Looking after walls properly

Walls are probably one of the most overlooked areas of a property when it comes to dedicated cleaning. As they don’t tend to strike most of us as a priority, we often assume that what they really need is a lick of paint every few years.

But once the time and effort has been spent on decorating them – and that includes wallpapering which can be even more of a job than a paint refresh – mastering a few specific techniques and methods for cleaning can keep them looking better for longer, despite the inevitable scuffmarks and smudges.

When it comes to painted walls, different paint finishes have different levels of resilience. Gloss and semi-gloss paints are tough but matt, satin and eggshell finishes are far more fragile.

We tend to think that dust only settles on horizontal surfaces, but it also settles on the vertical surfaces of walls and dulls their surfaces just like it does the furniture. Wiping with a long-handled floor mop with a dry microfibre pad is ideal as it collects the dust rather than just spreading it about. Remove pictures and dust the wall with overlapping vertical strokes. Check the microfibre pad regularly and give it a shake outside so that you don’t just spread the dust about. You can also use a vacuum cleaner’s soft brush if you’d prefer and both methods can be used on painted and papered walls.

After you’ve dusted the walls, focus on the areas around light switches and door handles as they are likely to have grubby marks which have built up over time. Use a wrung out sponge or cloth dipped in soapy water and wipe the grubby area from bottom to top to avoid running water marks. Wring out your cloth in clear water, rinse the area you’ve just cleaned and leave to dry. Just make sure that you don’t use too much liquid, rub gently and work from bottom to top.

Any stubborn greasy marks that remain after the soapy and water rinse can often be removed by gentle rubbing with an eraser sponge. Rubbing with bicarbonate of soda paste is a traditional method of removing marks but it can be abrasive enough to remove a layer of paint or rub the wallpaper away so proceed with caution. This method is ideal for vinyl wallpaper but don’t try the damp method on non-washable wallpaper. This will need a dry method so try an art eraser, dry sponge or even a ball of dry bread! As with all stains, remember to dab not rub.

As usual, the key to keeping walls clean is to do little and often, and if you just cannot remove the stain, you may be able to touch up with paint over that small area rather than the whole wall or room.

ServiceMaster Clean provides exceptional commercial office and industrial cleaning in the North West.

To discuss your cleaning requirements with our experts, please get in touch.