Cleaning Hacks to Get Your Home Ready for Painting
Painting instructions always state remove stains and clean surfaces before painting, but do you know how. Any cleaning rookie can wipe off dust and cobwebs, but it takes a “cleaning pro” to remove grease stains, watermarks, crayon and ink wall art to ensure a good bond and a long-lasting paint application. Here are some great hacks to help with your problem areas.
Light Dirt and Grime
Let’s face it, life is dirty. Oil from your hands gets onto walls, cabinets, doors, and doorframes that creates a barrier that materials can’t stuck to.
DIY Hack Green Solution: Mix 1/2 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a gallon of warm water. Pour solution into a clean adjustable spray bottle. Spray the solution on the surfaces and allow to set for a few minutes. Rinse with clean water and an absorbent sponge. The solution won’t dull the painted finish or leave streaks.
PRO Hack: Baby wipes can cut through messes. These popup disposable wiping cloths are infused with alcohol which absorb the oil and dry quickly off a surface. You may need to wipe twice to make certain the surface is completely clean.
Grease and Oil
Grease and oil from cooking and frying float through the air and can coat your cabinets and walls. This attracts dirt and dust which will keeps materials from bonding properly to the surface.
DIY Green Solution: Mix 1⁄4 teaspoon of Dawn dish soap in a cup of warm water. Use a clean sponge to apply and allow to set for a few minutes. Rinse with 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar in a gallon of water. If the surface is still sudsy after the first rinse, rinse a second time. Use a towel to dry and wipe off any residue.
PRO Hack Off the Shelf: Simple Green is a great product to use. It has a neutral pH, but it’s powerful enough to effectively break up oils. Spray the solution on the surfaces and allow to set for a few minutes. Rinse with clean water and absorbent sponge. Towel dry to wipe up any grease or residue.
Sometimes kids just can’t help themselves and get very creative with their artistic ability all over your walls.
DIY Green Solution: Use your iron (no steam) to get that crayon off of the wall. Set the temperature on low, place an old cotton towel over the crayon marks and hold on the surface for a few moments. Be careful not to scorch the wall. The wax will melt with the heat and be absorbed into the towel. Repeat until crayons marks are gone.
DIY Hack: Head and Shoulders shampoo. The sulfides in the formula will break-up the oils, wax and pigments. Spread a thin layer over effected area. Place plastic cling wrap over and wait about 5 minutes. Rinse with clean water and an absorbent sponge.
DIY Hack: Avon Skin-So-Soft lotion. The alcohol and emollients in the formula will break-up the wax and pigments. Spread a thin layer over effected area. Place plastic cling wrap over and wait about 5 minutes. Rinse with clean water and an absorbent sponge.
PRO Hack Off the Shelf: A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser ($3 for 4 pads) easily cuts through these messes. Rub gently to avoid damaging the surface. Rinse with clean water and an absorbent sponge
PRO Hack Off the Shelf: Regular toothpaste, it has a very fine abrasive that can scour the colored wax off a surface. Apply gently with a soft cloth. Rinse with clean water and an absorbent sponge.
PRO Hack Off the Shelf: Water based Goo Gone, it has a biodegradable solvent that can lift the colored wax off a surface. Apply gently with a soft cloth. Rinse with clean water and an absorbent sponge.
Marks from permanent markers are tough to remove from walls. They are made from resin and colorant to make them well, permanent.
DIY Hack Green Solution: Purell is ethanol based hand sanitizer. If you can find it on your store shelves, generously dap this gel onto the marked surface. Place plastic cling wrap over and wait about 5 minutes. Rinse with clean water and an absorbent sponge. Blot with a clean cotton cloth.
PRO Hack Off the Shelf: Denatured alcohol is used as a solvent. The main additive has traditionally been 10% methanol, giving rise to the term "methylated spirits". Wearing gloves, apply gently with a soft cloth using a blotting and lifting action. Be sure to neutralize the surface with shaving cream to counteract the smell and corrosiveness of the chemical.
Ballpoint ink is one of the hardest stains to lift or remove because it is oil-based. These types of stains are saturated with black carbon and smears very easily when rubbed.
DIY Hack: 91% Isopropyl Rubbing alcohol. Pour onto an old cotton towel, hold on the surface for approximately 1-3 minutes. The alcohol will begin to dissolve the binders and the carbon will wick-up into the cloth. Repeat if necessary.
PRO Hack Off the Shelf: Acetone or nail polish remover. Acetone is highly volatile and flammable, typically used carefully for cleaning purposes. Apply gently with a soft cloth. Rinse with straight white vinegar and a soft cotton cloth.
Do you have a list of painting projects around your home? You can prep and paint yourself or let the experts at Fresh Coat Painters handle it. From interior to exterior, our professional painters are here to help with your painting needs.
Safety is very important to us and we offer contact-free estimates. So let’s talk paint! Learn about all of our interior and exterior services on our website.
About the Author
Brian Santos is the Director of Education for Fresh Coat Painters. He’s a fourth-generation painting contractor who has written several books and made numerous television and home show appearances over his career.