sign on shelf that says This house was clean yesterday sorry you missed it

Easy ways to remove stains from walls

LIVE smarter | 5 MIN READ | 2020-05-13

We’re spending a lot more time inside these days – and seeing our homes in a different light (literally). When the sun shines in your kitchen at a specific time of day and you notice what looks like a glass of juice spilled down the wall, you probably want to get it cleaned up ASAP.

Where do these stains come from? Scuffs from shoes, marks from moving furniture (quarantine = rearranging), dogs tracking in mud, spray residue from disinfecting surfaces… whatever they’re from, now is the time to clean them up (because we don’t always notice when they happen). 

So let’s get those walls cleaned! Spring cleaning for the win, are we right? Here are a few easy ways to remove stains from the walls in your home.

First, start with soap and water

woman cleaning windows in black and white

There’s nothing like soap and water to clean a surface! This is a great place to start before moving on to heavier duty cleaners that may dull the colour of paint or simply cost more (and are hot commodities right now).

1. Mix warm water with a few drops of dishwashing soap in a big bowl or bucket.

2. Use a microfiber cloth, a sponge or a dish rag to dip into the solution (and then wring it out).

3. Rub the stain until it’s gone (if possible) – this can be a bit of a workout, especially if the stain spans the whole wall!.

4. Wait for the wall to dry and repeat, if the stain isn’t gone.

If the above doesn’t seem to make any difference, you may want to use stronger products.

Tip: Have a bad back or just don’t feel like all the effort? Consider investing in (or making) a cleaner pole so you can stand while you scrub, and reach high and out-of-reach places more easily.

For the tougher marks and stains

cup of coffee spilling everywhere

If there’s a shoe scuff or tougher stain on the wall that just won’t come out with soap and water, try a cleaning eraser. These can be ordered online, are made to fight tough stains, and usually come in the form of a sponge.

All you need to do is wet the sponge and scrub (lightly). Here are some other tips:

First, we recommend spot-testing the product on a part of the wall that’s hidden to make sure it doesn’t damage the finish.

Be sure to lightly rub the stain so that you don’t create a bigger stain or ring from wiping away paint, as an example.

If you tried this and the stain or scuff still won’t come out, try a wall cleaner.

What’s a wall cleaner?

dining room with plants and clean walls

There are tons of products out there specifically for cleaning walls. Usually, the above steps or an all-purpose cleaner will do the trick, but if it’s a super tough stain, you may want to consider a wall cleaning product.

See what’s available on Amazon here, or check out your local grocery or hardware store for what they offer.

Tough wall stain cleaning hacks

sign on shelf that says This home was clean yesterday

Through our wall-cleaning research we found a few “oddities” that require a hack or two. Here are a few specific situations and the solutions that should help:

For grease stains in the kitchen – if soap and water doesn’t work, try a piece of chalk. This works best before the stain sets in, but if there’s grease splatter on your white kitchen walls, try some plain white, wax-free chalk, rub it all over the area and allow it to set for a few minutes. Then, wipe away the excess, rub the area with some soap and water, and watch how the stain disappears!

Oily hand marks – these get on walls, doors, kitchen cabinets, around light switches and on door frames. The best way to clean these? A cleaning sponge. Just be sure to rinse with water when you’re done cleaning the marks off.

Crayon stains – with the kids at home, there’s bound to be an art project (or two) gone wrong. To remove crayon stains from the walls, try rubbing the marks with white toothpaste (not gel), erasing them with a pencil eraser, wiping them with baby wipes, or sprinkling baking soda on a sponge and scrubbing them off.

Permanent marker stains – oops, not good! Try soaking a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol to dab on the stain, or spray the marks with hairspray. You’ll then want to wipe the hairspray drips off the wall, but worth it to remove the marker!

Mildew – not fun, but it happens! This fungus thrives in moisture and actually eats soap scum and body oil. So to remove it from walls, spray with vinegar water (1 tablespoon white vinegar to 1 quart of water). You can also try an enzyme laundry detergent. Just blot it on the stain and rinse thoroughly with water.

Water stains – rinse with a solution of one cup of bleach to one gallon of water to prevent mildew from growing. Then, dry the area with a hairdryer or fans. 

Usually, it’s best to clean a stain as soon as it happens so it doesn’t set for good. However, sometimes we don’t notice it as it’s happening, which is why we have #cleaninghacks

What are your wall cleaning hacks? Let us know here.