a hand in yellow glove wiping a wall with a rag

How to Clean Room Walls

Imagine you’re staring at your bedroom walls, and all you can see are little marks, smudges, and maybe even a random doodle from when you were bored. Sound familiar? Walls are like silent witnesses to all our indoor adventures, and over time, they can gather a lot of stories… and dirt! While many of us focus on tidying up the floor and arranging our desks, the walls are often left behind, waiting for a little TLC. But fear not! If you’ve ever wondered “how to clean room walls”, we’ve got you covered. Dive into our easy guide, designed just for young readers like you, and transform those tired walls back to their shiny, happy selves!

Tools and Materials for Cleaning Room Walls

  • Microfiber cloths: Effective for dusting and wiping walls without scratching.
  • Bucket: To mix and hold your cleaning solutions.
  • Soft sponge: For gentle cleaning without causing damage.
  • Brushes: Both soft and stiff brushes, depending on the type of wall and stain.
  • Telescopic duster: For reaching high areas and corners.
  • Step ladder: To safely reach higher areas of the wall.
  • Rubber or latex gloves: To protect your hands when using cleaning agents.
  • Face mask: Useful when working with strong chemical cleaners.
  • Dish soap: A mild cleaning agent for various wall types.
  • White vinegar: A natural cleaning solution for many types of stains.
  • Baking soda: Helpful for tougher stains and marks.
  • Rubbing alcohol: Effective for certain stains like permanent marker.
  • Toothpaste (not gel type): Useful for crayon marks.
  • Magic Eraser or similar products: For a range of stains.
  • Wallpaper brush or sponge: For wallpapered walls.
  • Sealants and finishes: To protect walls after cleaning.
  • Childproof locks (optional): For storing cleaning supplies safely.
  • Drop cloths or towels: To protect the floor from drips during cleaning.

Understanding Different Wall Types

Why Knowing Your Wall Type Matters

Before diving into the world of wall cleaning, it’s crucial to know what kind of wall you’re dealing with. Think of it this way: just as you wouldn’t wear a snow jacket in the middle of summer, each type of wall needs its own special cleaning care. Picking the right method and products depends on the material of the wall. Using the wrong one might even damage it! So, how do we figure out what’s what? Let’s explore.

The Most Common Wall Materials


Most modern homes have walls made of drywall. It’s smooth and has a kind of papery surface. When thinking about “how to clean room walls” made of drywall, remember that they can be sensitive to too much water. So, gentle cleaning is the name of the game!


Older homes might have plaster walls. They’re harder and more solid than drywall. They can withstand a bit more scrubbing, but always be gentle first to see how the wall reacts.

Wood Paneling

Walking into a room with wood paneling feels cozy and rustic. This type of wall can vary – some might be polished and shiny, while others are rough and unfinished. Depending on its finish, wood might need a special cleaner.


Brick walls are sturdy and can handle more rigorous cleaning. Often found on exteriors, you might also find them indoors giving rooms a cool, industrial feel.

Making The Right Cleaning Choice

Now that you can identify the main types of walls, choosing the right cleaning products and methods becomes easier. Always check labels on cleaning products to see if they mention a particular type of wall. And when in doubt, test a small hidden spot before cleaning the whole wall.

Remember: Knowing “how to clean room walls” starts with understanding them. With a bit of knowledge, your walls can look as good as new in no time!

Pre-cleaning Preparation

Getting Ready for a Wall Makeover

Before you jump into the exciting task of bringing your walls back to life, there’s some groundwork to be done. Think of it like warming up before a workout; a little prep goes a long way! Proper preparation ensures that not only do the walls get cleaned, but the rest of your room remains in tip-top shape too. Let’s set the stage for a successful wall cleaning.

Clear the Battlefield

Moving Furniture and Items

Your walls are the main event, so let’s give them the space they need. Begin by moving furniture, toys, or any other items that are close to the walls. Not only does this make it easier for you to move around, but it also prevents any accidental bumps, damage, or staining from cleaning products. Safety first!

