Prep Work

andrelaplume2May 25, 2011

Painting a few room in a home that has not been painted in 15 years. The ceiling shows signs of where joists can see the lines...perhaps this is dirt...not sure. I assume I ned to clean to ceiling and walls. Will a simple wipe down with a damp sponge least to get the dust off?

I know I used TSP in my home but that was after removing wallpaper to get the residue off...I'd hate to have to go to that extreme if unnecesary...especially sime kids and pets are around and I recall that a nasty chemical.

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A damp sponge really isn't adequate to remove 15 years of grime. Dirtex is generally recommended here instead of TSP, since Dirtex won't leave problematic residue like TSP if not rinsed thoroughly. Dirtex isn't harsh on hands, has a mild scent, and doesn't need rinsing, so it should be fine with kids & pets. Jasco TSP substitute would work, too, though I can't comment on scent & what-not since I haven't used it (powdered Dirtex is cheaper).

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 1:52PM
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The $2.99 box of Dirtex powder will last you 'til you retire!

I've had my hands in it a lot with no problems.
Avg. dilution rate is ~ 1/4-cup Dirtex per Gal. of warm water.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 8:07PM
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Trisodium phosphate is a good cleaning tool for the right application. It is not a particularly hazardous chemical. TSP is less hazardous than many other things found in homes. It is very alkaline so it will irritate skin, and etch glass and porcelain. The alkaline characteristic, which it shares with ammonia solutions, allows it to break down (saponify) fats and oils derived from animals. (That process is actually the same as making old-fashioned soap.) That makes it particularly useful to clean some types of grime. Substitutes may have more harmful chemicals, or maybe not. TSP should not be harmful to pets and kids if you don�t let them roll in it or lick it. If diluted, it should not be toxic if they drink it, but I would think it distasteful. If a large amount of powder is inhaled, I think it would be very unpleasant, but not particularly dangerous.

TSP is not being banned because it is irritating or dangerous to users. It adds phosphate (AKA fertilizer) to the surface water causing algal blooms that are particularly harmful in estuaries and costal environments.

TSP should be easily rinsed away unless it is used with hard water. In that case, you might get relatively insoluble phosphate salts formed. That is one thing that makes it work well with hard water and soaps because it chelates the minerals that might complex with the soap and make "soap scum". That kind of soap complex is not a problem, however with modern nonionic detergents. To sum up, TSP should not be any more difficult to remove than detergent.

The soil probably collected at the joists because of the temperature difference were they connect to the ceiling material.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 4:27PM
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well the kids decided to clean the walls for me using straight water and some dishwasher detergent then re-sponge with water.....the walls were never really more than dusty...we'll see how the paint sticks....painted the first romm Sat...will pick up some Dirtex in case they decide to help again!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 2:56PM
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Elbow grease is usually an important component in any job ;-) Kudos to the kids.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 8:04PM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

You had best rinse the dishwasher soap off very, very well, before painting.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 6:09PM
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Yea...They showed me how much they put in...about two drops to a gallon...barely enough to create suds...they tried anyway...

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 11:07AM
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