Seven Steps to Washing a Wall
If you have listened to our latest podcast, then you know why it’s essential to understand how to wash a wall. During that podcast, we also discussed some of the key components to washing a wall.
However, we would like to go into a bit more detail. Cleaning professionals are called upon to wash walls frequently. Often, instead of repainting a wall, which can be costly and disruptive to building users, merely washing the wall will remove an accumulation of dust, marks, grease, and soot. This can make even an older wall look brand new without all the fuss and expense.
To make this happen, here are seven steps to effectively washing a wall that every cleaning professional should know:
- Examine the surface of the wall before you begin. If it is painted, as most likely it is, look to see if it has a “flat” or “oil-based” finish. While a flat-finished wall can be cleaned, it can require special care to prevent damage. An oil-based finish, however, is designed to be washed from time to time. That’s why we often find this type of finish in commercial kitchens.
- Decide what type of cleaning solution to use. In most cases, a mild, neutral cleaner will do the job. However, if the wall is located in a kitchen area, a degreaser or more powerful cleaner may be necessary.
- Test an area first. We hear this all the time, but how many of us test an area before cleaning? Here’s why it’s important: it tells us if the cleaning solution and the cleaning process will work and not damage the wall; this can spare us the cost of repainting the wall should the cleaning process damage it.
- Wear protective gear such as goggles (mandatory) as well as a “gown” and shoe coverings to protect your clothes and shoes from moisture.
- Use microfiber cleaning cloths to clean smaller areas, and a microfiber flat mop head with a T-bar swivel handle (for added flexibility) to clean larger areas. Microfiber is more effective at removing soot and grease build-up. Change the cleaning cloths and mop heads frequently. As they become soiled, they can spread soil instead of removing it. Also needed are a bucket and sprayer filled with a cleaning solution.
- Begin cleaning from the bottom up. If you heard our podcast, then you know we explained that this helps prevent cleaning solution from draining down the wall. If this happens, it can leave streaks, and it may mean you’ll end up paying for a paint job after all. This can all be prevented by working from the bottom toward the ceiling.
- Rinse the wall with clean clothes and mop heads, once again working from the bottom up. The cleaning solution may leave a chemical residue on the walls that is tacky and attracts soil. We don’t want that. Instead, we want a nice, clean wall.
We probably should add one more step and that is to examine the wall after washing. If spots are still present, a little additional cleaning may be necessary to remove them. Be aware that not all spots and stains can be removed just by cleaning.
Now, the big picture is to determine whether the wall cleaning was all that was needed. We can only discover this once the wall has been cleaned. Often, cleaning will do the job and bring out the best in the wall. However, if the wall looks like it still needs to be painted, it will be more obvious once the wall is clean. The good news is that we have now properly prepared it for the painters.
We are introducing new MasterClass Podcasts on a variety of cleaning-related issues every other Wednesday. To learn more and tune in, visit the Avmor Media Center.