Protecting Your Floors

Towels and Drop Cloths

While we’re focused on “how to clean room walls,” we shouldn’t forget about the floors. As you clean, there might be drips and splashes. To keep your floors clean and dry, lay down some old towels or drop cloths. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

The Test Run: Always a Good Idea

Trying Out Cleaning Solutions

Before you start applying any cleaning solution to your walls, it’s wise to test it out. Pick a small spot on the wall that’s not easily seen, maybe behind a piece of furniture. Apply a little of the cleaning solution there. Wait a bit, and then check to see if there’s any damage or color change. This way, you make sure the product is safe for your walls, avoiding any larger-scale mishaps.

Good preparation is half the job done. With everything in place and a clear plan in mind, you’re all set to make those walls shine and shimmer like new!

Basic Cleaning for Light Soil and Dust

Starting Simple: Addressing Everyday Grime

When we think about “how to clean room walls”, we might picture deep scrubbing and specialized products. But often, our walls just need a gentle touch-up to address the everyday dust and light marks that accumulate over time. Let’s dive into the basics of dealing with light soil and dust.

Dry Dusting: Your Wall’s Best Friend

The Magic of Microfiber Cloths

For light dust, a microfiber cloth can be a wall’s best friend. These cloths are designed to trap dust particles, making them perfect for gently wiping walls. Simply move the cloth in a circular motion across the wall’s surface, starting from the top and working your way down. As you go, you’ll notice your wall looking brighter and fresher!

Special Wall Dusters

There are dusters available in stores specifically designed for walls. These often have long handles and fluffy heads that can capture dust without scratching or damaging the paint. If you notice your walls collecting dust often, investing in one might be a good idea!

Reaching Those Tall Spots

Using a Step Stool or Ladder

Every room might have those tricky high spots that seem just out of reach. When you need that extra height, a step stool or a small ladder can be handy. Make sure it’s sturdy and placed on even ground. Always keep one hand on the ladder or stool while cleaning with the other, ensuring you remain balanced.

Extending Your Reach with Dusters

Many wall dusters come with extendable handles, making them perfect for reaching high areas. This way, you can stand safely on the ground while your duster does the high-flying work!

Sometimes, a simple dusting is all it takes to make a world of difference. With the right tools and techniques, you can keep your walls looking their best, tackling everyday dust and light marks with ease!

Deep Cleaning Techniques Based on Wall Type

While a light dusting often does the trick for many walls, sometimes our walls need a bit more love and care. For those times when a simple wipe isn’t enough, here’s a guide on “how to clean room walls” based on their material.

Painted Walls

Choosing the Right Cleaner

When it comes to painted walls, a mild detergent solution often does wonders. Mix a few drops of dish soap in a bucket of warm water, creating a gentle solution perfect for most painted surfaces.

The Cleaning Technique

  1. Dampen a Soft Cloth: Dip a soft cloth into your detergent solution and wring out excess water. It should be damp, not dripping.
  2. Circular Motion: Gently wipe the wall in a circular motion. This helps lift and remove dirt without leaving streaks.
  3. Top to Bottom: Always work from the top of the wall downwards. This ensures any drips are cleaned up as you go.

A Word of Caution

Painted walls can be sensitive. Avoid scrubbing too hard or using abrasive tools, as this can damage the paint or even remove it!

Wallpapered Walls

Cleaning Basics

For most wallpapered walls, dry cleaning is the way to go. Using a soft wallpaper brush or a sponge, gently brush off any dust or light marks.

Different Wallpapers, Different Care

  • Vinyl Wallpaper: This is water-resistant and can handle a light wipe with a damp cloth.
  • Fabric or Grasscloth Wallpaper: Stick to dry cleaning methods, as these can be sensitive to moisture.

Avoid Over-Wetting

Using too much water or dampness can cause the adhesive behind the wallpaper to loosen. This means your wallpaper might start to peel off. Always be cautious with moisture!

Wood Paneling

Pick the Right Cleaner

  • Polished Wood: A gentle wood cleaner or polish can help maintain the shine.
  • Unfinished Wood: Opt for a mild detergent solution, similar to the one used for painted walls.

Maintaining Wood’s Beauty

Using a soft cloth, apply the cleaner in the direction of the wood grain. This not only ensures a deep clean but also maintains the wood’s natural beauty and integrity.

Brick or Stone Walls

Starting Off Right

Before using any detergent, brush off loose dirt, dust, and debris using a soft bristle brush.

Detergents for the Win

For deep cleaning, a mild detergent solution works well. Apply using a soft cloth or sponge, being careful not to oversaturate porous bricks or stones.

