What are safe chemicals to use when cleaning walls for painting?

Before you paint a wall in your home, you’ll need to scrub the surface to remove any dirt or debris. Often times, homeowners make the mistake of using harsh substances that cause permanent damage to the wall. When it comes to paint prep, you often don’t need strong chemicals at all.

Warm, soapy water is usually your best bet. Fill up a bucket and use a sponge to gently rub the wall, starting from the base and working your way up. This should get rid of the bulk of dust and grime on the surface, and you’ll end up with a much smoother wall for paint application. Use a clean towel to gently dab the wall when you’re done. If soap and water doesn’t do the job, prepare a DIY cleaning solution by adding a couple of drops of distilled white vinegar to a bucket filled with warm water.

Wall dirt makes it difficult for paint to stick to the surface, so make sure your wall is spotless before you start painting. For stubborn stains, try baking soda, a substance that’s used to clean everything from sinks to toilets. Fill up a bowl with a quarter of a cup of baking soda, pour warm water over the top and apply the solution to the wall with a clean cloth. Again, use a towel to dry the wall when you’re finished and wait for a couple of hours before you apply paint or primer.

If you’re still having trouble, try trisodium phosphate (TSP), a powerful wall cleaner. You’ll need to take a few precautions when using trisodium phosphate, though. Wear safety goggles and rubber gloves. Add a quarter of a cup of trisodium phosphate to a bucket with a gallon of hot water and apply the solution to the wall with a sponge. Fill up a second bucket with hot water for removing the cleaner from the surface.

Remove any loose paint from your walls before you clean the surface, too. Use a putty knife or plastic scraper to do this properly.

Once you’ve peeled and cleaned your walls, you’re ready to start painting.

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