Should I Clean My Walls Before Painting?

At Homm CPS, we’re firm believers in the whole “there’s no such thing as a silly question” mantra. What seems totally obvious to some is a complete mystery to others, so we’re not in the habit of judging!

Hence, we totally understand the logic that washing walls before going about an interior painting job would be a waste of time. Assuming you’re going to be painting the surface in its entirety shortly afterwards, what’s the point in cleaning it?

The paint will surely do a decent job of covering up any marks or imperfections, so is it really necessary to clean your walls before painting?

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Nothing complicated about this one, the answer is yes – cleaning your walls before painting is paramount. Unless your walls are as clean as they can possibly be, you run the risk of your new coat of paint flaking, cracking and failing outright.

Even just trace amounts of dust, debris, grease and grime can wreak havoc with even the highest quality paints money can buy.

The Right Way to Clean Your Walls

At this point, we’re going to assume that the surface of your walls is decent enough to get to work with an interior paint job. That being, that you’ve already taken care of removing the wallpaper (if present) and you’re more or less ready to get down to business.

In which case, it’s a relatively simple three-step process to get your walls ready for painting. Each of the following contributing significantly to the quality of the final finish, therefore shouldn’t ever be rushed or skipped entirely:

  1. Dry Wipe: Save yourself the time and effort of dealing with a sticky mess by first giving the entire surface a good wipe with a dry cloth. This will ensure as much surface dust and debris as possible is eliminated, which would otherwise cause issues when you take to the surface with a wet cloth or sponge. Wear the appropriate personal protective gear to prevent yourself from inhaling anything unpleasant along the way.
  2. Scrub it Down: Next, you’ll want to take a large soft sponge and a bucket of mild soapy water. Specialist cleaning products are available, but a few drops of dish soap will usually get the job done fine. Give the entire surface a good scrub (without soaking it too heavily), working your way from the top down to the bottom.
  3. Rinse and Wait: Take some clean water and give the surface a good wipe to get rid of any residual soap, after which you can go over the surface (if preferred) with a clean and dry cloth or towel to start the drying process. You’ll then need to give your walls plenty of time to fully dry, before you can begin the painting process.

It’s worth noting at this point that just as soon as your walls are clean and dry, they’ll inevitably start accumulating dust and debris once again. Hence, it’s important to plan to get started with the painting process as soon as possible afterwards, rather than leaving it several days or weeks before continuing your painting project.

Note for Leaks and Mold

At this juncture, it’s worth highlighting the importance of noting for signs of leaks, mold or mildew along the way. There are a few telltale signs that things might not be as pristine as they appear beneath the surface, including but not limited to the following:

  1. Signs of surface moisture with no obvious cause
  2. Unusual stains in random spots
  3. Paint that’s flaking, peeling or cracking
  4. Any signs of bowing or warping
  5. Visible signs of mold or mildew

In all of these instances, there could be a major or minor issue below the surface that needs to be investigated and addressed at the earliest possible stage. Something to ensure you do before you continue your painting project, rather than attempting to ‘paint over’ it.

Ask the Experts…

Cleaning and prepping surfaces for a quality paint job doesn’t have to be difficult, though mustn’t be underestimated in its importance. If you’d prefer to have the pros handle things on your behalf, we’re standing by with the support you need to ensure a flawless finish.

Contact a member of the team at Homm CPS anytime for more information on the services we provide, or to arrange an obligation-free quotation on your interior painting job.