Cleaning Interior / Exterior Walls
The quality and type of the paint affects how you clean a wall and how easily dirt comes off. Typically, there are four types of paint finishes:
Exterior paints. Typically exterior paints are oil-based or latex and should be scrubbed only with a mild detergent and then rinsed with a hose. You can use a long handled brush for the hard-to-reach areas or stubborn spots. Pressure washers can be used with caution as they may loosen the paint as with using harsh chemicals.
General-purpose enamels. Typically found on interior walls, especially kitchen and bathroom walls, this surface is stain-resistant and can handle moderate scrubbing. Do not use abrasive substances or colored scrub pads, which can scratch the finish. Use a neutral cleaning solution and a white, nylon-backed scrub sponge. Only use heavy-duty cleaners or abrasive cleansers when you're willing to take your chances on ruining the paint. If you have latex enamel paints, avoid leaving them wet for more than a minute or so. Oil-based enamels are more water-resistant. Keep in mind that gloss enamels are the most durable and washable, followed by semi-glosses and then satin finishes.
Baked enamel (most appliance finishes), epoxy enamel and automotive paints. These paints are durable and stain-resistant. Dirt typically cannot penetrate the hard finish. These surfaces can handle scouring with mild abrasives, and can also handle heavy-duty cleaners and de greasers. With these finishes, be most careful of scratching or dulling the finish by using harsh abrasives, steel wool, colored scrub pads and strong solvents.
Latex flat. The most common household paint, flat latex is not as washable as enamels. Heavy-duty cleaners or hard scrubbing can remove the paint along with any dirt. Use mild detergents and gentle scrubbing, and don't let any solution sit on the surface for more than a minute.
It is always recommended to do a small inconspicuous test area before you clean with any type of product or cleaning scrub sponge.
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