How to clean white walls – 5 tips when wiping won’t work

Previously pristine white walls scuffed or marked? Try these solutions to clean white walls and make them lovely once more

How to clean white walls
(Image credit: Anton/Unsplash)

A clean white wall is a thing of beauty, but one that can be marred by scuffs, marks and, er, keen artists in the family. Your go-to solution is, of course, wiping them down, but sadly this doesn’t always sort the problem out. 

Re-decorating, meanwhile, is a whole other kettle of paint, and one you don’t want to get involved with unless you have to because it’s a lot more work, and costs, too. But are there any other ways to get your walls back into the clean state they should be without getting out a paintbrush?

Luckily the answer’s yes, and you’ll find them below. You can also discover more cleaning tips, hacks and buys on our dedicated hub page.

1. Get out the washing-up liquid

A little detergent could come to your aid if just wiping hasn’t done the trick. First, make sure there’s no loose grot on the wall that will only make things worse if you rub it in. You can sort this out with a soft brush (clean and dry, of course), or even a mop with a soft cloth wrapped around the head. 

Then try adding a little mild washing-up liquid to warm water. Apply to the offending spot with a soft sponge. Make sure you don’t make the wall too wet or you could get a water stain instead. 

Step away for around five minutes, then rinse with clean water, again applied with a soft sponge. 

Find the best washing up liquid in our buyer's guide to the top picks.

2. Make like Mrs Hinch

Apparently it’s fur baby Henry, Mrs Hinch’s cocker spaniel, who has been the cause of dirty marks on her walls, and The Sun detailed how she deals with the problem. 

The cleanfluencer and Instagram star first dusts using a feather duster, then uses a Minky M cloth to wipe the walls with fabric softener diluted in warm water.

The benefit of using fabric softener is that it’s mild and won’t remove the paint. For Mrs Hinch the other upside to this method is that it makes the house smell of washing, which sounds good to us.

Shop the Minky M Cloth now

3. Call on a cleaning favourite

Ah, vinegar. How many household problems can it help you solve, and a marked wall is indeed one of them. Vinegar’s the stuff to arm yourself with if the mark on your white wall is a greasy one. 

You’ll need to fill a bucket with warm water and add a cup of white vinegar. Then apply to the wall with a soft sponge. 

Buy vinegar for cleaning below.

4. Use magic

Well, OK, that’s fictional, but you can use a magic eraser to restore the whiteness of your walls and we’d definitely recommend one of these if a small member of the family has daubed them with crayon or left their grubby fingerprints on them.

You’ll just need to wet it under the tap, squeeze out, and then apply to wall. Like magic – but not really.

5. Make your own cleaner

Still got a mark? You can make your own wall cleaner using baking soda. Mix three parts of the store cupboard staple with one part water to create a paste, then apply (gently) with a soft dampened sponge. Wipe clean with a lint-free cloth. 

If cleaning white walls isn't working?

It's time for a repaint. These are the best white paint deals on offer today.