Do you wash ALL your walls?

marti8aMarch 13, 2013

Gee, I must be the biggest slob ever, but I have never washed walls except before painting and if I see something splattered on them.

All my walls have flat paint and it seems washing them would streak them or something.

I vacuum my walls regularly, but I don't scrub with water.

If you wash your walls often, or just a spring clean, how do you do it, and does it affect the paint?

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Count me a slob also because I never wash my walls. I would only use water to try to get something off. And then very carefully to not leave streaks or marks!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 7:39PM
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I think you are probably ahead of the crowd vacuuming them regularly, lol.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 7:40PM
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I have rarely washed ALL my walls. I occasionally vacuum them, and run the vacuum brush attachment over the baseboards. A couple times a year, I put a damp miracle cloth on my swiffer, and run it over all the walls. Takes care of cob webs and dust; doesn't affect the paint at all. All our walls are low sheen, and this doesn't seem to affect them at all. I try to keep up with any spots from hand prints, etc, but being an empty nester, we don't have much of a problem with that except when little ones visit.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 7:52PM
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slightly OT, when I had my 1st baby, my MIL washed the walls. And all the wood doors, with bleach. Doorknobs too.

Can't be too clean for a newborn grandchild I guess.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 7:59PM
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Well I feel a little less like a slob now. lol Beekeeperswife, did the bleach hurt the paint or doors? I can see using a damp cloth on a Swiffer, but I try not to even carry drippy things across my floors, I can't imagine trying to mop the walls in there.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 8:41PM
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I have never washed walls even before painting!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 8:48PM
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I do all the walls twice a year and spot clean almost daily. I live on a farm so theres alot of mud in the winter and dust in the summer

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 8:55PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I don't wash my walls because it can streak them...For the most part I don't wash them unless there are spots. I dust or vacuum baseboards when I'm cleaning.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 9:19PM
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Wash walls?? Not often. I've moved so frequently in the past that it's not an issue unless deciding to paint. We don't smoke and have a gas fire place so not much to worry about except in the kitchen that seems to need the cabinet tops and decors cleaned about once a year. I have a big ol wall wally on a pole that knocks down cob webs and dust from walls, etc. I'm thinking about getting a professional cleaning service to help with the big stuff a couple times a year, such as wall and cabinet cleaning; but haven't felt a need to do so myself so far.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 9:21PM
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Have always washed them, never had streaks.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 9:33PM
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I may be the biggest slob of all because it's never even OCCURRED to me to wash or vacuum walls. Baseboards, yes. Walls, nope.

However, I did hire a new cleaning person who is coming next week to do a big spring cleaning -- let's see if he washes the walls...

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 9:52PM
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My grandmother came to stay with us while I had the mumps so she could look after me while my parents worked. I remember her washing all our walls like it was the most important thing in the world and when I asked her to get me an aspirin, she said she was busy and I could get it myself.

My dad was a pack a day smoker (as was grandma) and I think it was necessary. I don't wash walls except in the main hallway where you see the fingerprint grime line and in the bathroom where you start to see streaks from the humidity dripping down the walls (that's a once a year thing).

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 10:11PM
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I may be the biggest slob of all because it's never even OCCURRED to me to wash or vacuum walls. Baseboards, yes. Walls, nope.

Me too!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 10:27PM
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This is an issue if you have smokers in the house.

Otherwise, i just wash the dirty fingerprints around light switches, doorjambs, etc.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 1:25AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Another one here!
I may be the biggest slob of all because it's never even OCCURRED to me to wash or vacuum walls. Baseboards, yes

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 1:30AM
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Another who doesn't ever wash a wall.

I suspect that for many, this is a throwback chore from the days before central AC and heating. Back then with windows open for some of the seasons and heating coming from 'dirtier' sources it probably was necessary to wash walls periodically. It also may be part of the legacy of the spring cleaning cycles in which EVERYTHING in the house got scrubbed annually. Now that many homes stay sealed up with HVAC filtered air circulating inside year round, the walls just aren't in need of a good wash very often-or at all. Of course if someone is living in a rural, dusty, farming etc. environment it still may be necessary. But for suburbanites with climate control...not so much.