Each wall type has its own unique cleaning needs. By understanding the material and using the right techniques, you can ensure your walls not only get clean but also stay in great condition for years to come!

Tackling Stains and Marks

Every wall tells a story, but sometimes we wish they wouldn’t share tales of crayon adventures, ink mishaps, or surprise grease splatters. If your walls have these little “stories” scribbled all over them, here’s a guide on “how to clean room walls” that have stains and marks.

Types of Common Wall Stains

Crayon Marks

Whether it’s a toddler’s masterpiece or a mishap, crayon on the wall is a common household issue.

DIY Solution: A dab of toothpaste (not the gel type) can work wonders. Apply it gently with a soft cloth, rub in a circular motion, then wipe off with a clean cloth.

Commercial Cleaners: Magic Erasers or similar sponge cleaners are effective against crayon marks. Simply dampen and gently rub the area.

Pen Ink

Accidental doodles or pen leaks can leave their mark.

DIY Solution: Try using rubbing alcohol. Dampen a cloth with it and blot the ink stain gently. Avoid rubbing too hard to prevent spreading.

Commercial Cleaners: Ink stain removers are available in stores and can be effective for stubborn spots.

Scuff Marks

These are usually from shoes, furniture, or toys brushing against the wall.

DIY Solution: A simple pencil eraser can work on some scuff marks. Rub gently until the mark lifts.

Commercial Cleaners: A mild detergent solution or a Magic Eraser can often lift these marks.

Grease Spots

Often found in kitchens or dining areas, grease can leave noticeable spots.

DIY Solution: Mix a few drops of dish soap in warm water and use a cloth to blot the grease spot.

Commercial Cleaners: Degreasing sprays or wipes can be bought from most grocery stores. Always test in an inconspicuous spot first.

Step-by-step Guide for Each Stain Type

  1. Identify the Stain: Recognize the type of mark or stain you’re dealing with.
  2. Choose Your Cleaner: Decide between a DIY solution or a commercial cleaner based on the stain and what you have available.
  3. Test a Small Area: Before tackling the stain, test your chosen cleaner on a hidden part of the wall to ensure it won’t damage or discolor the surface.
  4. Apply the Cleaner: Use a soft cloth or the recommended tool to apply your cleaning solution.
  5. Gentle Action: Always start gently, increasing pressure if needed. This ensures you don’t inadvertently cause more damage.
  6. Wipe and Dry: Once the stain is removed, use a clean cloth to wipe away any residue. Let the area air dry.

Walls can sometimes become a canvas for stains and marks. But with the right tools, techniques, and a little patience, they can be stories of the past, leaving your walls looking clean and pristine!

Preventive Measures for Cleaner Walls

Every homeowner knows that prevention is better than cure, especially when it comes to keeping our homes looking fresh and inviting. So, while knowing “how to clean room walls” is important, understanding how to protect them from getting dirty in the first place is equally crucial. Here are some preventive measures you can employ to keep those walls spotless for longer.

Setting a Regular Dusting Schedule

Benefits of Routine Cleaning

Having a regular dusting routine can save you a lot of deep cleaning in the long run. By addressing dust, grime, and small marks promptly, they’re less likely to accumulate or become permanent fixtures on your walls.

How Often?

For most homes, a monthly dusting is adequate. However, if you live in an area with lots of pollution, or if you have several occupants (or furry friends!) in your home, you might consider dusting every two weeks.

Utilizing Finishes or Sealants

What Are They?

Finishes or sealants are special protective coatings applied to walls. They help repel dirt, stains, and even moisture, ensuring your walls remain clean and undamaged for longer.

Choosing the Right One

  • Painted Walls: Opt for a washable paint finish. Satin or semi-gloss finishes are typically easier to clean than matte finishes.
  • Wallpapered Walls: There are sealants available that can be sprayed or brushed on, protecting the wallpaper from moisture and stains.
  • Brick or Stone Walls: Consider a clear sealant to protect against moisture, especially in damp environments.

Teaching Respect for Walls

Educating Children

Kids are naturally curious and might not understand the ramifications of drawing on a wall or kicking it. It’s essential to:

  • Teach them about respecting property and the effort required to clean walls.
  • Provide appropriate outlets for their creativity, like drawing boards or art easels.

