Flat, ickey and grimey
June 25, 2005 2:07 PM   Subscribe

What is the best solution for cleaning flat latex paint?

I'm moving out of my apartment at the end of the month, and it's going to need to erious power cleaning. The company I lease from painted the kitchen cabinets, counterops and bathroom cabinets with white, flat latex paint. My normal, weekly cleaning routine has kept them in relatively good shape but there are still a lot of embedded grime and fingerprints.

What's the best way to clean these surfaces without taking the finish off?
posted by nathan_teske to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
The company you lease from used the cheapest of sheens avaliable. You just have to look at flat latex on the wall and it gets dirty. Sorry to so blunt. I'm a house painter by trade and strive to use eggshell (satin), low-gloss or semi-gloss when ever possible. But there might be hope in this product. Any citrus base product could be helpful really.
posted by alteredcarbon at 5:51 PM on June 25, 2005

You should see some of the paint elsewhere, like on the inside of door jams --- they used a high gloss and it looks less painted and more spread. When I moved in, I had to take a razor blade to half the cabinets and windows just to get them open The reigning philosophy seems to be, "If it looks old and warm out, give it a really shitty paint job with cheap paint".

And thanks for the product tip, but do you know of anything commercially available in a hardware store or in a Target/Walmart? I move on Wednesday so I'm in a crunch.
posted by nathan_teske at 6:30 PM on June 25, 2005

Denatured alcohol will *remove* latex paint, but if you mix just a little with some water, you can take off the grime with a thin layer of the paint. Like all the directions on carpet cleaners say, "try an inconspicuous spot first".

Seriously, as a landlord, I expect a certain amount of wear and tear -- that's normal, and accounted for in the whole concept of depreciation. If they used crap paint, it's their own fault and you *shouldn't* lose any deposit over it (but they're probably bastards, too, so clean like the wind).
posted by 5MeoCMP at 7:34 PM on June 25, 2005

My mother, empress of all clean people, was here helping my with the flat paint in my apartment that I'm moving out of and she used lysol multi-purpose cleaner in a bucket with water. Just dilute a splash. It's gentle but cuts grease. Also 409 worked well.
posted by mai at 7:42 PM on June 25, 2005

Also check the landlord tenancy act. I believe you'll find "normal wear and tear" to not be chargeable. Indeed, you'll likely find laws about how often the landlord must repaint the place.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:43 PM on June 25, 2005

Use a mild cleaning product, like pinesol, and spray on to all the dirty areas. Let it softten for 15 minutes, then gently scrub with a soft cloth or sponge. Cheap flat latex may scrub right off, especially if they didn't prep the surface underneath, and you know the answer to that, don't you. If they try to charge you, fight back. Using cheap flat latex on kithen cabinets sounds like a way to ensure that the place is dirty, and many people will let them charge.
posted by theora55 at 5:56 AM on June 26, 2005

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