If your painted surfaces have seen better days, don’t assume they need a fresh coat. Here are fast fixes for 5 stains no roller required.

• Crayon
Then your kid, inspired, starts scribbling on your walls. To dissolve the waxy artwork in a hurry, use a citrus based cleaner like Goo Gone. Apply it with soft cloth, and once the stain disappears, wash the area with soap and water, and let dry. Then have that talk with your child about the difference between real life and make believe.

• Candle soot
These black marks can make even more or a mess when you try to scrub them off. To make light work of it: before you start, whisk off any dry, loose bits of soot with your vacuum’s dusting brush attachment; that will keep the soot from turning into a smeary mess when wet. Next, soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and lightly go over the stain in a circular motion; repeat with clean alcohol dipped pads until that stain is a flicker in your memory.

• Fingerprints
Light switches, door frames, and stairway walls are all magnets for hand smudges. To lift the prints, sprits a little of your favorite all purpose cleaner on a cloth or sponge and wipe. Don’t spray the wall directly this will make the dirt run down and create a bigger problem. To ensure that the washed area blends with the unwashed wall, go over the once-dirty spot again with a water dampened sponge, even if your cleaner says no rinsing is required.

• Scuffs and scrapes
A bump from the vacuum cleaner here, in line skates there, and soon your sufaces look like they’ve been in the ring with Pacman. If your spray cleaner and sponge fail to KO those marks, use Scotch Brite Easy Erasing Pad. Be sure to wet the pad and press only as hard as is necessary, to avoid marring the paint.

• Stickers
To unstuck, soften the adhesive with heat from a blow dryer for 10 seconds or so, then peel. Repeat if necessary. If there’s gunk left behind, saturate a cotton swab with laundry pre-wash stain remover and rub until it penetrates the residue, carefully scrape if off with a spatula. Blot with a damp cloth and allow it to dry.

Beyond Paint
For walls with special coverings, you have to be a little more careful, Here, are the best ways to clean.

• Vinyl wall covering
Wash with a sponge and all purpose spray cleaner, Solid vinyl is the sturdiest and most scrub able, but this method should be safe for any coated covering just test first in a hidden spot.

• Paper or fabric wall covering
Generally not washable, pick up an art gum or dough type eraser to gently rub out stains.

• Paneling
Try a cleaner that is specifically formulated for wood paneling. If the wood is unfinished, avoid water based products.


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