Training Pets

Pets might scratch, bite, or rub against walls, leaving marks or stains. Consider:

  • Using deterrent sprays (safe for pets) that discourage them from marking certain areas.
  • Regularly trimming pets’ nails to reduce scratches.
  • Training pets with commands like “off” to prevent unwanted wall interactions.

Keeping walls clean isn’t just about reactive cleaning – proactive measures play a significant role too. By taking a few simple preventive steps, you can ensure that your walls remain in top condition, reducing the time and effort spent on deep cleaning. It’s all about smart maintenance!

Safety Precaution

As the saying goes, “Safety first!” While learning “how to clean room walls” can leave your home looking pristine, it’s crucial to keep safety at the forefront. Cleaning might seem like a harmless activity, but if not done carefully, it could lead to accidents or health concerns. Here’s a guide to ensuring your wall-cleaning activities are as safe as they are effective.

Wearing Gloves and Masks When Using Chemicals

Protecting Your Skin

Many cleaning agents, even some that seem mild, can cause skin irritations or allergies. Always wear gloves, preferably made of latex or rubber, to prevent direct contact with chemicals. This is especially important if you have sensitive skin or known skin conditions.

Shielding Your Respiratory System

Fumes from certain cleaning products can be harmful when inhaled. Whenever you’re using a chemical-based cleaning solution or spray, consider wearing a mask. This is particularly crucial if you’re prone to respiratory issues like asthma.

Keeping the Room Ventilated

Why It’s Important

Good ventilation ensures that any harmful fumes from cleaning agents disperse quickly, reducing their concentration in the air and minimizing health risks.

How to Do It

  • Open Windows: Ensure there’s cross-ventilation by opening windows on opposite sides of the room.
  • Use Fans: If you don’t have good natural ventilation, use fans to circulate the air.
  • Avoid Closed Spaces: If a room lacks windows or ventilation, consider cleaning on a day when you can leave doors open and use fans to pull fresh air in.

Storing Cleaning Supplies Away from Children and Pets

Prevent Accidental Ingestion

Many cleaning supplies, if ingested, can be toxic. Always store them in a place where curious kids or pets can’t access them.

Label Everything

If you’re using DIY cleaning solutions, always label the containers clearly. This way, no one mistakenly uses or consumes them for another purpose.

Lock Them Up

Consider using childproof locks on cabinets where cleaning supplies are stored. For added safety, store them in high cabinets or shelves, out of reach of young children.

A clean wall can uplift the ambiance of your home, but safety should never be compromised in the process. By taking these precautions, you ensure not only a beautiful living space but also a safe environment for everyone in it. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!


Maintaining clean walls is more than just a nod to aesthetics; it’s about creating a refreshing and healthy space for everyone. From understanding the nuances of different wall types to mastering deep cleaning techniques and prioritizing safety, the journey of “how to clean room walls” is comprehensive and essential. Yet, as we’ve seen, with the right techniques, tools, and precautions, it’s a task well within the reach of any homeowner. So, the next time your walls beckon for a little TLC, you’ll be well-prepared to answer the call. Here’s to homes that don’t just look clean but feel invigorating and safe!


Typically, walls should be dusted once a month. However, kitchens and bathrooms, which tend to accumulate more grime, might benefit from more frequent cleaning. Deep cleaning can be done annually or as needed.

Yes, a mild dish soap diluted in water can be an effective solution for cleaning light dirt and grime off painted walls. Just make sure to rinse with clean water and avoid over-saturating the walls.

If you’re uncertain about your wallpaper type, it’s best to start with a gentle dry cleaning using a soft brush or cloth. Avoid using any moisture until you can confirm the wallpaper’s material and the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations.

Absolutely! A mixture of water and white vinegar can be an effective cleaning solution for many types of walls. Baking soda can also help remove tougher stains.

Rubbing alcohol can be effective for removing many permanent marker stains. Dab a bit onto a cloth and gently rub the stain. Always test any cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t damage the paint or wallcovering.

Providing alternative scratching posts or toys for pets can help. For areas they frequently target, consider using a pet-safe deterrent spray or protective tape.

Bleach is a powerful agent and can discolor painted or wallpapered surfaces. If you feel bleach is necessary, dilute it significantly, and always test on a hidden area first. Ensure the room is well-ventilated and wear gloves and a mask.