Washing your walls is a wonderful deep cleaning household task. In this article, I will explain how to easily wash your walls with vinegar.

The process is simple and these 5 easy steps will result in a cleaner, fresher home without the use of chemicals.

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Hard wood floors and off white walls with large white baseboards in a living room

Why Wash Walls

Walls get dirty just like ceilings do. Dust and dirt float through the air and stick where they land.

The walls in your kitchen can be even more in need of washing as areas where cooking is done, especially if done with oil, will more readily attracts dust and dirt.

How To Clean Walls – The Section Below Describes the Supplies Needed

Scotch-Brite Scrubbing Dish Clothes in packaging

Supplies:

Scotch-Brite Scrubbing Dish Cloths.  – over the years I’ve used microfiber cloths and plain flannel rags but these scrubbing cloths are my favorite.  Even though the label says dishcloths I use them all over the house for cleaning.  The scrubbers really help to loosen dirt and make cleaning tasks much easier with the need for less elbow grease.

They’re also machine washable and dryable which is another reason I like them so much.  Use them, toss them in the washer, dry them and use them again – no waste and also good for the environment.

*Update 04/20/2019: I’ve been using these scrubbing cloths for over 2 years now with multiple washings and dryings and I have not needed to replace them yet. 

You can also use any cloths you have available, including regular microfiber cloths.

I have a set that was purchased in bulk from Amazon that I use for everyday cleaning and they work well but you may need to scrub a little harder to get off any resistant stains that may be on the walls. 

Two Buckets I like to use sturdy buckets because I have found that the cheaper, lightweight plastic ones can break, split, and leak causing a huge mess so this is one of those cases where I recommend spending a few more dollars to avoid a mess and added hassle.

If you have limited space, another great option is a double pail

Place the rinsing (plain) water on one side, and the cleaning solution (vinegar and water) on the other side but be sure to devise a system so you know which side is which such as marking the rim of the plain water side with a Sharpie marker that says “water” or something similar. 

Vinegar – any kind will do and most of the time I use the regular vinegar you can purchase almost anywhere, but I have tried Cleaning Vinegar and it does seem to do a somewhat better job. You can see it used in this post with several more cleaning ideas. 

And lastly, a Swiffer or a Microfiber Dry Mop 


What Type of Walls Do You Have?

My walls are drywall with washable paint and this method has always worked great for my needs.  

This is IMPORTANT: Before using these tips test the method on a small area that is out of sight (maybe in a closet?) just in case. You don’t want your paint to not hold up to this process but I have never had a problem on ANY of my walls including my chalkboard wall.

Graphic stating How-To Wash Walls in 5 Easy Steps with buckets, vinegar, and dry mop

How to Wash Walls in 5 Easy Steps

Step One

First, remove artwork and other objects from your wall.  If possible, remove nails so you start with a smooth surface.

You also don’t want to scratch or cut yourself on a nail, so removal is best. 

Step Two – How To Dust Walls

Use a long-handled brush of Swiffer-type tool to clean the room. 

Remove cobwebs and dust bunnies carefully without pressing them against the wall. If you do, it will leave a smudge.

High walls shown being dusted with swiffer type dry mop before washing walls

What To Do If You Have High Ceilings

If you will be washing areas that you cannot easily reach, attach the cloth, smooth side out, to any Swiffer-type floor cleaner or if you need something longer, you can purchase a 24foot extension wall cleaner kit from Amazon that works great.   

Close up of dust on Scotch-Brite dish cloth after wiping down walls

You will want to start at the top of the wall and work your way from top to bottom.

Stop often to shake out your cloth. You will be surprised at how much dust has been grabbed and that’s another reason to use a cloth that works well. I once again used the Scotch-Brite Scrubbing Dish Cloths.

Once you have completely wiped the dust and dust bunnies from the wall, rinse out your cloth with fresh, clean water.

Dust baseboards with cloth

Don’t Skip This Step

Dust baseboards using the smooth side of the cloth or a microfiber rag. This step is necessary because you don’t want any dust build-up from the baseboards to get into your water or on your rag and make a mess.

I used the same rags for this entire process but you can switch out to fresh ones if you prefer.

Vinegar and Water solution for washing walls - two-bucket method

Cleaning Solution for Cleaning Walls and to Wash Walls Before Painting

*The vinegar and water solution directly below is great to use for washing walls before painting as well as routine wall washing in the home.

Mix your cleaning solution in a bucket: 1/4 cup white vinegar to one quart (32 ounces) of warm water.

*Always test your homemade cleaning solution on a small and inconspicuous area first before using. 

You’re going to want to use two buckets; one with the cleaning solution and another with clean, fresh water for rinsing.

