Washing painted ceilings, walls, and woodwork is a big job, but it can be made easier by careful organization and proper techniques. The Soap and Detergent Association makes these suggestions:
First be sure you have the necessary equipment - pails, detergent or household cleaner, scrub brush, sponges, cloths, plastic dropcloths, a sturdy stepladder or stepstool.
Before getting under way, test the finish for washability. Choose an inconspicuous area and wash with a sudsy sponge or cloth. Fading, running, or peeling are signs that painting or wallpapering, rather than washing, may be in order. If there are no problems, it is safe to proceed.
Remove wall decorations. Move furniture away from walls. Cover items that cannot be removed from the room with plastic dropcloths.
Beginning with the ceiling, and continuing with the walls, dust away cobwebs and surface dirt. Fill one pail with a sudsy detergent solution and another with warm rinse water. Set pails on a plastic dropcloth to protect floors.
Wash and rinse ceiling in overlapping sections. To rinse, dip a sponge or cloth in clean water, wring out excess water, and wipe the section. Repeat to be sure all dirt is removed.
Wash walls from the bottom up. Rivulets of water running down on dirty sections will leave hard-to-remove streaks. Work a manageable section at a time and overlap washing and rinsing. Change to fresh suds and rinse water as often as necessary.
Finish by washing baseboards, door and window frames. For stubborn spots, use a full strength liquid or spray cleaner. Rinse well.