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Cleaning Painted Surfaces

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I rent a house that has white paint on just about everything (baseboards, kitchen cabinets, window sills, etc.). It is a white gloss (acrylic maybe). What is the best way to clean the caked on dust and food stains? It looks like it hasn't been cleaned in years. Thanks for any suggestions.

By Sheree from Bartlesville, OK

Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By Carly St.Clair [4]05/12/2010

Years of grease is a pain, isn't it?! Get a plastic scraper/puddy knife and carefully scrape grease/dust off of surfaces without removing paint.

I've found that if you can handle the fumes, commercial citrus cleaner that you buy in a gallon jug at Lowe's, Home Depot, etc. is the best for grease removal in kitchens. They have a commercial purple de-greaser cleaner too, but that one is even stronger and can lift paint. It's normally used for restaurant cookers, hoods, etc. You can dilute the citrus cleaner or use it full strength.

You have to be careful and read the directions and please wear gloves. It will eat at your skin or soak through and make you dizzy/nauseated.

RE: Cleaning Painted Surfaces

By Lee Taylor [10]05/07/2010

Those Magic Erasers are awesome!

By Cyinda [214]05/06/2010

FOAMING BATHROOM CLEANER:
You'll have to do a test area first, to make sure the paint will hold up, but on really dirty areas I've been very happy using the Dollar Store brand of the bathroom cleaner "Scrubbing Bubbles". It's in a can that's the size & shape of the aerosol hairspray called "Aqua-net". I use it to clean my painted kitchen cabinets all the time & also have used in on my mini-blinds, trailer siding, fiberglass tub & plastic sink & even on my wallpaper. It cleans really well with little to no scrubbing & it's never hurt anything I've used it on.

It's been my "go to" cleaner for all my hard-to-clean stuff... In fact, back in the late 1970's the oil furnace blew up in our rental house & this same type of cleaner actually cut through that oily soot left on everything after oil furnace blew up. It cleaned my counter tops when every other cleaner I tried just moved the black oily soot around & around. It even cleans years of nicotine off of walls & woodwork! (& that's not easy!)

DIRECTIONS:
I just spray it on the area, then use a sponge to wipe it everywhere, then wait a minute or two, then wipe it back off with the sponge. You don't need to go back & rinse it off, you just wipe the area until it's clean.

AMMONIA:
For big jobs, I use Ammonia (NOT the sudsy kind!) straight or diluted, depending on the job. It's cheaper that the foaming bathroom cleaner & requires little to no rinsing. Ammonia has even removed the soot off of our wood plank walls after a big house fire. If you have an aerosol can of bathroom cleaner, some ammonia, vinegar, baking soda & dawn dish soap, you won't need to buy any other cleaners... With these 5 simple things, you can clean nearly everything you own, from windows, to walls, to sinks, fridges & cars, etc!

By Judi [17]05/06/2010

I use 409 to clean my walls, etc. and it works great.

By Joan [13]05/06/2010

I would use really hot soapy water and maybe some bleach. Or maybe something like 409. After that if they still don't look clean it wouldn't be that expensive to buy some white gloss type paint and repaint them. If nothing else it wouldn't hurt to ask the landlord if you did the work, would he furnish the paint. We used to do that.

Questions

Here are questions related to Cleaning Painted Surfaces.

Question: Cleaning Saw Dust Off of Walls and White Cabinets

When we had some cabinets installed; the carpenter did all of his cutting in our garage. We had freshly painted the garage and installed new white cabinets. What is the best way to wipe it down removing sawdust coating and not streaking?

By Jerry

Archives

Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: Cleaning Painted Surfaces

Our bathroom cabinets are painted white and I have trouble cleaning all the dust, hairspray, etc off the painted surface. Most cleaning products are harsh and will strip the surface. What can be used to get the grime, etc off?
Peg from Tex


RE: Cleaning Painted Surfaces

I'm a firm believer in letting my house do my cleaning. I'd get rid of the white and replace it with something more practical, paint it a different color. But then again, I'm pretty lazy. (03/06/2005)

By lilithjune

RE: Cleaning Painted Surfaces

Peg,
I have white trim, chair railing and moulding on three floors. It has been no trouble cleaning it now that I discovered Mr. Clean sponges, they are amazing.

Jennifer
Northern Virginia (03/06/2005)

By ILuvDobes

RE: Cleaning Painted Surfaces

Even if you paint it a different color it will still get dirty. You just won't be able to see it as well. My house is ultra contemporary & most of my walls are white, including my kitchen & bathroom cabinets. I recently bought a Mr. Clean sponge but haven't used it yet. I've heard great things about it. (03/06/2005)

By Vicki

RE: Cleaning Painted Surfaces

I make a solution of Dawn dish liquid and water in a bucket and clean my kitchen and bathroom cabinets. They are both painted white. By the way, if anyone is considering painting their cabinets white, I would definitely hire a professional. Every time we bump a cabinet you can see the ugly 70's blue that was underneath! (03/07/2005)

By acope

RE: Cleaning Painted Surfaces

I have found that a damp "miracle cloth" works great on painted surfaces - walls and painted wood surfaces. They used to be available only through mail order, but I've seen them all over the place lately. (03/18/2005)

RE: Cleaning Painted Surfaces

I just cleaned my kitchen walls so I could paint them. I used a product called Krud Kutter. I also used it on painted cabinets and it worked great. You can find it at paint stores and also at Wal Mart in the paint section. (03/23/2005)

By Pam

RE: Cleaning Painted Surfaces

What about cleaning faux surfaces, suede, or venetian plaster with a wax finish? (09/09/2008)

By lee

Archive: Cleaning Painted Surfaces

What can you use to clean painted doors? The paint is flat black.

By jr112748 from Mesquite, TX


RE: Cleaning Painted Surfaces

I use just water if the spot is recent and not greasy. Otherwise I use 409. All my doors are painted white everything shows. I just spray the door or, for small areas, I spray my cloth. So far no harm done. (07/23/2009)

By Glenn'sMom

RE: Cleaning Painted Surfaces

Look for a product called TSP, you should find it in your local hardware store. (07/27/2009)

By PICO

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