Moving In: Clean First, Then Paint.

Moving In: Clean First, Then Paint.


Whether you’re moving into a new house in Boston that you want to renovate or you’re preparing to repaint, preparation is everything. If you’re fixing up a starter home or re-painting, you’re of course going to remove all the furniture and large items to make painting easier. But is that all you should do? Would it be smarter to completely clean every inch of your living space or wait until after you paint so it’s easier to clean up all the mess you make in the process?

You may be surprise to learn this, but it’s always easier to clean up your home first before you paint. It’s much easier to prevent a mess during the painting process that it is to clean up after you paint. Here are the reasons why and the best way to clean before you paint.


Why Clean First?

Imagine trying to paint your walls while there’s trash on the floor, dust in the cracks and crevices and floorboards, cloths in the closet and dishes in the sink. Now imagine trying to get dried white enamel or primer off of your favorite recliner or your best blue jeans. Cleaning the house first is always the best order in the process of painting or re-painting. It’s so easy to prevent a mess while you paint AFTER you’ve already cleaned your home. Laying newspaper in front of areas and walls you’re painting, using paint thinner on bare clean surfaces, and not having to retouch any mistakes due to that couch in the corner leaving a mark are all ways you can minimize any mess made while painting or repainting. You many even want to wash your walls before you paint so you won’t need as much paint to cover up any unseemly stains or marks.


Even better than newspaper taped to the floor is big plastic sheeting or (if you’re wary of that plastic being punctured or shifting while you work on it) a heavy canvas drop cloth or a professional grade butyl-backed cloth. This can prevent any mess from spilled paint, paint splatter from your roller or brush or any paint being tracked throughout the house if you accidentally get some on the soles of your shoes or feet. Also, if you can paint barefoot, it’s easier to clean up after yourself than if you paint with big, bulky shoes or boots.


Best Paint-Prep Practices

There are many steps you need to follow to make sure that not only is the area you’re painting cleaned ahead of time but that your post-paint clean-up is kept to a minimum. The main thing you’re going to want to be is have a staging area where you mix, keep and pour paint as well as an area to keep used and dirty paint brushes and rollers where you can clean them without the mess getting on other areas and items in your home you want kept paint-free. This staging area can save time and keep any spills and messes confined to a single area.


Next, sweep and mop all floors and protect it with the kinds of covering mentioned above to keep paint soaking through to the floor below. Remove all furniture and all wall hangings and clean the walls with a solutions of mild detergent and water. This will ensure a smooth, uniform surface to paint on. Any dark smudges will show through many opaque paint colors no matter how dark they are. Make sure that after you clean the walls with whatever kind of solution you wish that you allow plenty of time for these surfaces to dry, even going as far as getting some large floor fans to speed up the process.


Next, you will want to remove the outlet and light switch covers that you don’t wish to be covered in the paint you’re applying. You don’t want visible brush strokes or paint smudges that give your home a sloppy feel. Also, any light fixtures on the ceiling or even ceiling fans should be disassembled and set aside so they don’t also get inadvertently painted on. Make sure no kids are around who may get shocked by the exposed wiring (or better yet, switch off the power to any room you’re painting where outlets covers are removed).


It’s also best to vacuum all carpets and remove as much dust and dust particles from the area you’re painting in. All that dust can catch splatters of paint that are much harder to clean up after than if you spill some paint on a clean, dry surface. Use professional painter’s or masking tape on all the edges, trims and baseboards. But be sure not to over-tape as well. Make sure that any surface your painting isn’t even the tiniest bit covered up by the tape you’re using to protect other surfaces, or that old paint job will peek out from the areas where you put too much tape on.


What should be removed from rooms to be painted

Before you even begin to paint a room, you may not realize that the furniture is not the only thing to go prior to you starting. Remove all clothing from closets and any storage bins that are staying in the room you’re painting. Any items in wall niches or wall art should be stored and protected either with bubble wrap or crumpled-up newspaper. Any glassware or precious items might need to be kept off site and returned after all the painting is done to reduce the risk of any accidents that could result in some type of damage to them. Nothing is worse than removing that expensive vase out of your parlor and placing it on the front lawn only to have it knocked over and broken by your breakfast table as you pull out of your kitchen.


Also, any appliances or items like blenders, toasters, televisions or computers should be removed to prevent any paint from dripping on them as well. Remove all dishes from kitchen cabinets and items from underneath the sink. Remove anything you don’t want covered in paint splatter from every room, drawer and area.