How to Clean Your First Apartment Walls Without Damaging the Paint

Walls are often one of the most overlooked parts of the apartment when it comes to cleaning, but being sure to keep them clean can help keep your apartment looking well-kept. How should you clean your first apartment walls in a way that won’t damage the paint? Read on below to find out.

Always dust first

Whichever method you use to clean your apartment walls, make sure you dust the walls first. This is often something that gets overlooked when apartments are cleaned in between tenants, so a large amount of dust and dirt can build up over time. If you wash the walls before dusting, especially with a harsh rag, you can scratch the paint with the dust that has accumulated.

Know your paint

Not all types of paint are created equal, and some will chip and scratch more easily than others. Semi-gloss and enamel paints will be more durable than flat or satin paints, so be sure to be extra careful if your walls don’t have any shine to them.

In addition to the finish, it may be helpful to know whether your interior paint is latex or oil-based. Most methods of testing this can cause small sections of paint to peel, so try asking your landlord which kind of paint is used in your apartment and saying it’s so you can clean the walls safely. Many landlords and property management companies use the same paint for every one of their units.

Use the right cleaner

Not only is it important to know how gentle to be with different types of paint, but there are actually different cleaners that work better for different types of paint as well. If your paint is latex-based, use a gentle solution of warm water mixed with a little bit of dish soap with no bleaching agents.

For oil-based paint, use a mixture of two cups of water, a tablespoon of white vinegar and half a tablespoon of dish soap. Finally, for very flat paints that can be easily damaged, first, try washing with nothing more than warm water. If any tough stains remain, incrementally add small amounts of dish soap.

Spot test in a less noticeable area

When you start cleaning the walls, be sure to spot-test in an out-of-sight area just in case something goes wrong. This could be close to the floor in a corner of the room or behind a piece of furniture. Be sure to completely clean this area, let it dry, and inspect the dried paint for any signs of cracking or bubbling.

Don’t use too much water

One of the most common mistakes made when cleaning walls is using too much water. While this may not immediately crack the paint, it can soak into the sheetrock behind the paint. Over time, this damp sheetrock can cause the paint to start bubbling or peeling and can also lead to mold and fungus. If you have to wash your walls with water, get your rag wet and then wring it out as much as you can before starting.

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