Cleaning walls before painting

desertstephJuly 30, 2010

All of my future walls (and ceilings) will need washed down before being painted.

any ideas on the easiest way? like all of you volunteering for a room? lol!

I think there's a T?? (letters) stuff to mix in water and use.

and how about using one of those swiffers or something like that to do it? would that work?

I'm 5' and afraid of heights. my tummy flips if I see someone on tv on a balcony!

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Steph...yes..TSP. It taks dirt and gloss off. Depending upon the strength you mix will determine how much cleaning is needed. Gads, you have a big job on your hands.

I hadn't thought of using a swiffer on walls. It would be upside down half the time for both of us. A good sponge mop would work well. You are still going to deal with water heading down, this is like a huge window washing. I'd put drop cloths down just as you would for painting.

To eliminate some of the dirt you might want to go over the walls with a dry mop (desert dust) or a shop vacuum with dust type end on it. My preference would be the shop vac, I use it for everything.

Hmmm....maybe you could use the shop vac too for wet washing. Mop first and then wet vac. A long vac hose would be easier than an upside down swiffer. Last thing in my head....

Will be interesting what others have to suggest.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 7:05AM
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Steph, TSP be sure to wear gloves, honey. It will dry out your hands and make them crack.

Are the walls just DUSTY? Or are they greasy, dirty, soiled, and stained? If it is just dust, vacuum the walls and ceiling just like you do the floors. And then use some Kilz oil based primer. Yep, like emagineer sez, the shop vac is your best bud, and works for a lot of things. (I vacuum up bird seed and parrot feathers).

Swiffer pads are okay, but what kind of chemical do they have in them? I'd trust the shop vac more. Oh yeah, if you are doing high up with TSP, put on your safety glasses. That stuff does not bode well for your eyesight.

I'm sure your walls will dry quickly even if you use a lot of water. But a latex primer really needs to be totally dry before slapping on the top coats. Alkyd or oil based can be painted over with latex within a day or so. I'd for sure use that as a primer in the kitchen and bathrooms, if you plan to put semigloss alkyd enamel topcoat paint on it.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 2:59PM
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Another hit and run post.

Steph I used long handled window washers with microfiber cloths rubber banded to the wash heads. Get two and two buckets. One wash one rinse.

The long handled washers make it so much faster.When we were moving I did our whole house 1200 SQ FT in one day with them. NOT the ceilings. I let the new owner do that. I used TSP and rinsed well. She cam in right behind me and painted it all. TSP will nicely etch the paint and remove any dirt.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 4:12PM
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thx you guys!

"I let the new owner do that."

think I can fake dbf into doing this as previous owner? lol!

great ideas. I had thought about putting microfiber over the swiffer (not knowing what it had on it) and rubber banding it - didn't know how they'd work tho. glad to hear it did work.

guess I should get a long handled window washer anyway since it has windows and a patio door. (hate to admit I haven't washed windows here except my one bedroom window where i mostly am / look out). I hope to do better in new place. (tho, sleeping about 16-20 hrs a day didn't leave much time for windows!)

dbf has a shop vac and said he'd go over everything with it (not sure he meant ceiling/walls tho). then i planned to go over things with my Oreck canister vac. that thing sucks stuff in that ain't there. I sweat it does!

new buckets - check
plastic gloves - check (they were on my list!)
rubber bands - ask my sister...
microfiber - got 'em
TSP - check
window washer - check

the walls mostly shouldn't be greasy or soiled - just very dirty! will recheck when it gets here. After vacuuming I'll wipe down a small area not normally seen and see what comes off on the rag. there isn't a lot of kitchen wall area - thankfully! not much in the bathroom either. not sure about mstr bath wall area - it's about 5 or 6 x 12'.

here's a pic of the hall bath - ugh... note thick dirt on everything. and bird nest in window - hope no eggs or babies!

I wish I could just hose it all down!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 4:44PM
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Steph, there is a TSP substitute which does not have all of the chemicals in it (phospate-free I believe). I used it when I washed my kitchen panelling before painting. I think it worked as well as the TSP.

The swiffer or sponge mop seem to be a good idea. Remember to be careful when washing around the switches and outlets so that no water runs into the box.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 5:57PM
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thx for posting that idie - since i'm so sensitive to chemicals! I didn't even think of that with the tsp. they should be next to each other at the stores (I'd think). will look for the chemical free substitute.

also, good point on switches and outlets!

I'll be making up a list of things I'll need soon. wanted some time and input for it so I don't end up running out for something every day. or waste money on something that won't work. even if I thought it!

It'll take some time just to get the worst of it sucked out of there before I really need to think about washing down walls! once it's set up here I'll probably be too tired to think logically. (like i do when not tired - lol!)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 9:24PM
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Steph our brand new cabinets sat on the front porch for a week in a dust storm before install and they looked just like your tub less bird nest. I did vacuum it well before trying to wash. That dust smears around in water so hope DBF will hit it with vacuum for you. We had the exact bath as this on in our larger double wide two before this one.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 1:37AM
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thx shades - good to know there is hope! lol!

yes, it'll take a super good vacuuming prior to washing down. and sandy grit left will etch finishes. At least the tubs/sinks will be easy enough with a rinse down the drain.

I just wish there were more of me... I don't think multiple personalities are much of a help when it comes to cleaning!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 3:03PM
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Desertsteph sez:"I just wish there were more of me... I don't think multiple personalities are much of a help when it comes to cleaning!"

Steph you are so funny!!! You know, having multiple personalities is a pain when they are all interested in remodelling and decorating and all have different ideas about what to do.....maybe that is an indication that there are MORE MEs PLAYING IN MY SANDBOX. And NONE of those MEs like to CLEAN.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 3:21PM
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I don't know if this is the best advice, but when we painted a vacant house, we brushed the walls with a duster to remove the dust (the walls weren't soiled) and just painted. Didn't bother with washing or anything. It bothered the hel* out of my Partner because he is very uptight and precise about home imporvement type of stuff (thinks he knows everything) about things like that but it turned out well. Painting is enough of a pain in the as# without having to spend an entire day cleaning walls.

If they are soiled, that's another story.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 8:49PM
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" Painting is enough of a pain in the as# without having to spend an entire day cleaning walls."

boy, you're right on that! maybe the dirt/dust will jiggle off on the way here? lol! I'll check it when it gets here and they have it set up. It's been empty for about 4 or 5 yrs.

moccasin - on the multiple personalities - maybe that's why I like my old stuff and southwestern stuff both. The old me and the new me. It'll end up a mixture I think. I won't worry about any magazines knocking on my door to take photos unless it's for the 'weird house' edition!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 9:31PM
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