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How to keep a mural looking new

An interior mural is an investment. Thankfully interior paints are meant to last and are formulated for gentle cleaning and care. Here's how to keep a mural looking new.

Kathy LaFollett

1/18/20243 min read

Interior mural of a manatee, with mangroves, skyline, and saltwater fish.
Interior mural of a manatee, with mangroves, skyline, and saltwater fish.
  • Keep it simple.

  • Dust. Wipe clean. Let dry.

  • If the wall and mural have a rough surface, or raised elements, you'll dust the wall as often as you'd dust the room.

  • The right tools may surprise you.

Mural care is paint care. Care for your mural as you'd care for a freshly painted wall.

The busier your front door, the more Florida grit and salty stuff. There's an urban legend that in Florida, all lanai and back porches have fabulous furniture, sun shading umbrellas, and matching pillows. That part is true. Floridians add collect grit, grime, flying sand, debris and this gray film that you have to hose off. The closer you are to water, the truer the statement. And let's not get started on late fall and early winter turf die-off because nothing's growing back after your dogs run amok in the backyard. Or maybe that's just me.

In Florida, the outside comes in no matter. And the lightest stuff clings to your walls. You may not notice. Try taking a damp white cloth to a wall of choice and wipe it gently back and forth in a few spots. No need to scrub.

Keep it simple, because it is simple.

Dust. Wipe clean. Let dry.

The smoother the wall, the quicker this goes. Simple drywall, painted matte, semi-gloss, or gloss takes to a gentle Swiffer dusting. Dusting the wall before wiping eliminates streaks. Vertical sweeps work best.

Once you've dusted your mural wall, a solution of warm water with just a few drops of dawn liquid. You don't want bubbles. You want enough dawn to cut through our coastal flotsam. A gallon bucket needs only four drops of dawn. A soft cloth and gentle wiping, horizontal or vertical. Circles make it easy to miss areas. A light touch makes for clean results.

What about rough walls, or murals that create raised areas for special effects and faux?

Skip the Swiffer and use a microfiber carwash mitten for dusting. Diagonal light downward strokes left to right, then repeat right to left. You'll want to rely on the dusting to get most of the wall clean. Large makeup brushes work great in the areas missed by the mitten. (I use these for dusting my guitars as well). No need to buy the expensive sable brushes. A soft hair of any sort works great.

Spot clean any ridges or affects that have collected grime in the creases with the same solution as you use for a smooth wall. Q-Tips make a great tool here. Use a smooth microfiber cloth.

What if my mural has damage?

If I painted your mural, I have your design, paint colors, and paint chips on file. Repairing dings, dents, or remodeling aftermath is possible. I charge hourly for repair and repaints. If the damage is minimal and I spend more time mixing the paint than actually painting the problem away, no charge.

Final thoughts.

An interior mural is an investment. Like new floors, molding, or paint color. I use low/no VOC Baer products for their durability and ability to be wiped clean. When considering a mural, consider the lifestyle occurring near it. A mural in a quiet bedroom won't have to tolerate as much as a mural in a kitchen.

For murals on an exterior wall of a lanai or sunroom, I use exterior paints. I use gloss, high gloss for poolside art. If the art is within a splash zone, I seal the mural against pool chemical damage.

Cleaning exterior murals is the same as cleaning interior.

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