How to Clean Walls

Walls can pick up an amazing amount of dirt for vertical surfaces, so a periodic light cleaning can do a great job of brightening up a room. Sometimes, however, there’s a build up of more than just dust and grime. Whether you want to do a routine cleaning or have sticky fingerprints, crayons marks, or other blemishes to remove, this guide will tell you what you need to know to have the walls sparkling in no time!

The follow methods are safe for all wall surfaces.

Basic Wall Cleaning

You Will Need:

  • Ladder
  • Vacuum cleaner with attachments
  • All purpose cleaner or mild detergent
  • Sponge or soft cloth
  • Water for rinsing
  • Bucket
  • Dry towel
  • Plastic drop cloth

The Cleaning Process:


  1. Begin by lining the floor with plastic where you’ll be working to prevent damage from excess water or spills.
  2. Use your vacuum’s brush attachment to remove loose dirt and cobwebs. Do not push the brush onto the wall surface, as loose dirt may smudge and leave marks. Allow the vacuum’s suction to lift the dirt away from the wall.
  3. Spot test the all purpose cleaner or detergent in a hidden spot for colorfastness.
  4. Start at the top of the wall. Work from side to side and from the top down.
  5. Apply detergent or cleaner to the wall with the cloth, rubbing or wiping gently.
  6. When the cloth gets dirty, rinse it out and wring out excess moisture.
  7. Work your way through the room, using the towel to dry the walls as you go.

Removing Crayon from Walls

You Will Need:

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Use the dull knife to remove excess crayon from the wall.
  2. Next, simply rub the wall with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. The crayon should lift right up. If you don’t have one, skip to the next step.
  3. Using a mild detergent mixed with water, rub the crayon spot until any remaining marks lift off.
  4. Use the towel to dry the wall.

Removing Ink from Walls

If the ink is water-based, you have a good chance of getting it out if the stain is still fresh.

You Will Need:

  • Soft cloth
  • Toothpaste
  • Hairspray

The Cleaning Process:

  1. While stain is fresh, spray with hairspray.
  2. Wipe with clean cloth.
  3. If stain remains, coat it with plain toothpaste.
  4. Wait 10 minutes before wiping clean.

Removing Fingerprints from Walls

For most sticky fingerprints, along with other light messes, the cleanup is simple.

You Will Need:

  • Mild detergent
  • Warm water
  • Soft or mildly abrasive cloth
  • Dry towel

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Apply mild detergent to cloth.
  2. Wet the cloth with warm water, taking care not to wash away the detergent.
  3. Rub directly over the grime until it’s gone.
  4. Remove excess moisture with dry towel.

Additional Tips and Advice:

  • When washing large portions of a wall, start at the top and work from side to side as you move down the wall.
  • To prevent water from running down your arms, cut the toe out of an old sock and pull it over your hand like a sleeve, then scrunch it up near your wrist.
  • Rubber gloves will help protect your hands from excess moisture.
  • Open windows and use fans for ventilation if you use harsh chemicals or those with strong fumes.
  • To remove make-up, such as eyeliner from the walls, try Goo Gone. Simply moisten a soft cloth or cotton ball with the cleaner and gently wipe away the make-up lines. Rinse with clean water.



  1. Dark walls can be cleaned if the paint is gloss or semi-gloss. Do not try to clean flat paint on dark walls because it will leave streaks and marks, making the problem even worse. As long as you rinse the area well and dry it promptly, it should be fine to clean. If using AWESOME, test a small, hidden area first to ensure there is no damage to the paint surface or color.

  2. Courtney says:

    Windex and paper towels cleaned my kids’ messes right off my painted walls.

  3. Years ago, I learned that crayon marks and scribble marks can be easily removed from hard surfaces (refrigerator, window sills, wood, marble, glass and more). Simply use an old nylon stocking or pantyhose to wipe over the marks and the wax comes right off. (Dry stocking, no cleaner required.)

  4. Spilled a cup of coffee on the floor and it splashed on my ceiling, which I just painted last summer. It’s not coming out. What can I do?

  5. Make sense.

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