Keeping your home nice and clean is a key part of regular house maintenance. You clean your floors and windows regularly, but what about the walls in your home? Many people don’t realize that occasional cleaning and maintenance of the walls in your home is vital to keeping you and your family healthy. Cleaning interior walls on a regular basis can ensure better indoor air quality and may also reduce the presence of harmful things like mold and mildew. Monitoring the condition of your walls is also essential since it may indicate a structural issue or other problems.
While installing new flooring and countertops are common, you can also upgrade your home by taking advantage of updating the walls, too. There are two main types of walls: load-bearing and non-load bearing. The type of wall you have will determine just how you should clean and maintain it. The interior walls of a home are made of myriad materials, depending on the age of the house, the builder’s choice, and your personal style. Some walls are made of brick, while others might be plaster. Drywall is still one of the most common wall materials, but even things like metal, cinder blocks, and concrete can be used to make walls. This guide has some helpful tips to show you how to upgrade your walls and maintain them to keep your home safe and looking its best. Whether you want to clean the finish to make your home look brand-new or you’re ready to do some serious upgrades, read on to discover a few easy ways to upgrade and maintain the walls in your home.
How to know your walls are in bad shape
Before you make changes or clean your walls, there are a few signs to look for that indicate an interior wall is damaged:
- Streaks: This indicates possible water damage. Have your plumbing inspected to look for leaks, then ask a professional to repair cracked or loose pipes.
- Green or dark marks: Discoloration of your walls could mean mold is present. Have a mold remediation company inspect your home for mold and remove it.
- Cracks: A cracked wall could mean foundation trouble. Make sure your home’s foundation is in good shape and make any repairs as soon as possible.
- Holes: The holes in walls vary in size and scope. Remove nails and anchors, then use a patching kit to repair holes to make your walls smooth and flat again.
Cleaning your walls
The type of walls you have and their finish will determine the best way to clean them.
Types of walls and how to clean each
1. Load-bearing walls and Non-load bearing walls
Load-bearing walls look no different than non-load-bearing walls to the naked eye. However, these types of walls are attached to part of the structure of your home to support the floors and the weight above you. Before cleaning load-bearing walls, start by looking at where the wall and ceiling meet. If you notice any buckling or major cracks, consider having a home inspector take a closer look before you start cleaning to confirm they’re structurally sound. Once you confirm that your load-bearing walls are in good shape, you can clean them based on the type of finish they have.
To clean tell, dip a large grout sponge or a soft, non-abrasive cloth in warm water. Gently wipe the walls down, starting from the top and working your way to the bottom. Always be gentle and don’t press too hard on your walls, or you could damage the finish. If you see marks or stains on your walls that won’t go away, try mixing a small amount of dish soap with water, then gently wipe them again until the stain is removed.
2. Glass partition walls
Clean glass partition walls like you would your windows by wiping them clean with a standard window cleaning product and some paper towels or a soft rag. If there are stains or stubborn buildup on the glass, you can use a small amount of baking soda and scrub the area with a soft-bristled brush, then rinse it clean. If your glass partition walls are cloudy, try cleaning them with equal parts clean water and white distilled vinegar.
Finish of walls and how to clean each
Wall finishes vary depending on the style inside your home. Here’s how to clean different wall finishes to keep your walls and home in good condition.
Start by dusting your walls using a soft microfiber cloth. You can use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove debris from the corners and baseboards. For latex paint, gently wipe the walls clean with a bit of dish soap and water. If you have oil-based paint on your walls, use the same step but eliminate the soap. Always wipe your painted walls gently and move from the ceiling to the floor. Allow the walls to dry, then wipe them clean again using a new cloth if any dirt remains.
Dust and vacuum your wood walls before cleaning them. You can make a DIY wood cleaner by mixing one cup of water with 1/4 cup of vinegar, ½ cup of mineral oil, and 20 drops of lemon oil. Never use cooking oil to clean your walls. Take the mixture and gently wipe it onto the surface, using a circular motion, until your wood walls are nice and shiny. Always spot test your walls to ensure you don’t damage the finish before you clean them.