At least that's my non-wall-cleaning story and I'm sticking to it!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 8:11AM
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My mother washed walls every year during spring cleaning. I considered the living room ceiling just the other day. But why wash when painting seems as easy to me.

Did they have paint rollers back in the 50s? Can't remember how we painted anything except with brushes.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 8:21AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I remember my grandmother after having surgery, the doctor told her to go home and take it easy. So my mom called the next day to see how she was doing....Grandma, you taking it easy? Yes, I'm just washing the kitchen walls.....

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 8:26AM
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After doing some renovations, there was a film of dust over all of the walls. I took a brand new microfiber flat type floor mop and washed all of my walls in minutes without any streaking. I'll do it once a year.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 8:27AM
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I occasionally (perhaps every two years) do like Judiegal. I use a new microfiber floor mop and wipe my walls down. I actually use a mild solution of vinegar water like I use on my wood floors (vinegar is good for everything). It takes about ten minutes a room. Some of my walls are satin, some are eggshell and they don't streak.

I washed my kitchen walls down with warm soapy water (Dawn dishwashing detergent) with a rag and I could really see how dirty they were.

We have a gas furnace and I do get a film on things in my house as well as dust and cobwebs. It just freshens things up. The walls get the dirtiest up near the ceiling line.

If you get into dusty projects in your home, like sanding floors, a dry swiffer sheet works well to remove the dust.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 10:05AM
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marti8a--oh who knows if the bleach hurt anything. Don't think she used bleach on the walls..but I'll never know. Perhaps this is where the bleached wood look came from?

Of course this would be the same grandma visit that started with her soaking the sheets, towels and my clothes all together in one load. My dh just about flipped when he found that!

Good times.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 10:24AM
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Only when painting, but I do vaccuum them and remove any cobwebs.

Definitely remember my mother washing walls, but we lived in a house without A/C, so the windows were always open in the summer.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 10:29AM
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I rarely wash my walls, except where they get dirty from the dog. Then again, I also don't vacuum them regularly either. Certainly if I see dust or spiderwebs I'll vacuum or wipe them off with a dry rag. But it's not exactly something I do as part of my cleaning routine. I don't even always wash them before painting, sometimes I just dust them off.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 11:14AM
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I only wash if I see spots on the walls from something etc... I do wash the baseboard off a few times a year , dust them off more often. I thought only smokers actually "washed" the walls.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 11:27AM
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I also don't wash them unless they are visibly dirty or before painting.

That reminds me, I need to wash the drywall dust off the master bath walls after that patch job we did. :)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 11:32AM
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Wow! I never heard of washing walls until now...and I don't think I will ever do it. Spot-cleaning is good enough for me:)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 11:35AM
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And then there's Quentin Crisp, who said that after three years, the dust doesn't get any worse ...

In my childhood, when our old houses were still heated by coal furnaces, it was a necessary part of spring cleaning to wash and air out everything every spring. I am still finding evidence of coal dust in the crevices of some of the things I inherited from my last living aunt.

Now, I wash baseboards and windowsills with some regularity, but only wash walls to paint, or if it is clear that they need it. And whenever possible, I oversee someone else for those chores. Otherwise, I ignore them completely, except to whisk away things I can see.

It's a big undertaking in this house, with its high ceilings, and because I have so much furniture to move, and so many things on the walls.

I also accept living with less pristine surfaces, now that we're in the city, and have two hair-flinging cats. At my age, the parceling out of energy supplies, and the desire to do more interesting things with my time, has trumped my need to be spotless all the time.

