18th Aug 2021

Treating stained and marked walls is not always easy. General dirt, grime and fresh stains can mostly be removed with hard work and all-purpose cleaner. Other, harder to remove stains require different techniques.

Here we look at how you can tackle stains that you may come across on jobs, so you’re not spending your time cleaning rather than painting!

General Purpose Wall Cleaner

Dissolve 2 ounces of multi-purpose cleaner along with 1 tbsp. of ammonia in a bucket containing 2 litres of water. Start at the bottom of the wall and scrub upwards to prevent dirty streaks creating more work. For textured walls, old socks or rags work better than sponges. This should see off the majority of wall stains.

Crayon and Coloured Pencil Marks

A great way to remove crayons is a degreaser as this effectively removes greasy/oily stains. Apply it to the affected area before wiping clean with a cloth or rag. Follow-up with mild dish detergent and warm water mixture for any lingering marks.


Paint stains should be rinsed first to remove as much of the stain as possible. Follow-up with a mild, abrasive cleaner applied to a damp sponge and rub the affected area in circular motions before rinsing again and letting the area dries. For more persistent marks, try blotting the area with nail polish removal applied to a cotton ball.

Mould, Mildew and Water

These stains cannot be painted over without correct preparation as the marks will bleed through. The source of the stain must be removed before the stains can be dealt with. First, clean the surface thoroughly and use a mould killer and water mixture if necessary to get rid of any particularly stubborn mould or mildew. Rinse the area thoroughly and dry the area well and dehumidify the room. Once the surface is perfectly dry, apply a shellac-based primer-sealer. The area is ready to be repainted, make sure the new paint is resistant to mildew and mould growth and comes with a stain-resistant finish.


Smoke stains will also bleed through if painted over without the correct preparation. First, use a vacuum to collect as much loose carbon as possible. Next, run the area with a dry sponge or a magic sponge that is specifically designed to remove this kind of stain. Finally, mix 1 tbsp. of trisodium phosphate into a gallon of warm water and rinse the stained area thoroughly. This may remove some of the paint from the wall in which case the only option is to prime and repaint the area.

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