How to Get Marks off Walls Without Removing Paint

Toddler with wearing a teal shirt coloring on white wall with a teal colored pencil.

First impressions of your home sometimes come when guests see the interior of your home for the first time. Leaps to conclusions are made just by the appearance of your walls. Those leaps lead to judgments about your housecleaning abilities.

To avoid those judgments, you need to find out the best ways to clean painted walls without damaging the paint underneath the dirt. To learn how to remove wall-stains, just continue reading our article.

How To Clean Walls Without Removing the Paint

Pair of yellow gloved hands cleaning a white wall

1. Washable Paint

When you buy a house or plan on painting the walls to change the look, make sure to find out if the paint is washable or not. This is the first step in cleaning your walls without harming the coat of paint.

With washable paint covering the drywall, you can usually use soap and water to get the dirt and grime off.

2. Oil Stains

This and grease are often the hardest stains to get off your walls. That is because it takes a lot of cleaning power and scrubbing to remove those elements. The longer you wait to clean those stains, the harder it is to get them off without harming your walls.

Hot water and a grease removing dishwashing liquid should be mild enough to handle the stains without removing the paint. Just do not press too hard or leave the solution on your walls for too long.

3. Dust and Loose Dirt

This is probably the easiest of all tasks and the safest for your paint. When you see cobwebs, dust and loose dirt build up on your walls, just do some light dusting. That little effort will preserve and protect the paint and keeps you from having to use harsher cleansers later on.

4. Scuff Marks

Bright yellow wall with 2 dark scuff marks

Sometimes sports equipment can help you get your walls clean without damaging them. When your walls have scuff marks on them, grab a clean tennis ball and use it. All you have to do is rub gently and the scuff marks should come off fairly easily.

5. Crayon or Light Marks

For smaller marks that do not take up a lot of space on your walls, you can turn to pencil erasers to handle some of those pencil or other light marks. When it comes to crayon marks, you may have to turn to hairspray or nail polish remover.

These solutions may take a little work but if you do not press too hard, the paint should remain intact while these marks disappear. Other cleaning tools that can help out here are:

  • Baking Soda and Water – Light rubbing as well and this mixture should remove greasy fingerprints.
  • Toothpaste – Use an old clean toothbrush to do the dirty work and apply the toothpaste.
  • Magic Erasers – They have cleaning powers that are safe for walls and the paint that is on them.
  • Rubbing Alcohol – This works on those stains that contain ink or comes from markers.
  • Mineral Spirits – This solution works on grease.
  • Oil Lubricant – Like 3 in 1 oil, WD-40, or similar products can help remove crayon marks.


Washing the Complete Wall

Woman with a spray bottle and a rag washing a wall

This gets tricky as you need to rinse and dry right away so the cleansers you use do not damage the paint. This is why so many people advise you to wash in little sections then dry and rinse before moving on to the next section.

After making sure the walls are washable, you can try some natural products mixed with warm water. Vinegar or baking soda are top wall cleaners that do not contain harsh chemicals.

They help you get the dirt while leaving the paint behind. You start from the top and work your way down. That way you can pick up any drips as you work. For kitchen walls, you need a good degreasing agent as the walls will be full of grease when it is time to clean them.

A good dishwashing liquid will cover that for you or use a good commercial cleaner that cuts grease but not paint.

One cleanser you do not use is bleach of any kind. Bleach destroys paint, especially chlorine bleach. Even if you dilute it well, the chlorine will still eat away at the paint. When you clean your walls, the key will be to rub gently and not too hard.

The rubbing action can damage the paint very easily so be careful about the pressure you use.

Some Final Words

It is not an easy task to clean the walls of your home and not damage the paint. Paint can easily be damaged if you use the wrong cleaner or press too hard. It can be damaged if you use the wrong cloth or sponge as well.

Patience will be the key.

Please keep in mind that we may receive a small commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

Woman in a plaid shirt and blue jeans scrubbing a blue/green wall with a sponge.

How to Clean Walls with Vinegar

a paint roller painting bright yellow diagonally on a white wall

What to Use to Wash Walls Before Painting