should you clean your walls before painting?how?

clean walls before painting

You should clean your walls before you paint or repaint them.

Why not just paint over all the dirt and gunk?

Any wall is going to be at least dirty and dusty. It might have grease or wax on it, too. The paint finish might be glossy or too smooth. You have to wash your walls before you paint or repaint them so that you can be confident that your new paint will go on and stay on.

In this video I show you my techniques for getting squeaky clean walls. If you like reading better, I’ve written it all out just below the video. Thanks for watching and reading!

Hey, this is Kathleen from and today I wanted to show you how to wash a wall before you paint it. So let’s go.

What is the purpose of cleaning walls before painting them?

You need to clean walls before you paint them. You do it so that your new coat of paint will be sure to stick to the wall. Dust and dirt left behind on the wall will make it hard for the paint to adhere. The paint could start peeling right after you paint your wall. Or at the least, you might get some yucky looking textures on your wall.

How can you effectively clean walls before painting them?

I’m gonna show you the supplies I use to wash walls to prep them for painting.

The first thing is to make a cleaning solution one gallon of hot water with two tablespoons of Dirtex. Dirtex is a cheap, powerful cleaner that cuts dirt and grease and does not require rinsing.

Wipe or scrub? You’ll be doing some of both. I recommend having rags with some texture. A microfiber cloth is perfect. Some kind of wash rag like this is good. I like it because it has this nubby texture. This is actually a mop head that I have, but it’s also good for the same reason. I like the nubby texture. It helps get things off the walls. A sponge would also be excellent.

For more stubborn spots, some kind of plastic bristled brush. This one’s kind of nice, because you get a lot of control because of the long handle. This one you can get really intense because the bristles are so tight. This kind can also work well. My favorite scrubber bar none though, is this coarse steel wool sponge for getting really stubborn sticky spots off the walls.

You’ll also want to have a five-in-one tool or a putty knife handy to lift off those little bits of paper.

What is the easiest way to wash walls?

Here is the way I wash the walls.

You always want to start from the bottom. I’m right down here on the baseboards, which I’ll also wipe down, and then I get up here to the wall, hey little helper, and I’m gonna go up, up the wall and that way

if I have any drips I can always catch them as I go up and then as I work my way up.

See these drips? I can just catch them as I go. Okay, so you always want to work from the bottom to the top, and then if you have a situation like I do where you had taken off wallpaper, you are going to inevitably find little bits that got left behind. Little bits of glue and paper, or both.

What I do is, I just take my five in one tool. You could also use a putty knife, and as I’m going along with my wet cloth, when I notice those little pieces, as I’m going along with my wet cloth, when i notice those little pieces, I just lift them off with my tool. The steel wool, sometimes I have found there’ll be a sticky patch where it’s just, for whatever reason the paste adhered really well. If you had wallpaper – and I lose patience just scraping at it – I have found that scrubbing it with this kind of steel wool, so let me show you in this corner, for example, I can see I have a little patch where there’s just more than I’d like.

Those are my favorite tools and methods. I’ve had success with them now in several different rooms in my house and the paint has adhered and looked great after I’m done, so all the work does – it does turn out to be worth it.

Dirtex or TSP are great choices for washing walls – check out my post and video comparing the two, Dirtex vs. TSP. If you’re wondering if you should just paint over your wallpaper, you want to know about Zinsser Gardz Problem Sealer. I’ve reviewed it here in my post and video, Should You Paint Over Wallpaper? And if you’re wondering if you should invest in a wallpaper steamer or just use hot soapy water and scrape it off by hand, I’ve got a post and video on each method to help you decide: How to Strip Wallpaper with Three Simple Tools, How Hard Is It To Steam Off Wallpaper?

Thanks so much!


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