Turn down the lights, turn up the music, light the candles, serve good food and good wine, assemble interesting funny people, and nobody notices a thing!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 11:37AM
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Yes, I wash my walls when needed; but not usually the painted drywall. More so the painted wood, baseboards, trim. When I decided on cream colored beadboard for my kitchen walls I knew I would be a bit anal about keeping it clean. It will be two years this April and so far I have mostly just kept an eye on the baseboard and try to keep it dusted and wiped off, wipe the trim when necessary.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 11:45AM
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Umm.. I am curious.. How do you actually wash walls? Do you just mop it with a damp cloth or actually wash it like you would a car?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 11:57AM
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Good question GWlolo, I wondered that too. That Swiffer with a microfiber cloth sounds like a good idea.

Since we stirred up major dust this year with the kitchen, I think I'm going to do the living room if I can find an extension pole, and see just how dirty it is up there.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 12:51PM
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I don't, but my kids do! ;) Seriously, with kids in and out of my house on a regular basis, my own and their friends, they inevitably constantly have their hands on the walls, especially in the stairways. One day, I looked up at the framing around the entryway into our family room and noticed handprints all over it from my boys jumping up to touch it as they walked in and out of the room. My son was not pleased when I called him in and gave him a sponge and stepladder to clean it all - he seemed to learn his lesson there, but the stairway walls are still always a mess.

I wouldn't say all the walls in my house are washed down, but there are trouble spots and those are cleaned on an occasional basis - when I notice and remember to add it to the list of chores. I do somewhat regularly have to scrub the doors around the handles, and the beadboard in my kitchen - apparently my kids can be messy eaters and not notice. Baseboards get wiped down when I notice that they are looking especially bad.

Usually, the tool of choice is a damp sponge that is rinsed and wrung out repeatedly. I don't use flat paint on the walls, usually eggshell so they can be wiped down. I discovered not too long ago that the Magic Eraser does wonders on the stairway walls, so if I have those on hand, that is what is used. Otherwise, the damp sponge works fairly well.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 1:31PM
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I am not a very good housekeeper, but I do have to laugh at this! I have a 2, 5, and 7 year old and we live in the country with a house pretty close to dirt roads. I HAVE to clean my walls or repaint at least addition to spot cleaning. It is easier to clean the walls with a (water) damp rag than repaint! Recently I have been thinking about repainting the living room. It is currently Sherwin Williams Latte, but the paint spot cleans terribly. I want the same color, but probably going to match it and has had weird streaks and not a nice even look since I painted it...and kids and dust make it a lot worse :(

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 1:46PM
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Nostalgicfarm - Which SW paint are you using? I read somewhere (on here perhaps) that the Cashmere does not wash well. You might want to look at a different brand/finish. I have damp cleaned my Valspar eggshell in my BR with a microfleece pad and it didn't streak at all. I use mostly satin finish in the living part of my house (again Valspar) and they wash well. My kitchen is BM Regal Pearl, which is their Satin and it is an extremely hard finish. I don't have a backsplash other than paint in my kitchen and it must be scrubbable. Love it! Also have it in DH's bathroom.

Just to clarify - I AM NOT CONSTANTLY WASHING MY WALLS. But I do need to be able to wash the toothpaste splatters off the bathroom walls occasionally and food and grease splatters in the kitchen. The rest of the house is, as I said previously, maybe once every two years or so.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 2:19PM
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I'm afraid much of this thread proves the point made in a bit of dialog from The Big Chill: "Ever go a day without a rationalization?"

Keeping the windows closed hurts, not helps. Indoor air quality is regularly rated as worse than outdoor air quality in modern, sealed houses. Sources of indoor air pollution are myriad: VOCs from building materials and furnishings, humidifiers, mold and mildew, mites and insects, combustion, outdoor dirt, cleaning products, rugs, and on and on.

If you don't think your walls ever need washing, try washing one. Then look at the rag.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 2:41PM
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I love to open my windows - just not during heavy pollen season! My allergies CANNOT handle the pollen.

