Interior Paint Prep: Do You Need to Wash Walls Before Painting?

calander Jan 14 , 2022 user-icon Nash Painting

Interior painting can take a lot of time and energy, especially if you’re committed to doing it yourself. It only makes sense, then, that many DIY-ers look for as many shortcuts and hacks as possible to lighten the load and get things done quicker. While efficiency has its merits, taking the easy way out can end up leading to bigger problems down the road. Giving surfaces a good cleaning prior to painting is one of the most common steps DIY-ers skip, often to their detriment. Let’s discuss why it’s important to wash walls and other surfaces before painting and how to go about it the right way.

What to Know About Preparing Walls for Painting

Why Clean Surfaces Matter When Painting

On the surface, painting seems like a good way to cover up dirt and grime. And while paint can certainly hide old stains and other imperfections, this is not its primary function. Indeed, paint is also meant to protect underlying surfaces from moisture and other threats via strong bonds – when there is a layer of dirt between said surface and paint, these bonds have a harder time forming, and the paint becomes much more prone to peeling and chipping over time. Even the most durable interior house paint will begin to deteriorate if applied to a dirty surface. By cleaning and priming your walls before painting them, you remove any potential barriers that might result in a weaker, less even paint job.

What About Brand New Walls?

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. While it’s generally a good idea to clean walls and other surfaces before painting, some surfaces won’t require as much attention as others. When painting new walls and ceilings, for instance, you likely won’t have to contend with significant dirt or grime. That said, it’s still a good idea to give these new surfaces a good dusting and mild washing (sanding, too, in some cases) to remove any dust that may have accumulated between construction and painting. You should also apply primer to these fresh surfaces before painting, as this will further aid with paint adhesion.

How Should You Go About Washing Interior Walls?

Now that we’ve established the importance of cleaning walls before painting them, here’s a primer on how to do it properly. First, dry wipe/dust walls to get rid of preliminary dust and dirt. Next, grab a sponge, mild soap, and warm water and gently scrub your walls from top to bottom – trisodium phosphate (TSP) mixed with water can be used to help remove more stubborn dirt and grease. Lastly, give your walls a good rinse with a damp cloth or sponge. That’s all there is to it.

Note that most interior painting services won’t wash walls on their own time. If you plan on hiring interior painters, then you’ll want to wash your walls before they arrive. Painters will still do what they can do to prep surfaces, of course, typically with a pole sander (which will remove a lot of dirt and grime as well).

The Verdict

So, do you need to wash walls before painting them? As a rule of thumb, yes – always clean the surfaces you plan on painting, even if you only perform a light dusting and gentle scrubbing. Ensuring that your surfaces are clean prior to residential interior painting will help you achieve better-looking, more durable results.

At Nash Painting, we know which factors can make or break a quality paint job, which is why we don’t skip steps but never sacrifice efficiency. Our various clients across Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin, TN can attest to the importance of proper paint preparation because they’ve seen the results that come from it. To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!