Light, routine cleaning of your walls and ceilings will keep them looking fresh and delay the need for a major cleaning.

Generally, walls and ceilings are painted with either latex or alkyd paint. Latex, a water-base paint, is easy to wash after it has "cured" or set for a period of time. Alkyd, or oil-base paint, is durable and washable. Both types come in four finishes: flat (for walls and ceilings), satin (for doors and trim), semigloss (for walls), and gloss (for kitchen and bathroom walls and woodwork). You can clean painted walls with all-purpose cleaners.

We'll examine more than just painted surfaces in this article. From plaster to tile, we'll hit on a variety of surface types.

A Cleaner for Painted Walls and Ceilings
Here's a homemade solution that can get the dirt off painted walls and ceilings:
  • Mix 1⁄2 cup vinegar, 1 cup clear ammonia, 1⁄4 cup baking soda, and 1 gallon warm water. Caution: Wear rubber gloves, and work in a well-ventilated area when using this powerful solution.
  • Apply to the wall with a sponge, and rinse with clear water. If your walls have a rough texture, use old nylon stockings or socks rather than a sponge because they won't tear and leave difficult-to-remove bits on the surface.