My allergist told me Kentucky was one of the WORST states for allergy sufferers! And my home is surrounded by maples, white pine, and spruce. I'm not about to cut my trees.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 2:55PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

All of them? No. Certain places are done frequently (as in perhaps monthly), like around doorknobs, the stair well, etc. I periodically do vacuum the walls. I found that was one of the downfalls of a heavier texture on the walls and dark colors makes it more visible. We use a woodstove in winter, and open windows in the summer and are off a dirt road with horses around but, I also think that nobody else notices if these things are not down, too. Seems that we have been in a kind of survival mode and this year I started looking around and noticing. I may pay more attention in the future. May not too.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 5:01PM
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Wow! We have our windows and doors open year round unless it is just too hot and humid or it is raining. We strongly believe in the health benefits of breathing fresh air. I never wash the walls unless they get marked. I vacuum them if necessary. They don't seem to be dirty. I have just wiped one down with a damp paper towel and there was no dirt at all.
I have better things to do with my time than wash walls! Personally I would be more worried about living in a sealed up home without fresh air than a little dust that might collect on the vertical surfaces.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 5:29PM
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I wash my walls. Usually just a damp rag, sometimes amonia and water. You would be amazed how it brightens your walls. Its really very easy.

Tuesday, I was the one posting about SW Cashmere paint. Only paint I have ever seen that washes off the wall with plain water. So much for expensive paint.

This post was edited by jamie81 on Thu, Mar 14, 13 at 21:23

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 6:38PM
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Tuesday, it is SW Duration Home in Matte. I have other paints in my home, even SW Cashmere, and the Duration Home is the paint that is very troublesome. I really want to redo it...i do love the color though! I just need to find a VERY similar BM paint color.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 7:44PM
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Dear Marcolo, I don't contend that my walls couldn't benefit from washing. It's just not a hill I want to die on.
But I commend those of you who are better housekeepers than I! Come on over. Bring a sponge ...

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 8:08PM
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If I took a rag to my walls I'm sure it would be filthy in no time. What's the point? Dog slobber and obvious marks and smudges are one thing but invisible dirt is a losing battle.

A little dirt don't hurt. . .

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 8:25PM
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Geez...I feel like it's a good week if I mop the floor! lol

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 9:19PM
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I can't even imagine washing all my walls, although I guess I do it in the bathrooms if I notice hair spray or toothpaste, and I'll wash wherever I've snuffed out the life of a poor little insect. My house was built as an allergy free house by the original owner and she had untextured walls, no orange peel, no nothing because her research showed that the texture was what held the dust. It's probably impossible to find workers who could install sheetrock these days without having to texturize their taping jobs though.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 1:24AM
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I wash the lower part of some walls and the baseboards/door frames about once a month to remove dog slober marks etc, and I find it easier to wash the whole lower section of wall than spot clean because it shows up less streaks. It's not every wall, but there are a few that need it fairly often. I wouldn't wash them if I didn't need to though and no one smokes inside the house here.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 2:24AM
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I wanted to add that I use the swiffer with a damp miracle cloth to clean behind heavy furniture that I don't want to our master bed, large armoir, and free standing bookcases. Even if I did wash all my walls, I wouldn't want to move this stuff. The walls behind these pieces certainly don't get dirty from fingerprints, etc, but they do get dusty.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 10:10AM
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OK.. I will ask again. How do you people wash your walls? Do you mop it or use a wrung out sponge or actually splash water and scrub.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 12:13PM
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I wash the lower walls occasionally with multi-surface cleaner and a rag. We have a dog with hay fever and he rubs his face against the walls when I forget his Claritin. The door jambs and bedroom walls seem to get grubby at dog level too.

We just moved after living 8 years in the same house. Even though I am a serial wall repainter and DH runs the vacuum cleaner over the walls now and then, there were dust bunnies behind the pictures that could have been used to knit a sweater.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 5:57PM
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jxbrown - Your dog has hay-fever?! Did not know that could happen. Poor thing.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 6:19PM
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