With four kids five and under, there are a LOT of sticky handprints all over my house. And unfortunately we were only thinking of what looked good, not what was practical, when we painted all of our bright, beautiful, colorful walls with extra extra matte paint. Not the easiest to clean. I had pretty well resolved to just forget it altogether, but then I discovered this amazing cleaning trick!
The best way to clean your walls, baseboards, furniture, and more is… Laundry detergent!
Why laundry detergent?
Well, detergent is NOT the same thing as soap.
Soap works because at a molecular level it has one side that sticks to water and one side that sticks to other things – dirt, oil, and germs. This means when soap, water, and other things are mixed, the soap forms bubbles around all the things you don’t want, separating it from your hands or dishes, and allowing water to easily wash it all away.
Detergent does the same thing, but rather than being made from fats and oils, it is man-made and specifically created to work better in hard water or cold water and still be able to break down dirt and rinse away easily rather than leaving a film or scum. This is why you should be careful using homemade laundry detergent, because it’s actually not detergent at all, but soap.
Both break down the surface tension of water allowing it to clean more effectively. Basically, soap makes water wetter and detergent is like soap, but soapier. Got it?
So what does this mean, and why should I use it on my walls?
Long story short, it just means that it does a really really good job removing grime. It is almost magical, which is why it’s so popular all over Pinterest.
It’s especially amazing for greasy stains, like the oil splatter on the cupboards around your stove or the toddler handprints on your doors.
It’s super easy to do, and it’s also super cheap because it’s diluted so much.
Just fill a bucket with water (hot water is always great for cleaning, but if you want to use cold, remember detergent is specifically made to still be effective!) and add just a teaspoon of laundry detergent. That’s it!
This is great if you’re doing a big deep clean, washing all the walls and furniture in your house in one fell swoop, but if you want to spot clean with a smaller amount, just mix a cup of water with a couple of drops of liquid detergent or a sprinkle of powdered.
Speaking of, which kind of detergent should you use?
Most of the blog posts and TikTok videos will specifically call out powdered Tide. And then the reason they give is that it’s a surfactant. But guess what? So is every other detergent, as well as all kinds of soap.
I’ve used different brands, powdered and liquid, and have still had good results, so just use whatever you’re already using for your laundry (as long as it’s a commercially made detergent and not a homemade soap).
Once you’ve mixed up your solution, grab a washcloth and get to work!
This cleaner is amazing for walls, baseboards, doors, light switches, dressers, bed frames, cupboard doors, all over your house.
And don’t stop there!
Try using slightly more concentrated solutions for floors, showers, and ovens!
It really is a miracle all-purpose cleaner!
Not sure how to fit scrubbing walls and furniture into your busy daily life?
Don’t worry, I’ve got you!
Check out my incredibly simple cleaning routine to clean and organize your entire home in the EASIEST way possible!