Is It OK To Paint Over Dirty Walls? (FOUR WALL CLEANING TIPS)

If you are a passionate DIYer, you can easily fall into the temptation of opening a paint can and finishing a project.

While this might seem easier, the results of your task might be disappointing. Well, if you want to paint or repaint walls in your homestead, there are a few procedures to follow.

Among the many procedures, preparing the walls you want to paint is key.

So, Is It OK To Paint Over Dirty Walls?

Whether it is okay to paint on a dirty wall or not may be quite unclear, but the basic rule of thumb is to clean walls before you start painting. While it can be okay to paint on a dirty, flacking, glossy, or chapping wall, the paint might not last long. It can also make your surface appear worse and unsightly. Therefore if you want to have your walls appear beautiful and appealing, you have to clean them first.

See Also: Is It Better To Paint Your Home Yourself Or Just Hire Someone To Do It?

Four Wall Cleaning Tips

Consider this step-by-step guide to cleaning the walls you are planning to paint.

1. Dust The Walls

Using a dusting brush or a piece of cloth, remove cobwebs, loose dirt, and dust on the walls.

By doing this, you want to ensure your paintbrush and the residual paint remain free from dirt while you are busy painting.

2. Clear Mold

When dealing with areas commonly damp with limited air circulation, it is important to check for molds.

If there is any visible mold, use a mold-removing solution to remove them.

You can either mix 4:1 water: chlorine or 4:1 water: JIK.

Make sure the walls are totally saturated, and give about four hours for the solutions to work out.

Afterward, rinse the walls and surface thoroughly using plenty of clean water.

3. Scrap Off Old Wallpaper And Paint

If the wall surface is still shiny and you want to paint it matte, you have to remove it carefully. Fine-graded sandpaper can be the best tool to use here.

Remove all wallpapers on the wall without leaving pieces on the wall. Use a wallpaper remover to loosen the glue holding the papers and the wall together.

4. Wash The Walls

Once you are done with the removal of dirt on your walls, you can now wash them.

Use a well-diluted washing liquid with hot water and scrub the walls with a rag.

If you are dealing with walls that have more grease, you will have to use a stronger cleaning solution.

Rinse out all residue with clean water and allow the walls to fully dry before you paint.

Ten Wall Painting Tips

Here are a few tips to make your DIY painting job a great success, whether you are working on indoor or outdoor walls.

1. Wait For The Dry Season

When there is high humidity, it translates to slow drying. Avoid painting on rainy days, and if you must, then make use of slow-drying paint.

Make sure you correct any errors before applying the next coat.

2. Choose The Best Quality Paint Tools And Supplies

Good paint brushes and covers offer good coverage so that you don’t have to spend more time and paint reapplying to fill the skipped spaces.

A quality painter’s tape helps you seal out the blurs and drips.

3. Do A Proper Visual Inspection

Check for any flaking, peeling, or cracks and clean them well before you start to paint. Otherwise, the new paint coat will pull the old one, and you will have wasted time and money.

Find the best quality fillers to fill in the tinny cracks that might be present on your walls.

4. Protect Objects You Don’t Want To Paint

If you are painting indoors, make sure you cover the floor, furniture, and any other thing that you don’t want to paint.

You can use tape and plastic sandwich bags to secure indoor items and cover the door knobs.

After the wall paint has dried, you will remove the covers and will be happy, realizing that you did not stain other items.

5. Use Primer

If your walls are clean and smooth, paint and primer can serve you best.

However, if the walls were lastly painted more than 8 years ago or have other issues, you will have to use a separate primer.

Bonding primer is the best you use, especially when working on high-gloss or glass walls.

6. Have Enough Paint

Estimate the size of the walls you want to paint and ask your retailer to give you enough paint to cover such an area.

This will help you cut the costs of buying small quantities or excess that will eventually go bad.

7. Mix In One Container

Well-mixed paint will give your walls a consistent color from the beginning to the end of your painted surface.

However, if you opt to use one paint gallon at a time, you may not get the color consistency, which might damage your wall appearance.

8. Use A Paint Roller

Modern-day premium paints flow swiftly on walls. If you have chosen the best paint roller, you won’t have to use a lot of energy.

Instead, fix a long enough extension pole to the roller and move it easily on the areas you want to paint.

You will be able to paint the furthest point on your wall without necessarily struggling.

9. Paint From Top To Bottom

Use a paintbrush to cut out clear edges at the baseboard and ceiling. Afterward, use a roller to paint from the ceiling going downwards.

This helps prevent the telltale splatters and drips from damaging your already-painted bottom walls.

Start at the top so that the drips will fall on the unpainted part and will be balanced off when this part is later painted.

10. Ensure Enough Ventilation

If you are painting indoor walls, adequate ventilation is key.

Paint can be poisonous when its fumes are inhaled continuously, which can only be countered by adequate ventilation (fans, open windows).

This ventilation also helps the paint-drying process.


Painting walls is an integral part of finishing construction.

Whether you are doing it for the first time or are a veteran painter, it is important to follow all the steps and consider the painting tips to have a finely painted project.

Avoid painting on dirty walls if you want to achieve a successful paint job.