to remove the stain, try adding a vinegar solution. If this also fails, use a diluted solution of water and detergent.
  4. A soft microfiber cloth could assist the removal of dirt or else gently using an eraser sponge.
  5. Once the area is clean, pat the wall dry, ensuring that no moisture is left behind.

General Tips for Cleaning Painted Walls

  • With regards to freshly painted walls, ensure that the paint is fully cured before cleaning.
  • Dust walls and wipe down high traffic areas regularly to avoid build-up of dirt. Also, attend to stain and scuff marks as quickly as possible to minimize the difficulty of restoring your paint to its former cleanliness. The longer a scuff mark or stain sits on the paint, the harder it will be to remove!
  • Before cleaning the spoiled area, do a test patch on an inconspicuous area, such as behind a painting or couch.
  • Do not use too much water as this may leave a watermark. A damp cloth is preferable.
  • stubborn stains, leave the solution on the area for a few minutes before wiping clean
  • If you have used a cleaning solution or soap, ensure that you have rinsed the wall sufficiently to not allow for new dust to settle on the remaining residue

If all else fails, it is sometimes easier to repaint resistant scuffed areas. Contact Woodiwiss Painting for your free estimate.