How to Clean White Walls: 4 Easy Methods

Brandon Pleshek of Clean That Up! is a seasoned veteran of the cleaning industry with over 20 years of experience in commercial and residential cleaning. He is a member of The Spruce’s Cleaning and Organizing Review Board.

Learn more about The Spruce’s Review Board

White walls with stains being cleaned with green cloth and all purpose cleaner spray
 The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

PROJECT OVERVIEW

  • WORKING TIME: 10 mins – 4 hrs
  • TOTAL TIME: 10 mins – 4 hrs
  • SKILL LEVEL: Beginner
  • ESTIMATED COST: $0 to $10

Learning how to clean white walls is an important step to keep your home looking bright. White paint shows every sign of wear and tear, but there are several easy ways to freshen them in no time.

White walls can be cleaned with household solutions like dish soap or a paste of baking soda and water, which can be applied with a wet sponge and wiped away. It’s also possible to get spotless white walls with commercial products like all-purpose cleaners and a Magic Eraser melamine sponge.

Read on for several simple methods to remove smudges, stains, and more from white walls to make them look brand-new.

How Often to Clean White Walls

Walls are usually the last things to get cleaned, often only happening during deep cleans or before important home events, like moving in or moving out. But since white walls show dust and dirt faster than other paint colors, clean them about twice per year or when stains and smudges appear. White walls will likely require spot cleaning more frequently, especially in homes with children or pets.

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What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

Cleaning Tools

  • 1 Sponge
  • 1 Microfiber towel or rag
  • 1 roll Paper towels

Materials

Cleaning Products

  • 1 All-purpose cleaner
  • 1 Mild dish soap
  • 1 Baking soda
  • 1 Melamine sponge (Magic Eraser)
  • Vinegar (optional)

Instructions

How to Properly Clean White Walls

  1. Assemble Your SuppliesUse a soft sponge or microfiber cloth, but extra stubborn stains might need a Magic Eraser or a scrubber brush. You likely already have the cleaning products you need in your home, such as all-purpose cleaning solutions, dish soap, or baking soda.Materials and tools to clean white wallshttps://49f6eedd0bab77998a3679cf29e4fdd1.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.html
  2. Start With Ceiling to Floor DustingDust the walls with a microfiber towel or extendable duster to reach higher places. Rinse and wring it out between wipes as it gets dirty. You can add a few sprays of all-purpose cleaner.
    TipTo reach high up on walls without a step stool, ladder, or extender duster, a broom is good for reaching the top molding and removing cobwebs. You can also use a vacuum and its brush attachment.
    Blue rag dusting white wall with scuff markhttps://49f6eedd0bab77998a3679cf29e4fdd1.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.html
  3. Spot Method 1: All-Purpose CleanerUse an all-purpose cleaner with a microfiber cloth, rag, or paper towel. Choose an all-purpose cleaner with an almost soapy texture—these work best for picking up sticky messes, like food or drink. The all-purpose cleaner method works best if you catch a stain immediately.All purpose cleaner with soapy suds on yellow sponge to clean white wallhttps://49f6eedd0bab77998a3679cf29e4fdd1.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.html
  4. Spot Method 2: Dish Soap and a Soft SpongeDab a dot of dish soap on the stain. Wet a soft sponge and sud up the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe it clean with a wet microfiber cloth. Dish soap is a fantastic cleaner for surfaces all around your home. Opt for a mild dish soap that doesn’t have a lot of heavy fragrance or other harsh chemicals.If it doesn’t remove the first time you try it, repeat the process two or three times.Soft sponge scrubbing dish soap on white wall to remove stains
  5. Spot Method 3: Baking Soda PasteTry a natural baking soda remedy for a stubborn stain. Baking soda works on most types of stains and surfaces.
    • Grab some baking soda and a bowl; create a paste using three parts baking soda to one part water. It should have a slightly sticky texture, so adjust your ratio accordingly.
    • Gently spread the paste on the wall with a wet sponge.
    • Let it sit—the longer, the better.
    • Once sufficiently soaked, clean the spot with a damp microfiber cloth or paper towel.
    • If the stain persists or you want to remove an odor from the wall simultaneously, try making a baking soda paste using vinegar instead of water.
    Baking soda and water mixed in bowl to make cleaning paste for white walls
  6. Spot Method 4: Magic EraserPersevere if other methods fail by reaching for the big guns—a melamine eraser. Magic Eraser is the most common brand you will find in most stores. Wet the sponge and gently wipe the stain or scuff until the walls are clean. Magic Erasers are so strong that this should require little to no elbow grease.
    WARNINGUse caution on gloss and semi-gloss painted walls. The Magic Eraser can leave a noticeable “dull” spot if used aggressively while scrubbing. Melamine sponges should only be used on white walls; otherwise, this magic little powerhouse might remove colored wall paint.Magic eraser scrubbing white wall to remove scuff mark

Tips for Keeping Walls Clean Longer

  • Spot-clean regularly to keep stains from soaking into the wall.
  • Vacuum carefully to avoid dirt from the floors getting onto the walls.
  • Dust ceiling to floor, especially on ceiling fans. Running a ceiling fan sprinkles dust all over your home, which gets stuck on the walls.

FAQ

  • How do you clean white walls without smudging them?To reduce smudging when cleaning white walls, gently lift off any blobs or solids with a clean sponge or rag. Brush gently and rinse the sponge or rag well between wipes.
  • How do you remove stains from white walls?To remove stains, start with a clean cloth and water. If water isn’t sufficient, graduate to a mild dish soap and water, vinegar and water, baking soda and water, or a combination of vinegar and baking soda. 
  • How do you clean walls without damaging the paint?A mild dish soap and water solution or vinegar and water solution is safe for cleaning walls without damaging the wall’s paint.

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