How To Clean Painted Kitchen Walls

(Image credit: Erika Tracy)

Have you ever vacuumed your kitchen walls? Some cleaning gurus recommend it at least once a month — seriously! — and not just the ones in your kitchen. If that sounds overwhelming, I’m with you. But if you think about all the wear and tear and grease and grime that leave their mark on your kitchen walls, it makes sense. You probably want to do more than just a spring cleaning of what is most likely the gathering spot of your home, right?

Before you roll up your sleeves and pull on those rubber gloves, be sure to assess what type of paint is on your kitchen walls: semigloss and glossy enamel wash well; flat, stain, and eggshell latex might fade or rub off when washed. If you have one of the latter, it’s a good idea to check with your local paint store. Regardless of paint type, always test a patch on the wall first, and start with the gentlest solutions and materials.

Like when you’re cleaning your floors, the first step is to remove the dust and dirt that comes off easily — the stuff that’s just sitting on the surface and doesn’t need any elbow grease. The dust brush attachment on your vacuum is the quickest way to get loose debris off (even if you feel a little odd). You can also use a broom covered with a soft cloth, just a soft cloth, or even clean socks to gently remove the outermost layer of grime.

The combination of ammonia (astringent), vinegar (disinfectant), and baking soda (abrasive) should cut through grease, eliminate stains, and leave your walls looking shiny and new, although stubborn spots may call for a baking-soda paste treatment.

Once you’re satisfied, don’t forget to rinse your walls with a damp cloth to remove any lingering residue, which will attract dirt and grime (and undo all your hard work!). Use clean dishtowels to dry your walls, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t undertake this task sooner.

How To Clean Painted Kitchen Walls

What You Need

Clean bath towels or thick dishtowels
1 cup ammonia
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup baking soda
Gallon warm water
Clean sponge
Clean, soft dishcloths

Vacuum with dust brush attachment, or broom and a clean soft cloth
Rubber gloves


  1. Vacuum kitchen walls with the dust brush attachment. Or use a broom head covered with a clean soft cloth to wipe down walls.
  2. Combine ammonia, vinegar, baking soda, and warm water in a bucket. Lay towels on floor to catch any drips and put on rubber gloves to protect hands and arms from dripping dirty water.
  3. Soak sponge in solution, wring out, and begin to wash walls. Use a gentle circular motion and work from the top down.
  4. For tough dirt and grime, make a paste with baking soda and warm water in a bowl. Apply paste to tough dirt spots with a sponge; let dry. Wipe off paste with a clean dishcloth.
  5. Run a clean dishcloth under warm water and gently rinse walls to remove residue. Do not skip this step!
  6. Dry walls with clean towels.