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How to Clean Walls and Ceilings

Oct 9, 2007
Walls and ceilings are to be found in every room of the house, so it is important to know how to clean them thoroughly. Once you have clean walls, your whole house will take on a new, fresh feeling.

Walls accumulate more dust than you might imagine, no matter what the finish. Take down the pictures, move the furniture out from the walls, and dust walls and ceilings carefully from the baseboard up. Use the wall or floor brush of your vacuum cleaner, or a soft hair wall brush, paying particular attention to corners, moldings, and baseboards. Cloths are not satisfactory for this job. If the wall is papered and in good condition, dusting is all that will be necessary.

Dingy and soiled wallpaper can be freshened if you use the proper method. Some can be washed. Even if you have been told that the paper is washable and it is so labeled in a spare roll, make this test before you start work on it: squeeze a clean cellulose sponge, or a very soft cloth, in clear lukewarm water and cautiously test the paper by rubbing it in an inconspicuous place. Use as little water as possible and a very light touch. If the colors do not blur and the spot dries satisfactorily, you can go ahead safely.

For thin delicate wallpapers use clear warm water without soap or detergent. Work always from the bottom upward. This is important because any water that dribbles down a soiled wall leaves a streak that is very difficult to remove. Use a light stroke and overlap each cleaned area. Gently pat the cleaned part dry as you proceed. Change the water as it becomes soiled.

Heavy washable papers can be cleaned with suds made with mild white soap flakes or a mild detergent. Proceed as before, being careful not to rub hard. Rinse as you go with a sponge squeezed out of clear water and pat the wall dry. Great care is required in washing wallpapers; too much water will soak them off the wall.

Day to day care of paper walls includes prompt removal of stains and marks. Use art gum for pencil marks and light smudges. Sponge crayon marks lightly with cleaning fluid on a soft cloth. (Test first.) Repeat applications may be necessary. Soap and water cleaning may follow removal of the stain if the paper is washable.

Ink spatters should be blotted up immediately but carefully with cleansing tissue. After that, apply fuller's earth or French chalk, brushing it off as it takes up the ink. If the stain is not removed completely by these methods, ink eradicator from the drugstore can be used, but it is likely to take out the color too. (Follow the directions on the package.)

Stains made by food (have you a teenager?) should be brushed off as promptly as possible to remove any solid particles. If a grease spot remains, use the cleaning fluid plus the absorbent mixture described in the preceding paragraph.

Lacquered wallpapers can be washed easily with warm suds made of soap or detergent. Papers coated with wall wax (sold at wallpaper stores) usually can be wiped clean with a damp cloth. Special cleaners are made for fabric-coated walls, but if the manufacturer of the covering has supplied directions, follow those.

If your wallpaper is utterly impossible, how are you on hanging it? Hundreds of women do their rooms over and some of the papers available today are ready-pasted.

Wood-paneled walls, finished with wax, seldom need more than dusting. If they begin to look dry and grimy, clean them with liquid wax on a soft cloth, buff them and then apply a fresh coating of wax. Rub the panels with another soft cloth until a dry fingertip will not leave a mark.

Do not use soap on enamel paints because it nearly always leaves a film.

With this degree of care, any householder should be proud of the standard of her walls.
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