Is Vinegar Safe on Painted Walls?

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While vinegar doesn’t do the best job at disinfecting, it can break down dirt build-up quite easily due to its high acidity. So, many consider it one of the best wall cleaners.

But is vinegar safe on painted walls? I break down the answer below.

Is Vinegar Safe on Painted Walls?

While vinegar is safe on some paints, it’s too acidic for others. You can use a vinegar-water solution on duller finishes such as flat and satin, as long as you don’t scrub too hard. The vinegar water solution is also effective on latex wall paints. But the solution will discolor walls painted with oil-based paint.

An image of vinegar solution

Some people prefer mixing a bit of mild dish detergent in the vinegar and water solution to improve the solutions’ disinfecting power. But this is not necessary.

How to Clean Walls With Vinegar

You can clean walls with vinegar in five simple steps:

#1 Dust

Similarly, when you clean your walls with Pine-Sol before you clean your walls with vinegar, you must dust them and remove any dust balls and cobwebs. The best way to go about this is using a broom or a vacuum, but if you don’t mind putting in the extra effort, you can use a dry microfiber cloth.

Dusting your walls before cleaning makes washing them easier and more effective.

#2 Ready the Vinegar Solution

Put half a gallon of water in a bucket, and mix in two to three tablespoons of white vinegar.

#3 Spot-Test the Solution

There is always a small chance that the solution will damage the paint on your walls. To avert needless damage, begin by rubbing the solution on a small, hidden part of the wall. Dry it off with a clean cloth.

If you see that the paint hasn’t discolored, you can move on to cleaning the entire wall.

#4 Clean the Wall and Remove Stains

Grab a non-abrasive cloth or sponge and dip it into the bucket of solution you made. Next, wring it out, and begin rubbing the cloth/sponge on the wall gently.

When the cloth or sponge gets dirty with stains and grime, rinse it off in the solution and continue washing the wall. Steer clear of electrical outlets and switches – it could cause a short circuit or worse.

A person holding a vinegar solution

To deal with tough stains such as sticky residues from wall tapes, mix a few tablespoons of baking soda with warm water and make a paste. Next, apply the paste to the stain with your fingers gently. Spray diluted vinegar directly on the stain, and wipe away the residue with a damp cloth. The stain should be gone.

#5 Dry the Wall

Grab a dry non-abrasive towel and hand dry the wall. It’s best to wait for the wall to dry completely before hanging photos or pushing back furniture against the wall. Leaving your Bionaire window fan might just help the drying process go faster, and help ventilate the strong odor of the walls.

Soft surfaces might leave a strong smell of vinegar after being cleaned with a vinegar solution, since it might take a day for it to evaporate, having an air freshener system in your house would really come in handy.


You can mop your walls that have flat, satin, gloss, semi-gloss, or latex paint on them with vinegar. However, cleaning walls with oil-based paints on them with vinegar is not safe since it will discolor the wall and give it a shabby look.

Brett E.

Brett E. is the Owner of  Brett comes from a long line of craftsman and foreman, and has been involved with the construction and renovation world ever since he was a boy while working for his families construction and remodeling company.  After graduating with a a degree in Interior Design, Brett is the go to guy for any interior design or remodeling questions!