Preventative maintenance and simple cleaning methods can keep your freshly painted walls lasting for quite some time. Whether your walls are painted with latex paint or oil based paint it is important to clean your walls every so often to extend the life of your paint. Preventative maintenance is one of the most important factors in keeping walls looking fresh over time. Before you paint your walls make sure that the walls are free of dust, grease, fingerprints and grime. The best method for removing dust from a wall is by using a vacuum with a soft bristle attachment. If you do not have a vacuum with a soft bristle attachment another method is to go over the walls with a cloth covered broom or a mop. If you use a mop make sure the mop is not too wet as this can cause problems in the future. For grease and other grime use a degreaser from your local hardware store. If your walls are already painted and you want to clean them you first must determine if your walls are painted with oil based or latex based paint. To determine this take a small drop of rubbing alcohol and apply it to a clean rag. Rub the rag on a section of the wall in a small circular motion. When you remove the rag check and see if the rag has paint on it or if it does not have paint on it. If the rag has paint then your walls are covered in latex paint if the rag has no paint then your walls are covered in oil based paint. To clean latex paint you will need warm water and a nonabrasive all-purpose cleaner. Use a clean sponge and dip it in the water, ring the water out so that the sponge is o lay slightly damp then gently rub the dirty areas. A mixture of white vinegar and water makes for a great cleaner. If your walls are painted with oil based paint you will use the same method except you will have to use a mixture of 1 teaspoon of liquid dish detergent mixed into a quart of warm water then add 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar.