How to Clean Walls and Ceilings

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Cleaning a wall (Photo: @reinasierra via Twenty20)
Have you ever cleaned your house only to look up and notice a cobweb on your ceiling? Then you start looking around some more and notice there’s a layer of dust on your wall as well. You’re left wondering how it all got there and how long it’s hanging around.
Knowing how to clean walls and ceilings can refresh your entire home. Here are a few tips to get the job done right.

Essential supplies you’ll need

Before starting, make sure to have the correct tools on hand:
  • Safety glasses
  • Face mask
  • Gloves
  • Broom
  • Vacuum with extension hose and brush attachments
  • Duster
  • Step ladder
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Sponge
  • Bucket
  • Cleaning solution
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Baking soda
  • Small brush
  • Drop cloth

Protect yourself

While using protective equipment is optional, it is recommended when cleaning walls and ceilings. Because you’re working with high surfaces, debris and cleaning solutions can fall into your face and eyes. Wearing a face mask and safety glasses can help protect these areas. Also, you may want to consider wearing gloves. Some cleaning solutions can be harsh on your hands and extensive cleaning can dry out your skin.

Protect your floors and furniture

Have plenty of drop cloths on hand to protect your floors and furniture. The last thing you want to do is make more work for yourself by damaging or dirtying something else in your home. The same thought process works here in terms of high surfaces and falling debris. While most cleaning solutions are multipurpose, others can be damaging to some surfaces and fabrics. Before starting, cover all floors and nearby furniture with drop cloths.

Dry techniques

You may want to start with dry cleaning techniques first to see if they work. Using a duster, vacuum, and broom, you can remove cobwebs and wipe away most dust and dirt. If your extension hose or broom handle is not long enough, you may have to use a step ladder to clean the hard to reach areas. Remember, baseboards are part of your wall. They can often be cleaned easily with a quick pass of your vacuum with the right brush attachment. Textured walls and ceilings are better off being cleaned with dry techniques to prevent damage to their surface.

Wet techniques

Sometimes it takes a little more elbow grease to clean walls and ceilings. When that happens, you usually need the help of cleaning solutions. You can buy pre-made solutions or you can try using items around your house. A good alternative to harsh cleaners is vinegar or baking soda. If you want to gently wipe down a wall or ceiling, you can use a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water as a cleaning solution. You can either wet a sponge or clean cloth with the solution, making sure to squeeze out any excess water before starting.
If you need to remove a stubborn stain or mark, combine baking soda and water to make a paste. Using a sponge or brush, use a circular motion to apply the paste to the area until the mark is gone. Be gentle as you don’t want to remove the paint along with it.
Whichever wet technique you use, make sure the surface dries completely to prevent a water stain and mold from developing.
Consider including cleaning walls and ceilings as part of your spring cleaning with a light dusting throughout the year. Clean up splatters as soon as they happen so they don’t become a hard-to-remove stain later on. All the hard work will pay off by extending the life of your paint and keeping your house looking inviting and bright.