How To Clean Walls Before Painting

When you’re planning to paint your walls, it’s essential to prepare them properly. One of the most critical steps is cleaning them thoroughly. In this article, we’ll discuss how to clean walls before painting, so you can achieve the best possible results.

Why is Cleaning Walls Before Painting Important?

Cleaning walls before painting is essential because it helps to remove dirt, dust, and grime that can affect the paint’s adhesion. If you paint over dirty walls, the paint may not stick properly, and you may end up with a patchy finish. Cleaning the walls also gives you an opportunity to inspect for any cracks, holes, or other damage that may require repairs before painting.

What You’ll Need

Before you begin cleaning your walls, it’s important to gather all the necessary supplies. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Dish soap or all-purpose cleaner
  • Towels or rags
  • Vacuum cleaner with a dusting brush attachment (optional)

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Clean Walls Before Painting

Follow these steps to clean your walls before painting:

Step 1: Remove Dust and Cobwebs

Use a vacuum cleaner with a dusting brush attachment to remove any dust and cobwebs from the walls. This step will make it easier to clean the walls thoroughly. If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner, you can skip this step and use a dry cloth or a duster to remove the dust.

Step 2: Protect Your Floors and Furniture

Cover your floors and furniture with drop cloths or old sheets to protect them from any drips or splatters during the cleaning process. This step will also make it easier to clean up any messes.

Step 3: Mix the Cleaning Solution

Fill a bucket with warm water and add a small amount of dish soap or all-purpose cleaner. Mix the solution thoroughly.

Step 4: Test the Solution

Before you start cleaning the walls, test the cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the wall to make sure it doesn’t damage the paint or wallpaper.

Step 5: Start Cleaning

Dip a sponge into the cleaning solution, wring it out, and start cleaning the walls from the top down. Work in small sections, and rinse the sponge frequently in the bucket to avoid spreading dirt and grime. Use a clean towel or rag to dry the walls after cleaning.

Step 6: Focus on Stubborn Stains

If you encounter any stubborn stains or marks on the walls, you can use a stronger cleaning solution or a specialized cleaner to remove them. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and test the cleaner on a small area before applying it to the entire wall.

Step 7: Rinse the Walls

Once you’ve cleaned the walls, it’s important to rinse them thoroughly with clean water. Use a clean sponge or cloth to wipe down the walls, or you can use a hose to rinse them off if you’re cleaning exterior walls.

Step 8: Let the Walls Dry

After rinsing the walls, let them dry completely before painting. This step is crucial because if the walls are still wet when you paint them, the paint may not adhere properly.

FAQs About How to Clean Walls Before Painting

Q: Can I use bleach to clean my walls before painting?

A: While bleach is an effective cleaner, it’s not recommended for cleaning walls before painting. Bleach can damage the paint, and it’s also toxic and can be harmful if inhaled.

Q: Do I need to remove wallpaper before cleaning the walls?

A: No, you don’t need to remove wallpaper before cleaning the walls. However, you should be careful not to get the wallpaper too wet, as it may loosen or peel.

Q: Can I use a pressure washer to clean my exterior walls?

A: Yes, you can use a pressure washer to clean your exterior walls before painting. However, be sure to use a low-pressure setting and keep the nozzle at least two feet away from the wall to avoid damaging the paint or siding.


Cleaning your walls before painting is an essential step that shouldn’t be overlooked. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your walls are clean and ready for painting. Remember to gather all the necessary supplies, protect your floors and furniture, and test your cleaning solution before applying it to the entire wall. With a little bit of effort, you can create a smooth and even paint finish that will last for years to come.