3. Decorative Plaster
Dust your plaster walls, vacuum them clean, and fill a bucket with warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap. Gently wipe the walls clean using slow, circular motions using a soft sponge. Make sure you squeeze the sponge before wiping your decorative plaster walls so they don’t get too wet. Work in sections, then dry each area using a clean, soft towel or microfiber cloth. Never let water sit on plaster walls, or it could damage the finish.
Soak a soft cloth in lemon juice to clean porcelain and ceramic tile walls. If the tiles are made of porous materials like natural stone, make a mixture of ½ cup distilled white vinegar and one liter of water and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the tiles and wipe them clean with a soft cloth. If the tiles have grout lines, use a special grout cleaner and brush to get in between these areas and make them look new again.
Maintenance on your walls
Maintaining the walls in your home is just as important as keeping them clean. Here are some easy tips to help you maintain each type of wall.
Easy maintenance tips for each type of wall
1. Load-bearing walls
For load-bearing walls, the key is to make sure that they’re still strong and durable enough to handle the weight of the floor above them. Never make significant changes to a load-bearing wall without proper assistance from a professional. Even a minor change to these walls can wreak havoc on your home. Simple cleaning is recommended for these walls to remove dust, debris, and grime. Otherwise, your load-bearing wall should be inspected regularly to confirm they’re in good shape.
2. Non-load bearing walls
Repair holes and cracks regularly to keep your walls in good condition. If you notice significant problems, consult with a contractor to help you make major repairs. Always dust and clean your walls regularly to keep them clean. This also makes it easier to identify problem areas. If you notice moisture damage or mold growth on your walls, contact a plumber or home inspector right away. Never attempt to remove a wall or change the height without help from a professional.
3. Glass partition walls
Inspect glass partition walls regularly for cracks or nicks. If you notice cracks forming in the glass, it’s time to replace any damaged sections. Check to ensure that each glass partition is securely attached to the framing. If the glass feels loose, you can re-tighten the frame to secure it. Never use abrasive materials, utility knives, or sharp objects to clean glass partition walls, as they could cause permanent damage. Always remove residue and dry your walls thoroughly after washing them.
Easy maintenance tips for each finish of walls
Here are some easy wall ideas to help you maintain them based on the finish.
Dust your painted walls regularly to keep them clean. Use some paint to touch up areas where you notice any scratches, marks, or areas where paint is missing. Sand any chipped surfaces first to ensure the walls are smooth before repainting. Use a patch kit or wall repair compound to fill holes, nicks, and areas where you removed nails or anchors. Visually inspect the walls once a month to confirm no signs of damage.
Use a quality wood cleaning product weekly to keep wood walls looking shiny and new. Mineral oil and lemon oil also do a great job of keeping wood smooth, shiny, and protected. Remove major spills or stains from wood immediately to preserve the finish. If you see any holes or nicks, use a quality wood filler or wood putty to fill them in. Once the filler or putty is dry, gently sand the area by hand with fine-grit sandpaper until it matches the rest of the wall.
3. Decorative Plaster
Never use nails to hang wall decor on plaster walls. Instead, use a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the screw or nail you want to use, then add an anchor to prevent the plaster from buckling or crumbling. When cleaning decorative plaster walls, always make sure that you wring the sponge or cloth out and dry the walls when you’re done. Avoid letting moisture sit on plaster walls since it can cause the plaster to dissolve or crumble.
Wipe down tile walls weekly with a soft, moist cloth to keep them clean. Use a tile and grout sealer to protect the tile from marks and stains. Clean grout lines regularly and look for cracked or damaged tiles. If you notice any issues with your tile, replace the damaged areas with a new tile as soon as possible. You may need to reapply the grout between your wall tiles every year or two to keep it in good condition.
