Maintaining Interior Paint


Dealing with Dirt

Interior paint typically gets dirty in many situations: hand prints around switches and knobs, splashes in kitchen and bathrooms, marks on hallways and corridors, and “soot” accumulating above electric lamps and other heat sources. Removing dirt before it accumulates not only improves appearance, it reduces chances of it getting permanently embedded in the paint film. While changing color is a good reason for painting, covering over dirty paint is generally not a good reason for repainting.

  • Check for dirt periodically and assume it will be present in and near cooking areas (airborne cooking oil) and at all places at hand height.
  • Always initially clean the surface with a mild detergent using a sponge or soft cloth. Harsher cleaners should only be used when necessary, recognizing that alkaline cleaners can dull the sheen or gloss of satin, semi-gloss, and gloss products.
  • Washed surfaces should be rinsed thoroughly because residual cleaner can interfere with adhesion of paint applied later.

Treating Mildew

Watch for growth of mildew on painted surfaces that tend to be moist; this includes laundry and basement areas, bathrooms and kitchens. Mildew should be treated and removed and never simply painted over.

  • Apply a 3:1 mixture of water and household bleach to the mildewed area using a rag or sponge. Wear eye and skin protection and a respirator. With colored paints, do a test area first to be sure the bleach solution will not cause fading. Protect the floor and nearby articles.
  • Allow the mixture to remain on for 20 minutes; add more as it dries.
  • Rinse off the area thoroughly.


Sometimes painted surfaces will stick to each other, as with a door and the door jamb. This is most likely if the painted surfaces are put back into service before the paint has fully dried. Dark color paints tend to “block” more than light colors or white paints, and glossier paints block more than flat paints. Warm and damp conditions increase tendency to block, and application of pressure increases blocking.

  • Always allow ample time for paint to dry before putting the painted object back into service.
  • If blocking is observed, rub some talcum powder onto both surfaces—this will alleviate the sticking.

For further information on specific drying/cure times, contact your Diamond Vogel representative.

Download this technical bulletin as a PDF