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Vacuum the rug and all surfaces before you begin cleaning the walls. This is a necessary step because the more dust you have in the room when you begin, the more likely it is that dust will accumulate on the walls as you are cleaning. Dust becomes dirt when it comes into contact with liquid. Clear the dust first so you don't make more work for yourself in the process of cleaning.
Spread a drop cloth on the floor in front of the wall you will be cleaning. Gravity is not a friend when it comes to putting any kind of liquid cleaner on a wall. Use a fabric cloth instead of a plastic cloth because it is more absorbent and doesn't become slippery beneath your feet.
Homemade Wall Cleaner
Make your own wall cleaner, which can be just as effective as harsher commercial cleaners without being as hazardous to your health. Let 1/2 cup of borax dissolve in a gallon of warm water. Stir in 1/2 tablespoon of ammonia.
Use White Cloths
Clean walls with white or off-white cloths only, or use a natural sponge. The coloring dyes that manufacturers use to color cleaning cloths may stain a light-colored wall.
Clean crayon marks from walls by dampening a cloth, then dipping it into baking soda. Wipe the crayon marks firmly, using as much elbow grease as it takes. Remove any remaining hints of the crayon marks by spraying on an oil lubricant and wiping it away in a circular motion. Wipe away any residue with a mixture of water and dishwashing liquid.
Never use a feather duster to clean paneled woods, because all you are accomplishing is moving the dust from one area of the house to another. Invest in a quality microfiber cloth. Slightly dampen the cloth with a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and 1/2 cup vinegar. Add a drop of lemon juice to help polish as you clean. Wipe along the grain to collect dust without scratching the wood.
Consult the manufacturer's instructions before cleaning wallpaper. Wallpapers are not all created equal. How you clean your wallpaper will depend in large part upon the materials it contains. Research the differences in cleaning vinyl, coated fabric, plain paper and vinyl-coated wallpaper before you begin cleaning to avoid destroying all of your hard work.