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How to Remove Stains from Walls and Ceilings

When you are preparing to paint a room, one of the first steps to take is cleaning the walls and ceilings. Getting rid of dust and grime will help the paint to adhere well. Tackling stains will ensure that there aren’t uneven spots.

How to Clean Your Ceiling

paint prep for dusty wallsStarting with your ceiling is a smart idea so that you can prevent dust from falling onto newly cleaned walls. Lay towels or sheets down on your furniture to prevent it from getting covered in dust and cobwebs.

  1. Use a long-handled, microfiber duster or your vacuum’s attachment to get rid of cobwebs and dust.
  2. To remove thick, stubborn dust on your ceiling, wrap duct tape, with the sticky side out, around a long-handled paint roller. Then roll it along the edges to pick up the dust.
  3. To clean stains and grime:
  • For a flat ceiling, put 1 cup warm water, 2 tablespoons white vinegar and 4 drops of liquid dish detergent into a spray bottle. Shake the bottle. Then lightly spray it onto the ceiling. Run a microfiber mop or damp paint roller over the ceiling to wipe away the detergent mixture and clean the ceiling. For tough stains, spray more of the detergent mixture onto the stain and use a damp, clean white cloth to dab the area.
  • For a textured ceiling, use a soft-bristled brush attachment or vacuum cleaner attachment to wipe down the ceiling.

How to Clean Your Walls

Before getting started cleaning the walls, it’s a good idea to move your furniture towards the center of the room. This will make it easier to clean the walls and sweep up afterward.

  1. Use a long-handled, microfiber duster or your vacuum’s attachment to remove cobwebs and dust.
  2. To tackle stains and grime, combine 1 gallon of warm water with 2 tablespoons of liquid dish detergent in a bucket. Fill another bucket with 1 gallon of warm water.
  3. Dip a natural sponge into the soapy water and wipe down the walls starting at the top. Wash 3-foot by 3-foot sections at a time using circular motions.
  4. Wipe away the detergent by following behind with a damp white cloth that was dipped in the bucket of plain warm water.
  5. Allow the walls to dry for at least a half-hour before tackling any tough to remove stains.
  6. For brick walls or sections, use the attachment on your vacuum cleaner to clean them. Use a scrub brush dipped in the detergent mixture to clean the grout and any stained bricks.

How to Treat Tough Stains

Not all stains are created equally. For the best results, use these different methods to tackle these common stains.

  • Removing Grease Spots: Rub the area lightly with a scoop of cornstarch, baby powder or a piece of chalk. Let the powder stay on the wall for at least 10 minutes. Then wipe it away using a half-and-half mixture of warm water and white vinegar. This should pull the grease out of the paint.
  • cleaning crayon marks on wallsRemoving Crayon Marks: Mix baking soda and water to make a paste. Apply the paste to the crayon marks. Use a circular motion, clear it away with a damp white cloth. If there are any lingering marks, rub them out using a cotton swab wit rubbing alcohol on it.
  • Removing Pencil Marks: Erase the marks with a pencil eraser. If that doesn’t solve the problem, use a baby wipe.
  • Removing Permanent Marker or Pen: Wash away the marks with cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol. Be sure to discard and replace the cotton swabs once they get stained so that you don’t smear the ink back onto the wall.

If none of these methods work to remove a tough stain, you can use a primer on the wall before you paint it. For a light stain, we recommend a multipurpose water-based primer. It has stain blockers to help cover minor imperfections. For a dark stain, we recommend a shellac-based primer that will prevent the stain from bleeding through.

Don’t have time for all this extra work? Don’t worry! Franklin Painters can tackle it for you. The professional painters on our team will prep your walls and ceilings before we paint.

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