Keep Your Paint Looking Bright And Fresh With These Essential Tips

Dust your interior walls regularly

You're familiar with the need to dust your furniture regularly. But did you know that your walls also need occasional dusting? Like on furniture and floors, dust builds up on your painted walls, eventually hiding the luster of even the most radiant paint job. The longer you leave grime and cobwebs on your walls, the more permanently they attach to the paint. To keep the color looking fresh, dust your walls and remove cobwebs once a month.

Use the right cleaning products

Although you dust your walls every month, it's a good idea to thoroughly wash them at least once a year. When it's time for this type of deep cleaning, you'll need to use the right products to preserve the beauty of your painted wall color. Paint finishes in the flat, eggshell, and satin categories require extra care, as harsh cleaning products and methods can remove the paint and leave behind unsightly streaks. For these finishes, you can use warm water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Start by vacuuming or dusting the wall to remove loose debris. Then, be careful not to scrub the wall vigorously. Instead, dip a microfiber cloth in the soap-and-water mixture and wring it out thoroughly. Wipe the wall gently to remove dust and dirt without removing the paint. Dry it with an old towel.

Act quickly to remove smudges, scuff marks, and stains from painted walls

Inevitably, life happens, and your painted walls will get their share of scuffs and stains over time. When your walls show undesirable marks, it's important to act quickly. The longer the stain stays on the wall, the more permanent it becomes. In most cases, you can remove stains and smudges with a soft cloth and a mixture of warm water and dishwashing liquid. The key to spot-cleaning success is to wring out the excess water and gently wipe the affected area with the cloth, carefully avoiding harsh scrubbing. When the smudge is gone, rinse with clear water and dry the wall with a towel.

Keep furniture, candles, and decor items away from painted walls

Any item that touches your wall over a long period of time can leave a dark stain or mark. This includes picture frames and mirrors that lean against the walls as well as furniture pieces that get shoved up against the wall on a regular basis. To preserve the beauty of your paint color and finish, it's best to place your furniture at least a few inches away from the wall. Avoid using decor pieces that lean, opting to hang artwork and mirrors with traditional picture hooks or Command Strips.

Take steps to avoid ghosting on your interior walls and ceilings

You might have noticed faint black or gray streaks on the walls and ceilings in the vicinity of air ducts, vents, and baseboard heaters. This phenomenon is known as "ghosting" or "thermal tracking," and it can obscure the color and sheen of your paint. Ghosting is caused by the circulation and condensation of dirty air that contains soot and dust from a number of sources. These might include cigarette smoke, burning candles, wood-burning fireplaces, cooking oils, or pet dander.

Use curtains to stop fading

When you're ready to paint your interior walls, the color selection process takes time and effort. After careful consideration, you find the perfect color, only to find that it fades in a few years. Suddenly, you realize that the rich and vibrant color you loved has become dull and lifeless. Sunlight is the biggest culprit in fading interior paint. Because of this, you can help your wall paint to stay fresh if you shade the room with blinds or curtains when the sunlight is strong or when you're not in the space.

Choose the right paint finish and brand

When choosing paint for your interior walls, the color seems to be the most important factor. But, the quality and finish of the paint contribute a great deal to whether the color is susceptible to fading from sunlight. Matte, flat, and eggshell paint finishes absorb sunlight, causing them to break down faster. The result will be faded color. On the flip side, satin and semi-gloss finishes reflect sunlight, allowing them to stay fresh for longer periods. If sunlight pours into your living space, you might choose a satin finish for the walls and a semi-gloss finish for the trim. These types of paint will stay vibrant longer than other choices.

Keep your exterior paint from fading

Whether you make it a DIY project or call in the pros, painting the exterior walls and trim represents a sizable investment in the long life of your house. In addition to providing curb appeal, exterior paint protects the structural integrity of the building. Fortunately, you can take steps to keep the paint job looking like new.

Wash your painted exterior walls once a year

In addition to sunlight, your exterior paint can look aged and dull due to high heat, humidity, and harsh weather conditions. Additionally, dust and pollen collect on the outdoor surfaces over time. As a practical step, you should wash your walls and trim once a year. Start by sweeping away cobwebs and obvious debris. Then, wash the painted surfaces with a mild, diluted detergent, a garden hose, and a soft, long-handled brush.

Adjust your sprinklers to avoid damaging the home's exterior paint

A sprinkler system is an ideal way to maintain a thriving lawn and landscape, but it can be detrimental to your home's exterior paint job. When water from a sprinkler hits the outer wall of a house, it fades the color and wears away the paint. With repeated water spray over time, the exterior paint can form bubbles and start to peel. This situation damages the exterior coating and weakens the paint's moisture barrier that protects your home's structure.

Keep shrubbery and trees pruned back away from painted exterior walls

While it's helpful to provide shade that reduces the color-fading effects of heat and sunlight on exterior paint, it's wise to minimize contact with trees and shrubs. Especially in windy conditions, the branches can scratch the paint, causing failure in the paint's moisture barrier that results in peeling. For this reason, it's a good idea to plant and prune your landscape to keep it from touching your home's exterior walls.

Do touch-up painting when necessary

Normal wear and tear means you'll occasionally need to do touch-ups on your paint jobs. This means you'll paint small sections of a wall to hide chipped or worn spots without repainting the entire thing. When the time comes, it's necessary to match the color as closely as possible. Hopefully, you have some leftover paint from the original project, allowing you to blend paint from the same batch to achieve a seamless appearance. If not, you'll need to match both the color and the finish with a new can. Keep in mind that two paints of the same color can look completely different if their finishes are not the same.

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