Creative ideas to use your walls to upgrade your home
Here are some creative wall ideas, tips, and DIY information to help you upgrade your home.
A chalkboard wall is a great option for kids or an area in the kitchen. To upgrade to a chalkboard wall, start by choosing high-quality chalkboard paint. This unique paint will transform standard walls and turn them into a working chalkboard. Protect your floors with a tarp and use painter’s tape to protect the baseboards and trim. Make sure your walls are clean and dry before painting them. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, paint your wall using chalkboard paint. Allow it to dry in between coats. Once the walls are completely dry, remove the tarp and paint and enjoy drawing on your walls, making to-do lists, and more.
Vinyl decals are fun to create a unique look in any room. These decals come in a range of shapes, sizes, and themes. No matter what type of decal you choose, always make sure to apply it to clean and drywalls. Let the decals acclimate to the temperature in your home before using them. Mark the area where you want to place the decals with a pencil to ensure that everything is level and at the right height. Remove the protective backing from the decal, then gently and slowly apply it to the wall, pressing down and moving from the top to the bottom until it’s adhered.
You can make a mosaic wall using small tiles or broken dishes. Clean your walls thoroughly, then score the walls with a utility knife to help the mosaics adhere better. Draw the pattern you want to create onto the wall, so putting each piece in place is easier. Use mastic to apply each piece to the walls. Apply a small amount of mastic to the back of each tile one at a time and to each small section of the wall. Gently press the mosaic piece onto the wall and wipe excess mastic away with a clean cloth. Repeat the process for each piece until your design is complete.
Wallpaper is either self-adhesive or must be applied using wallpaper paste. Self-adhesive wallpaper is easier to apply and easier to remove. Choose your wallpaper pattern or color based on the rest of the room to look cohesive and coordinated. Start applying wallpaper from the ceiling and gently push it down to the floor using a flat-edge tool. Trim each section of wallpaper to fit as you go using a utility knife. The key to a successful wallpaper application is to take your time and make sure that the walls are spotless and dry before you begin.
An accent or feature wall is a great way to add visual interest to your home. You can choose to paint one wall a different color from the rest, apply a fun wallpaper pattern, or add some tile for texture. To create contrast, choose a darker color for your accent wall than the rest of the walls. If you want something more understated, opt for a hue or pattern similar to the other walls. Remember that dark colors will make a room feel smaller, while lighter colors create the illusion of a larger space.
Create a unique feature with a decoupage wall. You can use a favorite piece of artwork, scrap pieces of paper, pictures, and more. Place your pieces of paper on the floor first to ensure that they’ll fit and create your desired design. Sand and clean your walls, then apply a coat of primer. Once the primer is dry, wet each piece of paper thoroughly before applying it to the wall. Use a quality decoupage glue and apply a small amount to the back of each piece of paper before adhering it to the wall. Finish by coating the entire design with another layer of decoupage glue and wait for it to dry.
A collage wall or gallery wall is an easy, fun way to upgrade your walls. Mix and match various items like photographs, paintings, and wall sculptures. “Draw” your collage or gallery wall using painter’s tape. This will help you with placement and ensure that each item is level. After you lay out your design, hang each item on the walls using a nail or an anchor and screw for heavier items. Feel free to mix and match different frame materials and shapes or use the same frame style to create a cohesive look.
Mural art within the home is trending. You can upgrade your home easily with these. Various options depend on sizes, colors, personalization, and style. Whether you choose your family photos or artwork for a home mural, you can be sure it will add great value to your room.
When you take good care of the walls in your home, they’ll take good care of you. Keep these wall cleaning, maintenance, and upgrade tips in mind to help you create a home you love. Proper cleaning and care of your walls will keep your home healthier and looking its best. It’s also necessary to ensure that your home is in good condition. Have fun by adding your special touches to the walls like wall art and pictures so you can turn your house into a home.