Flat paint is a pigment-rich paint finish that reflects light without any sheen. You’re likely to find it on the walls and ceilings of homes without custom paint jobs.
Matte paint isn’t that hard to clean, but it will take some know-how to clean walls with flat paint completely. You’ll need some gear and the ability to sand a wall without wrecking the paint job.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about cleaning flat paint walls.
One of the first things you should know is that flat paint is the cheapest kind of paint. So before we tell you how to clean walls with cheap paint, you should make sure you can put water on it without the paint coming off.
Find a small area in an out-of-the-way location and rub a damp sponge or rag on it. If paint comes off, don’t clean it unless you want to repaint it.
The second thing you should know is that flat paint is great for covering up damage, but that doesn’t mean it can take damage, so be gentle with it.
Lastly, you’re going to need some kind of cleaning solution. Make a DIY wall-washing solution with dishwashing liquid and either borax or ammonia. You can also go with a store-bought all-purpose cleaner if you don’t want to mess with ingredients.
How To Clean Walls With Flat Paint Without Removing The Paint!
Use this step-by-step guide to learn how to clean flat latex painted walls without damaging the paint job.
Get two buckets. In one, place one gallon of warm water and either 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid with 1 cup of borax or 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with 1 cup of distilled white vinegar. Fill the second bucket with warm water. Get a sponge or a high-quality microfiber cloth as well.
Test the flat paint to see if it's cheap or not, as we described above. If it doesn't come off on your sponge or cloth, continue. Give your cleaning solution a try in a remote spot as well to make sure it doesn't damage the paint.
Cover furniture and the floors with a tarp, sheet, or towels to protect them from accidental damage. Use a vacuum to remove dust and debris from the wall. If you don’t have a vacuum, dust with the cloth. Take care not to damage the paint!
Grab a step ladder so you can get up high. Starting at the top of the wall, use gentle circular strokes with a sponge or cloth that’s been dipped in the soap solution. Work in sections that you can reach so that the wall isn’t covered in water or solution for too long.
Once the solution is on the wall, wash with warm water and then dry with a microfiber cloth. Move onto the next section when you’re finished.
The DIY solution with borax is the best way to clean flat paint off regular walls. Concrete walls can be cleaned with a mixture of water and salt, while the vinegar solution is the best cleaner for latex-painted walls made of wood. You can let wooden walls air dry.
Finding the right sponges and microfiber cloths can be challenging, but luckily they aren’t too expensive. If you aren’t sure what to use to clean flat paint walls, you can test out a few brands.
If you have any tough stains from food, crayons, or scuffs, run over them once during your normal cleaning procedure and then come back to attack them when the rest of the wall is done. This gives the solution some time to loosen the stain up.
How To Keep Matte Walls Looking Fresh (Pro Tips & Tricks)
Probably the best way to save time and keep your walls looking spotless is to dry dust them every other month. Depending on the paint color, you might be able to see when dust and other debris start to build up. That stuff can wear down a paint job over time.
Look for grubby fingerprints around thermostats, light switches, and windows. Shop around for matte paint with waterproofing additives, especially in areas like the kitchen or bathroom where non-waterproof flat paint will take damage from moisture.
Flat paint can be touched up without much trouble, especially if you have the right indoor paint sprayer to speed up the job. However, make sure there's always some leftover paint around for quick fixes.
Some acrylic matte sealers on the market protect flat paint from yellowing or changing color because of UV rays. It might be worth the investment and save you time cleaning.
Cleaning Walls With Flat Paint FAQs
Why do home builders use flat paint?
Builders use flat paint because it covers up previous marks and scratches, and it's really easy to use for touch-ups. Imperfections in common building materials like drywall aren’t as apparent beneath flat paint. In addition, flat paint is generally cheaper than any other kind of paint finish.
How do you restore matte paint?
The good news about flat paint is you can touch it up without repainting the whole wall. It’s also very forgiving, so even new house owners can use a paint sprayer to refresh their matte paint to its original glory without too much stress.
What happens if you polish matte paint?
Since you have to use elbow grease to put a finisher or polish onto a wall, you’ll probably damage your flat paint if you try to polish it. Anyway, if you’re going to go through the trouble of adding polish, you may as well just throw on a new layer of glossier paint.
Can you use a Magic Eraser on flat painted walls?
Foam sponges like the Magic Eraser can damage your matte paint or leave marks on darker walls. You're welcome to try it; just make sure you have a microfiber or paper towel handy to dry up the wall immediately after the eraser.
Now that you know how to wash matte paint walls and keep them looking fresh between washings, your house can stay in top-notch condition. Cleaning matte finish walls isn't too tricky. With the right tools, it's as easy as any other household chore.