Painting is only half the battle.  A freshly painted home looks great, with every room getting a makeover that adds a gorgeous backdrop to its furniture and surroundings.  If you let that paint suffer from wear-and-tear, however, that beautiful paint job will eventually look drab, faded and scuffed.  Regular maintenance is important for keeping your walls looking good as new for years to come.

Pick Your Finish

If you’re painting in a highly-trafficed room, your first line of defense for your walls should be in your paint selection itself.  A higher-grade paint is going to be more durable and cleanable, and a higher sheen paint is going to withstand abrasion and chipping better than the alternatives.  There’s also the option of washable flats, which is a good alternative if you prefer a flatter, matte look to your walls as opposed to a glossy sheen.

Minor Cleaning

You shouldn’t attempt to clean your walls for the first two weeks after they’ve been painted.  You want the finish to fully set, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.  After that, though, making your walls part of your regular cleaning routine can keep everything looking fresh and good to go for years after their initial painting.

Your vacuum cleaner likely has a soft-brush attachment.  That’s perfect for cleaning your walls; gently vacuuming them to remove dust.  A clean dusting rag can help remove any small particles the vacuum misses, while fingerprints and smudges can be wiped out with a damp rag.  Keeping on top of maintenance makes everything look cleaner and sharper.

Washing the Walls

When grime does build up, it’s time for a more aggressive approach.  Most painted walls are actually surprisingly cleanable.  You can use a professional product – like a Magic Eraser sponge – or a combination of water, a mild dish detergent and a gentle sponge.  Avoid bleach, because that doesn’t react well with some paints.  Check the labels; some cleaning products may have bleach in them that you don’t expect!