Cleaning Painted Surfaces

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

May 6, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

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May 6, 20100 found this helpful

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

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May 6, 20100 found this helpful


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!)


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.


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!

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May 7, 20100 found this helpful

Those Magic Erasers are awesome!

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May 12, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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