You’ve been dreaming of repainting and finally get the courage to do it. You’ve done your homework, you’ve pre- selected some colors, and you’ve even hired a professional to narrow down the choices to THE perfect paint color for your home. The change is amazing, and you can’t believe it took you this long to repaint. Your home looks amazing and you are so excited about the transformation….

And then it happens. You turn the corner in your hallway to see your beautiful wall has been marred by the black scuff monster.

In panic you grab a rag, papertowel anything you can find to rub it off the wall…but it only makes it worse…..and now it’s bigger! YIKES! Now there is a big dull patch in the middle of your wall the size of Equator.

How to clean painted walls safely |


Wall Maintenance 101

When a scuff monster has attacked your wall don’t attack it with gusto. This will cause the paint to burnish. What does that mean, you ask? Simply put, it means you have stripped off the smoothed out top coat of the original paint, and you have rubbed TOO HARD. To help keep walls clean, wipe them fairly regularly and always choose paints like scrubbable flats, or satins to help remove stains quickly, see below for more info.

How to clean walls Safely

  • Start out with clean warm water on a nonabrasive rag. If that doesn’t work, dip the sponge into a dilution of water and dishwashing soap. For more stubborn cases, you can apply soap directly to your sponge and gently wipe. Keep in mind that the more moisture applied to the wall the softer the paint will become.
  • There are two types of stains. Oil based and water based. If the stain is a water based stain than a wet cloth with water will do. But generally for oil based stains the dishwashing soap will help break it down.
  • What about permanent marker? You can try diswashing solution, however the chemical that makes them “permanent” is the same chemical that makes paint permanent. More aggressive solvents like comet on a sponge, or a sponge with an abbrasive side may help. Get as much of the marker off as you can, but most likely, you will need to repaint that section of the stained wall.
  • Overall scratches and dents. Most dents can be avoided with furniture bumpers. They can be purchased at big box stores like Home Depot, or I like to buy mine from Rockler woodworking. You can also install chair rails. And remember the glossier the paint, the easier to clean!

All paint manufacturers have paints that are considered more durable than others. In fact, many offer high-performance finishes that making cleaning scuffs easy.  All manufacturers offer finishes like scrubbable flat, or high-performance eggshell that are ready to take on your homes dirt and grime. Just ask your local paint supply company and they will be happy to explain the options available to you for your active family.


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