Home Painting

Cleaning Grimy Painted Doors and Trim

Painted doors and trim may show dirt and grime very quickly, but it’s equally as quick to wash the spots. Most of the dirt showing on decorated trim is among the oily variety, especially that around doorknobs and other high-use places. Oily marks like fingerprints pull and hold onto dirt, which makes the trim appear dirtier than it really is, and normal wiping may not get rid of the oily residue.

Assess the Surface First

Before cleaning any painted surface, make sure it’s safe to get it wet. Modern painted trims are generally safe, but some historic surfaces may not be. Dampen a cleaning cloth with water, and wipe in a inconspicuous area to ensure water won’t damage or stain the paint. Glossy-looking finishes are almost always safe to wash with water, whilst matte finishes should be examined first. No matter what the finish, it’s ideal to prevent over-wetting the surface.

Get the Dust Off

Start cleaning by removing any loose dust or dirt. Use a vacuum to remove dust from crevices and corners. Pay extra attention to the peak of the tub or door. Use a small, soft paintbrush to dust inside of any decorative details and as borders. Finally, wipe the entire surface using a soft, dry cloth as opposed to a feather duster; a standard duster will not pick up as much dust. Inspect for loose nails, cracks or other damage and repair as required. Make note to steer clear of damaged areas while brushing.

Pick the Cleaning Solution

Most of the grime on the doors and trim is oily. Wiping the surface using a cleanser that doesn’t cut petroleum makes it appear clean, but it won’t get rid of the oily residue that attracts and retains onto dirt. Use a cleanser that is intended to cut through grease or oil. For light cleaning, a 50/50 mix of plain vinegar and water cleans and requires no rinsing. For heavier dirt or accumulation, a mixture containing a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid or 1/4 cup of oil soap in a gallon of water helps cut the oils. This application requires rinsing.

Get the Grime Off

To wash the surfaces, then dip a sponge or soft cloth into the cleaning solution and wring it out until the cloth is barely moist. Beginning at the peak of the doorway or trim, then wipe the entire surface with smooth, even strokes. You may have to go over especially grimy places over once or utilize more vigorous scrubbing. Try to avoid letting the answer drip down the doorway. Excess water can leave marks on some painted surfaces. If you are using a soap solution, follow by wiping the surfaces with a cloth wrung out in plain water. Allow the surfaces to dry thoroughly prior to use.

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