Home Interior Painting: To Wash or Not to Wash, That is the Question

home interior paintingIn most cases, when it comes to home interior painting, walls usually don’t have to be washed beforehand. However, if you find that your walls are especially soiled (greasy from years of kitchen duty or even sticky with nicotine residue, for example), you may want to maximize the effectiveness of the painting project by giving it a go.

Although cleaning your walls isn’t mandatory in general, it may make you feel assured that the most thorough steps have been taken to achieve the best outcome. As far as what to use, in addition to the typical TSP solution, we’ll look at a few other options, so that you can pick the most suitable method for your needs.

Home Interior Painting and 3 Ways to Wash Walls

• Using a TSP Solution

One of the ways you can clean your walls is by using a TSP (trisodium phosphate) solution. This longstanding method is good for removing stains and grease marks. If you decide to go this route, you’ll need to do it a few days before the home interior painting specialists get started. This is to ensure that the walls are completely dry, a necessity to allow the painters to begin immediately after the other initial prep work. Although TSP is safer than most other cleaners used in homes, there are some who aren’t fans of using this solution because it can irritate skin and make it difficult to breathe. Be sure to wear gloves and follow package directions carefully. If you feel that TSP is too caustic, read on for more options.

• Alkali-based Cleansers

Using an alkaline cleaner is great for removing bad wall stains, such as ones created by smoke. These cleaners include laundry detergent, washing soda and ammonia. However, you may want to stick to the first two as ammonia can make it difficult to breathe and needs to be used in an area that is well ventilated in order for the air to circulate. To clean your walls before home interior painting, mix ¼ cup of laundry detergent or washing soda with one gallon (approx. 4 litres) of water. If you choose to use ammonia, mix 1 cup with a gallon of water. Before washing the entire wall, test it on a small hidden area first to ensure that it provides the desired results. Mixed concentrations that are too strong may remove paint, but this shouldn’t be an issue if you are preparing the wall for home interior painting.

• Good Old Vinegar and Water

Using diluted vinegar as a cleaner is suitable for walls painted with latex and enamel paints, and you can even use it for cleaning wallpaper. Amazingly, vinegar can remove a lot of stains and even crayon marks. If this is the cleaning method you like best, clean your walls prior to home interior painting by mixing a 50/50 solution of warm water and distilled white vinegar.

Wall Washing pre Home Interior Painting is Up to You

In most circumstances, cleaning your walls before home interior painting begins really boils down to your own preference. With few exceptions, paint will cover anything underneath so it isn’t necessary for you to do so. But if you are uncomfortable about omitting this particular step, then by all means, have at ‘er!

Vancouver painter and contractor Peter Byrne“PETER BYRNE is the owner and hands-on manager of Kassel Painting Limited. In the last two decades he has run over 1500 painting projects totaling millions of dollars. There is little that can go right (or wrong) on a job-site he has not seen, solved, and lived to talk about.”

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