Washing Surfaces for Prep

Washing older surfaces prior to painting is highly recommended by many paint companies today, however; often surfaces can be successfully painted without washing.

 Interior; When applying a coat of paint the surface being painted must be clean enough to allow the new paint direct contact with the old paint. Generally remove any dust, grease, or soap-film for the best bond. This may require complete washing or just a little dusting and wiping. Stains and ink can be sealed with primer sealer. Most surfaces can be washed with tsp (tri-sodium-phosphate) detergent using a bucket and sponge. Tsp is one of the most common cleaning products used prior to painting but other detergents can also be used. Tsp is available at hardware and paint stores. A few paint manufacturers do not recommend tsp. Most detergents should be rinsed with clean water after washing to remove any soap film. Do not use wax type products or any thing that leaves a film on the surface. Ceilings can be difficult to wash. A yellowed ceiling can usually be sealed with a quality primer sealer, but if a non-textured ceiling has a build up of grime it may be best to wash it first. On new house construction it is seldom necessary to wash most surfaces prior to painting, although allot of dusting out or vacuuming will be required.

 Mildew appears as dark gray spotted areas, it should be remove prior to any prep work or painting.
 It can be removed with a solution of 3 parts water to 1 part bleach as follows
 Be sure to wear rubber gloves and goggles. Ventilate the room also

 1 Mix contents in a wash bucket,
 2 Wash an area with a sponge 
 3 Allow bleach to set a few minutes
 4 Rinse with clean water.


Exterior; One of the best ways to wash the outside of a house is with a bucket and a  scrub brush. Start at the top scrub an area within your reach allow time for the cleaning mixture to work , then rinse using a garden hose before moving on to the next section. Using a squeeze nozzle with a wide angle spray on your hose is usually the best method of rising down. Keep the water spray angled downward. Be careful not to spray water into vents or openings. Be extra careful for electricity & surfaces that get slippery when wet like.

  Also see Dulling Surfaces