Stronger Wall Cleaning Solution Recipe

If the walls you will be cleaning need a little more cleaning power, use the solution below.

1 cup ammonia

1/2 cup vinegar

1/4 cup baking soda

Close up of hand wiping down walls with Scotch-Brite dish cloth

1 gallon warm water 

Place your cloth/rag into the solution, squeeze it out well and start washing.  Squeezing out the cloth well is an important step; while cleaning your walls you don’t want to make a mess with water dripping down walls and/or onto the floor.  



Where to Start

Start at the top of the wall near the ceiling and work your way down doing so in small sections.  You don’t want to get ahead of yourself. Trust me, I know this from experience. If you do, you will end up with a streaky end result. 

Another way to avoid streaking is to slightly overlap each section you clean working from clean to dirty

Once you have thoroughly cleaned one section (top to bottom), using the cloth that is in the fresh clean water, squeeze water out from the cloth and go over the section of wall you just washed; one section at a time.

Finger pointing at scrubbing dots on a Scotch-Brite dish cloth

*Note, if you need a little extra scrubbing action switch from the smooth side of the cloth to the scrubbing dots side.

Wiping down dirty walls with cloth

Next, take a dry cloth and dry the wall you just washed and rinsed then move on to another section of the wall replacing water as needed so you always have both clean solution and clean water for rinsing.

Once done, stand back and enjoy the clean walls!

How To Wash Walls

How To Wash Walls

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

How to wash walls with vinegar plus tips to easily remove dirt, stains, and smudges from painted walls and the solution to use to prep walls for painting.

Materials

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar to one quart (32 ounces) of warm water for basic solution
  • MORE POWERFUL SOLUTION
  • 1 cup ammonia
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1-gallon warm water

Instructions

Start by Dusting Walls and Baseboards

  1. First, remove artwork and other objects from your wall.  If possible, remove nails so you start with a smooth surface.
  2. Use a long-handled brush of Swiffer-type tool to clean the room. Remove cobwebs and dust bunnies carefully without pressing them against the wall. If you do, it will leave a smudge.
  3. If you will be washing areas that you cannot easily reach, attach the cloth, smooth side out, to any Swiffer-type floor cleaner or if you need something longer, you can purchase a 24-foot extension wall cleaner kit from Amazon that works great. You will want to start at the top of the wall and work your way from top to bottom.
  4. Stop often to shake out your cloth. You will be surprised at how much dust has been grabbed and that’s another reason to use a cloth that works well. I once again used the Scotch-Brite Scrubbing Dish Cloths. Once you have completely wiped the dust and dust bunnies from the wall, rinse out your cloth with fresh, clean water.
  5. Dust baseboards using the smooth side of the cloth or a microfiber rag. This step is necessary because you don’t want any dust build-up from the baseboards to get into your water or on your rag and make a mess. I used the same rags for this entire process but you can switch out to fresh ones if you prefer.

Now, You're Ready to Wash Your Walls

  1. Mix cleaning solution in a bucket.
  2. Add PLAIN water to second bucket.
  3. Place your cloth/rag into the solution, squeeze it out well and start washing.  Squeezing out the cloth well is an important step; while cleaning your walls you don’t want to make a mess with water dripping down walls and/or onto the floor.  
  4. Start at the top of the wall near the ceiling and work your way down doing so in small sections.  You don’t want to get ahead of yourself. Trust me, I know this from experience. If you do, you will end up with a streaky end result. 
  5. Another way to avoid streaking is to slightly overlap each section you clean working from clean to dirty
  6. Once you have thoroughly cleaned one section (top to bottom), using the cloth that is in the fresh clean water, squeeze water out from the cloth and go over the section of wall you just washed; one section at a time.
  7. Next, take a dry cloth and dry the wall you just washed and rinsed then move on to another section of the wall replacing water as needed so you always have both a clean solution and clean water for rinsing. Once done, stand back and enjoy the clean walls!

Notes

The vinegar and water solution alone is great to use for washing walls before painting as well as routine wall washing in the home.

*Note, if you need a little extra scrubbing action switch from the smooth side of the cloth to the scrubbing dots side.

Did you try this?

Please leave a comment below or share a photo on Instagram and tag #thehowtohome to let me know!

Some Extra Wall Washing Tips

  • To stop water from running down your arm while washing your walls, use some old fashioned wrist sweatbands or wrap a washcloth around your wrist and keep it in place with a thick rubber band.
  • To remove crayon marks from walls use either baby wipes or a cloth damped with water and dipped in baking soda.

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You can check out my other cleaning tips here

How-To Wash Walls in 5 Easy Steps