How to Clean Walls Without Removing Paint

Dirt, grime, tar and other debris collects on walls. Dirty walls need washed to maintain their proper coloring. Wash your walls once every 2 to 3 months. If smokers live in the house, the walls should be washed monthly. Tar and other debris from the cigarette smoke builds up on the walls, turning them yellow and making the walls smell like smoke. Dish soap is a mild enough cleanser that it won’t affect the paint on the walls.

Couple playing around with paint
credit: Gary Houlder/Lifesize/Getty Images

Step 1

Pour 2 to 3 drops of dish washing detergent into the mop bucket.

Step 2

Fill the mop bucket 3/4 full with warm tap water.

Step 3

Dip the rag or sponge into the water. Hold it into the water until it's soaked. Lift the rag or sponge from the water and wring out by twisting.

Step 4

Place the rag or sponge on the wall and wipe with up and down motions. Add more soapy water to the rag or sponge as needed. Stand on the step stool to reach high places. Do not lean on the step stool.

Step 5

Dump out the dirty, soapy water outside or down a drain. Rinse out the bucket with water. Rinse out the rag or sponge.

Step 6

Dip the rag or sponge into the clean water in the bucket. Wring it out. Wipe the soapy residue off the walls.

Step 7

Allow the walls to air dry. Place fans in front of the walls to increase drying speeds.