How to Clean Walls Before Painting Any Room in Your House

Updated: Nov. 09, 2023

For professional-looking results, start your DIY painting project with clean walls. Here's what to do.

Painting the rooms in your home that need a refresh can be quite the process. As much as we would love to just slap some color on the walls and call it a day, sadly things aren’t that simple.

In addition to picking colors that won’t go out of style and stocking up on paint rollers, there’s a lot of prep work to take care of first. Here’s how to clean walls before painting for the best results.

Be sure to avoid paint colors that can make your walls look dirty.

Why Should You Clean Your Walls?

Look, we know home DIY projects aren’t always easy or fun. Hiring a team of pros to get the work done in no time is probably ideal for most of us, but it’s not always ideal for our budgets. Luckily, even novice painters can get the job done—and do it well—if they prep for success. And with interior painting, it all starts with a clean wall.

Your walls go through the wringer, even if they don’t show it. Dust, cobwebs, dirt, grime—all of these things can get a little too comfortable on your walls, even with routine cleaning. And, if a brand-new coat of paint is applied to a dirty wall, it’s more likely to peel and bubble sooner than you’d expect.

How to Clean Walls Before Painting

Before you lay down your tarp and line the trim with painter’s tape, show your walls some TLC. According to Sherwin-Williams, this doesn’t have to be anything complicated. You’ll need some gentle dish soap, warm water and a sponge or cloth.

Mix up a solution of soapy water, dampen your sponge and gently scrub away any unwanted grime in a circular motion. Then, give your walls a rinse with a clean sponge, and let dry before painting. For hard-to-reach corners, use a broom or feather duster to bust cobwebs, and you’ll have a surface that’s ready for a fresh coat of paint.

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