Wall Dusting 101

Our fabulous commenter Bramble asked:

How exactly does one dust the wall? Do you dust the entire wall with a dust cloth? Do you wash it?

how to dust walls

Ivy says:

This, of course, varies depending on how big your walls are and how dirty your walls are. My preferred method is to use a wool duster with an extension handle. The wool picks up dust very well and since it has an extension handle, you’ll be able to reach just about everywhere. (Unless your walls are as tall as mine, then you’ll need a ladder.)

how to take care of your walls

Click the picture for more tips!

Now, for really dirty walls, it depends on the type of paint that is on your walls. If you have satin or semigloss, just use a damp rag to wash down the walls. I like a little Pine-Sol in a bucket of water. To me, nothing smells like “clean” more than Pine Sol, a throwback to my childhood or something. With flat paint, it’s a bit different. I’m tempted to tell you to repaint with satin or semigloss, but naturally not everyone can do that. The alternative is using a dry sponge like this. For what those sponges cost though, I’d try to clean the walls with a wooly duster first, or perhaps gently washing them with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

There ya go, Bramble! More than you ever wanted to know about cleaning walls!

Send your domestic questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.


  1. Heather on June 5, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    @imabug I just use a cloth in diluted pine sol on my flat paint. Always, always, always spot test.

  2. imabug on June 5, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    I’ve used the Magic Eraser on flat wall paint before to do spot cleaning. Works pretty well, although be careful not to scrub too hard.

    What about when you have like a whole wall to clean though? After a couple of years of my two dogs chasing each other though the living room and body checking each other into the walls, they’re looking pretty grungy from about knee level down. Should I just spray them down with something like PineSol/Mr Clean and go at it with a scrubby brush?

  3. Carpet Cleaner Newcastle on April 23, 2008 at 3:00 am

    I tend to find I can’t remember which sort of paint I used in which rooms. This makes wall cleaning a bit of a minefield.

    As an aside the clean smell I really can’t bare is bathroom odour neutraliser – it smells awfull.

  4. Rosemary on April 16, 2008 at 8:50 am

    Just in time for spring cleaning. The pillowcase is a good idea. I usually use the vacuum cleaner with the floor or upholstery brush attachment.


  5. Pam on April 11, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    My favorite way to “dust” the walls is to put a pillowcase over the head of a broom. With the long handle you can get all the way to the top and get the corners. Pam, South Bend

  6. Badbadivy on April 11, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    You *can* use the magic eraser on flat paint. You have to be- as I said in my post- very gentle. My daughter marked all over her walls in the apartment we lived in before we got our house with crayon. I used the magic eraser on the walls and they were fine.

    Also, Heather has used magic erasers on her builder-grade (read: crappy) walls for years and they’re fine. Gentleness is key here.

  7. The Chatty Housewife on April 11, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    The Magic Eraser is bad for flat paint because it is a mild abrasive and will remove the paint to easily.

  8. CanadianCarrie on April 11, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    I agree that nothing smells like clean like pine sol, but we started using shaklee products and I love the ‘no smell’ even better than the pinesol.
    I also found that magic erasers leave a residue on my walls and I end up washing that area with a bit of shaklee basic H and water anyway.
    I have a question about ceilings, mine need to be washed not just dusted. Our living room (50 yr old ceiling) has a stippledlike treatment on it, not the hard sparkly stuff that falls off if you touch it, but like someone laid a rag onto thick paint and just pulled off. Should I just sponge it?

  9. Margaret on April 11, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    We used a paint called “scrubbable flat” on some of our walls (it was made by Kyanize, which unfortunately, my paint store stopped carrying, so now it’s all Benny Moore).
    I also have had great success with a recipe found on my ammonia jug: Add 1 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup vinegar, and 1/4 cup baking soda to one gallon hot water for wood work and painted walls. This is the only thing I keep ammonia on hand for.

  10. Bramble on April 11, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Thank ya much! mind you I’m still trying to finish the laundry heap but I’ll get to the walls eventually lol

  11. Becke (Columbus Foodie) on April 11, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Nay on the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers – I have Satin walls in my office, and after using the Magic Erasers, I now have sponge shaped streaks (shiny spots) all along that wall so I’m going to end up having to repaint. That, and it takes some of the paint off along with the dust/dirt.

  12. Ginger on April 11, 2008 at 10:48 am

    On wallpaper, I use a swiffer mop with Pledge dry dusting wipes. You’d be amazed at how much dust is on the walls!!!!