How to Remove Stains on Painted Walls before Moving Out or before an Inspection

How to Remove Stains on Painted Walls

When you move out there are a number of things you have to do. One thing you’ll likely notice as you are moving your furniture out are stains and scuff marks on the walls. Some scuff marks will be obvious. Some marks and stains will be a mystery. The purpose of this article is to help give you advice on how to remove stains on painted walls.

The thought of a landlord inspection can leave you with heart palpitations. You want to make sure that you are going to get our bond back. You don’t want to have an argument because the landlord or property manager finds something that they are trying to use as an excuse to get out of paying you back your bond. 

If you notice marks on your walls and you are worried about removing these blemishes, then this article is for you. Whilst this article is predominantly aimed at tenants who are looking to remove stains on painted walls before moving out, the step by step process outlined below is relevant to those that own their own house as well.

We will cover how to remove common stains on painted walls that you’re likely to encounter.

First things first – Preparing to remove the stains.

Dust your walls first

Before you get started, the first step in wall stain removal is to make sure that your walls are relatively clean. You need to make sure that you have removed any excess dust and dirt to make stain removal easier. Use a cloth where you can reach and a soft bristled broom for those areas out of reach. Alternatively, you could invest in a dust mop.

You need to dust first to identify what stains are left behind. If you are lucky, you may find that there are no more stains – you may find that you have removed them all.

Identifying the type of stain or scuff mark

There are a few common types of wall stains. The most common is usually scuff marks or bumps from furniture. Other common types of stains are oil stains or water based stains. Whilst there are some similarities between them, when you have to remove stains on painted walls, there are also some differences.

Let’s look at some of the more common stains. Oil-based stains include shoe polish, crayons, and grease. Water-based stains are usually food-derived, such as wine, ketchup, mustard, and such.

Before trying different products and heavy duty cleaning materials we recommend a simple approach first. Before sticking heavy duty chemicals on your walls to remove stains, start with a clean sponge and warm water. You may add a little dishwashing detergent. If you are going to buy some cleaning products, you can choose safer and more cost effective products first – most supermarkets will sell sugar soap or magic erasers (these are what we primarily use for wall stain removal because they are safe and effective so they are highly recommended!). 

In many circumstances, these products and household items will be enough, and it can be managed quite quickly. If this has helped you to remove stains on your painted walls you can stop reading now. If the stains are still there, then you should continue reading and we shall share some further tips regarding the most common stains.

Crayons and Coloured Pencils

Do you have young children living in the house? It doesn’t matter how much paper you give them or how much you tell them not to, chances are they will want to decorate your walls. An often heard refrain from budding Monet’s is “I wanted to make it pretty.” The world is their canvass.

If the dishwashing detergent or sugar soap mix above (or magic erasers) doesn’t work, try using baking soda. If you mix baking soda with warm water to make a paste that you can smear onto the stain. Leave the paste to soak into the wall for an hour or two and then you should be able to remove the stain from painted walls with some light scrubbing. If crayons are the problem, applying heat (i.e. putting a heater near the stain for a little while) can help make the job easier. Crayons are waxed based and heat can melt the stain a little to make cleaning easier.

One final tip though – consider taking a photo of their artwork so you can use it to embarrass your child at their 21st birthday.

remove stains painted walls

Credit: Sellys

Permanent Markers & Pens

The only things worse than crayons or pencils in the hands of your children is if they get their hands on permanent markers. Whilst there are some ways you can remove permanent marker stains from painted walls, there is an increased risk of damaging the paint on the wall.

You should spot test any attempt to remove permanent marker stains in an obscure area before trying to remove all of the stain.

Your options for removing permanent marker stains are rubbing alcohol (with a cotton ball, sponge, or cloth). Spraying hairspray on the stained area is also known to work. Other solutions that you can try, using everyday items from around the house include nail polish remover and shaving cream.

As mentioned, permanent marker stains are hard to remove and you may need to touch up the paint on the wall where you have removed a permanent marker stain. Be prepared for this.

These are some of the most common oil based stains. Let’s look at some water based stains and how to remove them from painted walls.

wall stain removal

Source: Chux

Water-based stains

As mentioned earlier in this article, water based stains can include wine or food based stains. They can also be caused by larger problems around the house – clogged gutters, a leafy roof, indoor humidity or a lack of ventilation.

A great way to clean water based stains is with bleach. No, I don’t mean straight bleach. You need to mix 1 part bleach to 3 parts water.

If you are using bleach it is important to be safe. Wear gloves and potentially even safety glasses. If it gets on your skin or in your eyes it can burn and cause an injury.

To clean off the stains with a bleach solution, you apply to the stained area and leave to stand for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes you remove the stains from your painted walls by grabbing a clean cloth and bucket of water to wipe off the solution.

NOTE: ALWAYS test the bleach solution on an inconspicuous part of the wall before trying this method. It is risky and should only be done as a last resort and if you are prepared to paint the wall if it fails. 

Mould & Mildew

Another common problem you might find around the house is mould or mildew. You should deal with this problem as soon as you notice it, and not just when you are moving out. To remove mould or mildew from your walls you should use a mixture of vinegar and water. You can remove it from painted walls by dabbing your vinegar mix on the stain and then rinsing with clean water. Please make sure you wear safety equipment when cleaning mould or mildew, especially a P2 Mask because breathing in mould spores is really bad for your health. 

Once you have successfully removed the mould, you need to ensure that you deal with the cause of the problem so it doesn’t keep popping up. You may also find that the mould leaves a stain, which cannot be removed. This happens when the mould has been left to fester for an extended period of time. In these cases you will need to paint over the affected areas. We suggest using a special mould-inhibiting paint. More information on How to Remove Mould Naturally, and how to prevent it from coming back, check out the article in this link.

Some tips for your future home.

With this article we have shared with you some tips to remove stains from painted walls when you are moving out. If you want to make this easier, then please consider that maintenance is key. Regularly looking after your walls will make it easier to avoid stains and, should they occur, easier to remove them.

If you are regularly looking after your painted walls, then you will notice stains earlier. As soon as you notice a stain, you need to act. The longer you leave it the harder a stain will be to remove. If you leave it too long you may need a new paint job.

If you are looking at maintenance, here are the things that you should do:

  • Regularly dust and vacuum your walls. Try to make sure you use the right vacuum extension. Work your way from top to bottom.
  • Regularly wash your walls. Work your way from the bottom up.
  • Use old towels or a drop sheet when you are cleaning your walls to catch any drips before they hit the floor.
  • Create a bucket of your wall cleaning products – including everything you need for your cleaning solutions as well as gloves and other safety equipment. Make sure you have a number of dry cloths for a final wipe down and dry.

If you are moving out and there are some stubborn stains you haven’t been able to remove from your painted walls, it might be time to get in touch. We have the right products and expertise to do your end of lease clean and can usually remove these stubborn stains from your walls – as well as all of your other cleaning requirements.

We’d also love to help you out in your new house. If you would like us to regularly clean your house and look at different cleaning options don’t hesitate to get in touch for a no-obligation quote.

Book a home cleaning service or end of lease cleaner online instantly!

Book a home cleaning service or end of lease cleaner online instantly!

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