Cleaning carpets is one thing. We can all see that they get grubby very quickly and need frequent vacuuming and the rest. Thanks to gravity, spills, dead skin, pencil shavings and other bits and pieces end up on the floor. And we clean it up. But what about the wall? Have you ever really looked at the walls? Have you seen how grubby they are?
Cleaning down the walls and the wallpaper has something of a 1950s housewife touch about it – the sort of thing that only fanatical house cleaners do. However, it’s a lot easier to wash a wall down than to change the wallpaper. And it’s certainly cheaper. You might not want to clean the wall every day or even every week, but it’s certainly something that ought to be done – maybe in the annual spring cleaning bash (or else save it until you are flush enough with cash to hire a professional domestic cleaner to do the dirty work you’ve been avoiding).
Wallpaper these days is, thankfully, easier to clean and tends to have a finish that stops it falling to pieces if the slightest bit of damp gets onto it like old wallpapers did. If you have an older wallpaper of this kind that’s looking grubby, don’t bother cleaning the wallpaper.
Just replace it or else live with the grub (shudder). And painted walls are even easier to clean.
Tips for cleaning walls:
* Remove cobwebs by wrapping a clean duster around a broom and sweeping this around where the cobwebs are (probably up in a high corner). You can do the same to cobwebs on the ceiling. Once the cloth gets all covered in bits of web, dead spiders and flies’ legs, remove it from the broom and replace it with a clean one. Don’t just use the broom – the dust inevitably trapped in the bristles will get all over the wall and make things worse. Cobwebs within easy reach can simply be removed with a duster (the cloth sort, not the feather sort). The presence of cobwebs in your home is a good thing – it shows that your house is free enough from toxins and other nasties that other species want to live in it.
* General grime can be wiped off with a solution of dilute vinegar and warm water. It’s best to do the whole wall in one sweep (maybe leave this job until the test cricket is playing on the radio to keep your mind occupied, because cleaning walls down is very boring, especially if the wallpaper is white). You’ll need a whole bucket of the solution and several rags, which you will change periodically. A soft toothbrush can also help with really stubborn bits. This works with wallpaper and with painted walls.
* Stone walls can be scrubbed down with warm soapy water.
* Vodka or some other strong spirit can be used to remove permanent marker after some wretched toddler has scrawled on the wall. You will need plenty of it and a lot of patience. Felt tip pen is easier – these are usually water-based so sponging the mark with plenty of water should clean it off– and pencil is the easiest of all to remove… just use a rubber (eraser for our transatlantic friends). Crayon can be removed by gently rubbing the scribble with toothpaste or a paste of baking soda. Sponge off any residue with a damp cloth.