In a friendly email, she asked, "Camera tricks aside, how do you keep your white walls white?"
It's a fair question that deserves an answer, because, looking in, one may wonder whether these walls are ever smudged, nicked, or smeared (I get that. A lens doesn't pick up every detail the eyes might). But not to worry (or wonder), with three boys and a dog, our walls have great opportunity for all that.
If there are tricks to be had in keeping white walls white, I'd say they're in the paint itself, and in a good, wet sponge. While some tricks surely are tricky, thankfully, these are easy enough for the lot of us.
Probably the best tack is to incorporate the keeping of the walls into your cleaning routine. Let's not let that sound too big or scary. The place above the hall entrance that turns dingy because it's the precise place where boys like to jump and tap before entering the hall (tell me, all mothers of boys, is this a universal thing?), is the same place where I stop with the wet sponge in hand after leaving a clean bathroom on Thursday mornings. It takes mere seconds to tend. The stair hall and the wall around the entry door are the other two main places in our house where grime can gather. When it looks like it needs a once-over, I'll spend time there with my trusty sponge or damp cleaning cloth.
This all happens because of the paint, of course. On trim and wood walls I prefer the easy wipeability of a semi-gloss sheen. We have Sherwin Williams semi-gloss in Pure White on our walls - a clear, crisp white that's warm without looking old or dingy - a choice I'd definitely make again. For sheetrock walls, I usually prefer a satin or eggshell sheen.
So there you have it: Vacuum the rugs, sweep the floors, clean the bath, wipe the walls - and when they really need it, a fresh coat of paint always does the trick.
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