Fingerprints can be very difficult to completely remove from painted walls. Certain paint types, such as high gloss paints, are easier to clean than others, but no matter which type of paint you have, you want to clean the fingerprints in such a way that you do not damage the paint. As with cleaning any stain or spot, clean the fingerprints as soon as you find them and use the simplest method first, because you can always move up to more complicated cleaning methods.
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When dust and dirt combine with the skin oils in a fingerprint, both the dirt and the fingerprint become even more difficult to remove. You may not think to dust your walls since dust tends to accumulate on horizontal surfaces more easily, but vertical surfaces also need regular dusting. Keeping up with dusting your walls helps to prevent fingerprints from adhering to your walls as easily.
If you act as soon as you spot the fingerprints on your walls, you may be able to remove them with a lightly dampened soft cloth and plain water. Squeeze out as much water as possible, because water streaks are more difficult to clean from your walls than fingerprints. Also be sure to use as soft a cloth as possible, because rough fibres can scratch or wear away layers of paint, leaving a noticeable dull spot on your wall.
For older or more stubborn fingerprints, use a plain vinyl eraser. This type of eraser is very soft and non-abrasive. Most erasers of this type are white in colour, which will not leave a stain on your paint. Be careful to rub very lightly with the eraser, because even though it is gentler than many other types of erasers, you can still rub layers of paint from the wall.
Reader's Digest advises that plain white bread can remove fingerprints from walls. Gently rub the bread against the fingerprint marks until they disappear. It is an unconventional method, but the bread soaks up oils from the fingerprint and gently abrades the marks left behind.
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