How To Clean Walls With Flat Paint

Flat paint is frequently painted on walls to create a matte finish. While this can provide a stunning look to your walls, the matte texture of flat paint makes scuffs or stains more apparent on obvious on the surface. 

As well as this, flat paint is quite delicate and should be cleaned with utmost care. Abrasive cleaning will remove the paint from its original place, leaving your wall looking patchy. If you’ve gone for white walls, this can stand out even more than other colors. 

If you want to clean your flat paint walls but don’t know how to do it without causing damage, then take a look at this guide below. As flat paint walls require a more sensitive approach than other paints, like semi-gloss, the majority of these recommendations also apply to other paint finishes as well.

How To Clean Walls With Flat Paint

How To Check If You Have Flat Paint Walls

If you have just moved into a new home and like the color of the walls, but still want to give them a good clean, then the first thing you have to do is check if flat paint was used. 

Instead of referring to the texture of the walls, “flat” refers to the fact that the walls have a matte finish. In simple terms, this means that the walls do not reflect light. This is a good choice of paint for masking imperfections in ceilings and decorative accent walls.

The absence of any light reflection from your walls, regardless of how they are seen from an angle, is a sign that your walls have flat paint. Your walls also have flat paint if they have a gloss of 0 to 10 percent.

How To Clean Flat Paint Walls

You Will Need

  • Warm water in a bucket
  • Soft sponge or cloth
  • White vinegar 
  • Laundry detergent/dish soap
  • Towel 

Cleaning Method

Dust The Wall

When cleaning a wall, it is advisable to first remove any dried dirt and dust from the surface before adding any cleaning chemicals or water to the area. A duster or even a dry towel can be used to gently sweep the area and pick up any dust or loose dirt.

Use Warm Water And A Sponge 

Begin by wiping the wall with a clean, cloth or wet sponge to remove any top stains that you can see. Water can sometimes be sufficient to erase stains, allowing you to skip the use of any cleaning agents completely. If you deal with wall-stains as soon as you see them, you will have the highest chance of success.

Use Soap/Detergent 

For the tougher stains, diluting soap in warm water to increase the cleaning power of the solution will help in removing stains completely. Only use this step if you have to and be careful while applying soap to your wall. Also, make sure that you are not applying the soap directly onto the wall, and rather are diluting it in the water first. 

In addition to damaging your paint, cleaning chemicals may also leave a soap stain on the wall, which is why you have to be very careful with this part of the process. The best soaps to use are detergent or dish soap as they are less harsh and contain fewer chemicals.  

Use White Vinegar

Cleaning pros also recommend using white vinegar mixed into the solution since it not only cleans the walls, but also any mildew or mold that might be hidden there.

Rinse And Dry

After you have finished cleaning, be sure to thoroughly rinse the wall with a light coat of warm water to make sure that there is no stickiness or soap residue is left on the wall afterward. 

Using a towel, wipe the painted wall dry. When drying the paint using a towel, you have to be very careful to ensure that you do not scrub off the paint.

Repaint (If Necessary)

If you still have the original paint can in the house, then you can easily touch up any areas where the paint might’ve come away during cleaning, or just through general wear and tear. 

If you do not want to go through this cleaning process again, then another option is to completely repaint the wall. A paint with an eggshell finish will give your walls almost the same look as flat paint would, as they only have around 10%-25% gloss in them. 

This type of paint is also far more durable and easy to clean than flat paint, so it might be a good option if you keep scuffing your walls. 

Are There Any Benefits To Flat Paint?

Are There Any Benefits To Flat Paint?

Because of its ability to absorb light, flat and matte paint gives a smooth look that dries with a low sheen. Another benefit is that flat paint provides excellent coverage, meaning that it can hide flaws in your walls such as bumps in the plaster. 

 Bu covering these imperfections, flat paint makes an excellent choice of paint for all areas of your home, but especially on ceilings where they may be more flaws in the construction of walls where you have had a lot of issues.  

What Are The Negatives? 

Flat paint’s downside is that it is easily smeared or scuffed and is not especially durable. When this occurs, the best approach to wall cleaning is, to begin with, the least amount of chemicals possible and only use warm water and a sponge. 

Additionally, you should take whatever additional care necessary to ensure that the paint is not damaged during cleaning. If you begin with harsh treatments or chemicals, you will damage your walls, so don’t be tempted to roughly tackle harsh stains or you will cause even more damage. 


By following this simple guide on how to clean your flat paint walls, you should be able to simply and easily remove any stains or scuffs that have appeared over time. 

When claiming the walls, all you have to do is remover to be gentle with it, or you may cause even more damage to the paint. 

If you feel a bit nervous about claiming the walls yourself, you can always contact a professional claiming service, who will take all the stress out of you doing the job yourself.