How to Clean White Walls: 4 Easy Methods

Keeping your white walls looking fresh and clean can seem daunting. Over time, walls accumulate stains, scuffs, and discoloration that can make your home look dull and dirty. Fortunately, there are several effective methods for cleaning white walls and restoring their brightness. With a little bit of effort, you can get your white walls looking like new again.

Supplies You’ll Need

Before diving into the cleaning methods, you’ll want to gather the right supplies. Having these items on hand will make the process much smoother. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bucket – For mixing cleaning solutions
  • Sponges – For scrubbing the walls
  • Soft cloths – For wiping down the walls
  • Mild detergent – For basic cleaning
  • Baking soda – Helps remove stains and brighten
  • White vinegar – Cuts through grease and grime
  • Magic eraser – Great for scuffs and tougher stains
  • Painter’s tape – For protecting trim and edges
  • Drop cloth – For covering floors and furniture
  • Extension pole – For reaching higher areas
  • Stepladder – To access hard-to-reach spots
  • Scrub brush – For extra scrubbing power
  • Microfiber roller – For quick touch-ups
  • Primer/paint – For covering damaged areas

Gathering these supplies ahead of time will make your wall cleaning much more efficient. Now let’s look at the four methods for tackling dirty white walls.

Method 1: Basic Cleaning

For minor dirt and grime, a basic clean is often all you need to refresh your white walls. Here are the simple steps:

Step 1: Dust the Walls

Use a microfiber duster or dry cloth to wipe away any loose dust and debris. This will prevent smearing when you clean.

Step 2: Mix a Mild Cleaner

In your bucket, mix a few drops of mild dish soap or detergent into warm water. Avoid harsh cleaners that could damage the paint.

Step 3: Wipe Down the Walls

Dip your sponge or cloth into the solution and wring out excess liquid. Work top to bottom, wiping the walls in sections. Rinse the sponge often.

Step 4: Rinse and Dry

Use a clean damp cloth to rinse the walls. Wipe away any soap residue. Allow the walls to fully dry.

This quick clean should remove surface dirt, handprints, and other light grime. For tougher stains, move on to the other methods.

☝️Pro Tip: Change your water frequently to prevent redepositing dirt. Work in the direction of the light to detect any missed spots.

Method 2: Baking Soda Paste

For removing tougher grease stains or pencil marks, a baking soda paste works wonders. Here’s how to whip up this effective cleaner:

Step 1: Make a Paste

In a bowl, gradually mix 1⁄4 cup baking soda with just enough water to form a spreadable paste. The texture should be thick but fluid.

Step 2: Apply the Paste

Use a damp sponge to spread the paste onto stained areas of the walls. Avoid drips.

Step 3: Let It Sit

Allow the paste to sit for at least 15 minutes. This gives the baking soda time to lift and dissolve the stains.

Step 4: Scrub and Wipe Away

Scrub the pasted areas with a damp sponge or cloth. The stains should wipe away. Rinse thoroughly.

Thanks to its mild abrasiveness, baking soda is excellent for scrubbing off stubborn marks without damaging the paint. Just avoid getting the walls too wet when rinsing.

Method 3: Vinegar Solution

For removing grime and residue, mixing up a cleaning solution with vinegar is highly effective. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Mix Vinegar and Water

In a bucket, combine 1 part white vinegar with 3 parts warm water. Vinegar helps cut through grease.

Step 2: Dip Your Sponge

Soak your sponge, cloth or scrub brush in the vinegar solution. Wring it out well so it’s not dripping.

Step 3: Scrub the Walls

Work in sections, scrubbing stained or dirty areas of the walls with the vinegar solution. Let it sit for a few minutes before wiping.

Step 4: Rinse and Dry

Rinse the walls with clean water to remove vinegar residue. Wipe or allow them to fully dry.

The acetic acid in vinegar dissolves chalky deposits, grease, and grime. When paired with light scrubbing, it can make walls look brand new. Just be sure to wear gloves, as vinegar can irritate skin.

Method 4: Magic Eraser

For scuffs and tougher stains, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser works surprisingly well. Here’s how to use it:

Step 1: Dust Away Debris

Use a duster or dry cloth to wipe away any dust or debris first. This prevents smearing.

Step 2: Lightly Dampen the Magic Eraser

Run the magic eraser under water and wring out excess moisture. It should be just slightly damp.

Step 3: Gently Rub Stained Areas

Gently rub the magic eraser over scuffs, pencil marks, or tougher stains. Avoid heavy scrubbing.

Step 4: Wipe Away Residue

Wipe off any dampness or residue left behind with a clean, dry cloth. Allow the walls to fully dry.

The melamine foam material in Magic Erasers lift stains without harsh chemicals. When used gently, it can remove marks without damaging the paint.

Extra Tips and Tricks

  • For smoother cleaning, fill a spray bottle with your cleaning solution. This gives you more control.
  • Look closely for any remaining spots you may have missed and target clean those areas.
  • Work top to bottom to avoid drips running down and causing streaks.
  • Rinse your sponge or cloth often to prevent spreading around dirt.
  • Allow walls to fully dry before assessing if you need to reclean any areas.
  • For touch-ups, use a small brush to reapply paint over any damaged spots.

☝️ Pro Tip: Move furniture a few inches away from the walls. This prevents drips and allows you to clean edges and corners more easily.

How to Prevent Dirty Walls

Once you get your walls sparkling white again, you’ll want to keep them looking that way. Here are some tips for preventing dirt and stains:

  • Use painter’s tape when moving furniture to avoid scuffs.
  • Install felt pads under heavy furniture legs.
  • Keep walls dusted and clean up marks quickly before they set.
  • Consider washing walls every 3-4 months for general upkeep.
  • Fix any moisture issues to avoid potential mold or mildew growth.
  • Hang pictures using removable adhesive hooks rather than nails.
  • Discourage kids and guests from touching walls, leaning on them, etc.
  • Rearrange decor frequently so areas exposed to fading get a break.

With some care and prompt attention when stains occur, you can keep your white walls looking freshly painted.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the safest cleaner for white walls?

A mild detergent or dish soap mixed with warm water is typically the safest cleaner for white walls. Avoid harsh chemicals that could damage the paint.

Can I use bleach to clean white walls?

Bleach is too harsh for painted walls and may cause discoloration or fading. For best results, stick to gentle cleaners like dish soap, vinegar, or baking soda.

Will magic erasers damage my painted walls?

When used gently, magic erasers can safely remove scuffs and marks from painted walls without damaging the finish, but avoid heavy scrubbing.

How can I cover stains that won’t come out?

For stains that persist after cleaning, apply a white primer to the spot before repainting it with a color-matched white paint.

What’s the best way to clean walls near ceilings?

Use an extension pole equipped with a soft brush attachment. This allows you to easily scrub high wall areas without needing to climb up.


With this guide, you should now feel equipped to tackle dirty white walls using safe yet effective cleaning methods. The good news is that it just takes a few basic supplies and some elbow grease to get your walls looking freshly painted again. Focus on frequent dusting, prompt attention to stains, and general upkeep cleaning every few months. In no time, your walls will be bright and beautiful once more. Just be patient, work in sections, rinse thoroughly, and allow plenty of drying time. Get your walls sparkling clean with these handy cleaning methods!