Care of paintwork and cleaning walls


I’m often asked how to look after indoor paintwork and keep it free of grubby finger-marks and general minor scuffs.

My first response (“ask your wife to do it”) used to be appreciated by married men but all it gets me now is an elbow in the ribs from Mrs. Parvin.  So here is a serious answer to the question because we like you to keep our handywork looking good.

Sticky fingermarks are usually fairly easy to get rid of – a simple wipe with a wet cloth and a dash of detergent if needed to dissolve grease from fingers, jam, etc. If you find yourself having to wash down a wall or large area it pays to run the vacuum cleaner over it first, or you can end up smearing wet dust all over the paint.

Regular detergent and warm water with a clean cloth or sponge take care of most regular marks fairly easily. Don’t overwet the wall and try to soak up moisture as you go with paper towels or a dry cloth. Lining paper is susceptible to dampness, so if you have lining paper go very easy with the water.

If you have heavy staining or dirt the best cleaning agents are the traditional ones: a solution of washing soda crystals or sugar soap (the decorators favourite). But test a hidden area first just to be on the safe side.

If you scrubbed and it’s still not coming out, you can paint over the offending mark.  Getting an exact paint match can be tricky, and ultraviolet light gradually fades colours, so definitely check a small patch in an out-of-the-way corner first.  Let it dry very thoroughly before you make your mind up about the colour match.

If you’re lucky the last decorator will have a record of what paint they used (I’m glad to say we do, thanks to the Holly’s efforts).  And you might even be lucky and find that you have half a tin in that cupboard under the stairs.
As long as the paint is water-based, you can dilute the paint with a dash of water and shade in around the edges of a patch.

If all that fails, by all means call us and see if we can offer any advice.

All the best,
Geoff Parvin