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Interior Paint Prep: Do You Need to Wash Walls Before Painting?

Interior Paint Prep: Do You Need to Wash Walls Before Painting?

It’s a new year, and maybe you’ve decided it’s time for a new look by adding a fresh coat of paint to your interior. You’ve picked out the color, gathered your brushes, or maybe you’ve decided to leave it to the pros and scheduled your interior painting services.

But, without properly preparing your walls, the paint job will only be half as good as what it could be.

Do All Walls Need to Be Washed?

Although you may be tempted to skip this step, not washing walls before painting could cause problems later down the road. Even rooms that are used minimally, such as a master bedroom or office space, still need to be washed due to dust or dirt slowly accumulating over time.

While many paints created today will still go on decently regardless of whether you’ve washed or not, by washing the walls before hand, you are allowing the paint to properly adhere and last for years to come rather than risking touch-ups, spotty adhering, and other issues.

Because some areas of your house may see more business than others, some walls may need to be washed more than others. A kitchen or bathroom wall will acquire much more girme and residue than a living room or hallway wall.

How to Wash Walls Before Painting

Washing your walls is important, but knowing how to wash walls before painting is just as crucial.

Depending on your season of life, your living room and bedroom are probably the cleanest rooms in your house. Unless you have tiny hands that are touching or coloring on these walls, then all that is needed to wash them is simply soap and warm water.

Prior to washing the walls, you’ll want to make sure to remove any cobwebs or dust bunnies. Give your baseboards and window trim a quick wipe down with water to ensure all of the buildup of dust and dirt is off. Doing so will allow you to easily apply your painter’s tape. Bringing in a vacuum to help remove dust and debris along the baseline of the trim and baseboards is helpful, too.

Once you’ve dusted and done a wipe down, now is the time to assess whether your walls need a heavier cleaning or not.

  • Kitchen Walls: Over time, layers of food residue and grease may build up on your kitchen walls, so when it comes to cleaning them, warm water and soap might not cut it. A couple options you can try are adding a couple drops of vinegar to the water before washing or using baking soda to scrub with. If the grease is too thick for either of these options, you can also try a non abrasive cleaner such as trisodium phosphate, also known as TSP.
  • Bathroom Walls: From hairspray and makeup to cleaning product residue and even worse, soap scum or mold, bathroom walls see a lot of buildup and should be thoroughly cleaned before being painted. For these walls, TSP will be your best option for removing the layers of residue to ensure your new paint adheres well and lasts for years to come.
  • Smoke Stained Walls: If smoke has left stains on your walls, you’ll want to make sure to use a baking soda mixture to clean with. Not only will the baking soda remove the stains, but it will also help diminish any unpleasant odors that the smoke may have left behind.
  • Mold and Mildew: When it comes to painting, you never want to paint over mildew or mold without properly addressing it first. Because these types of substances continue to grow unless correctly dealt with, you’ll need to use a cleaning solution that aims to kill the mold. Using a bleach mixture is best. If not properly addressed, even with a fresh coat of paint, the mold will continue to appear. Investing in a mold resistant primer is beneficial for these types of areas as well. Depending how advanced the mold is, calling in professional services may be necessary.

No matter what room it is, after washing your walls, whether with soap and water or a stronger cleaning solution, you will always need to rinse them thoroughly with plain water and a simple sponge or rag. Doing so will remove any possible remnants of the cleaning solution that was used and ensure a successful interior painting job.

Work with the Professionals

Trico Painting is ready to help with all your painting project needs! Whether you’re ready to change up your interior or are planning for a future residential exterior painting project, we’re here and ready to go. Our services include both residential and commercial exterior painting, interior painting, and more. Contact us today for your painting services estimate.