Interior Painting Best Practices

Interior painting best practices

Interior painting best practices

When painting walls or ceilings, it’s always important to clean the surface before applying the new coating. Speed up this prep work by using a Swiffer® to quickly wipe things down. Don’t have a Swiffer? Then wrap a clean, moistened rag around a mop head to minimize your effort.

Plastic wrap is a great all-purpose painting companion. Among other uses, it’s the best way to protect lighting fixtures from spatter, especially when painting the ceiling overhead. Just wrap your fixtures in plastic, press the plastic tight, and you won’t have to worry at all about stray paint flecks and droplets. (Tip: Top quality 100% acrylic latex paint spatters less than ordinary paint.)

Don’t have enough drop cloths to cover heavy furniture? You can often purpose plastic wrap for this job, too. Press the plastic wrap down around the edges and your furniture will be safe from paint spatter. To protect sofas and other oversized items, cut apart large plastic trash bags instead and tape them firmly in place. But for safety reasons, never use slippery plastic to protect floors.

When you start to paint, keep paint cans, stirrers, brushes, and similar items in an empty cardboard water or soft drink box. This is a great way to contain drips.

Also, as you apply your paint, keep an old, wet dishcloth or moistened paper towels handy. Either can be used to quickly pick up errant droplets before they dry and become more difficult (or impossible) to remove.

Aluminum foil can be used to keep paintbrushes or rollers from drying out when you take a break from your painting. Just wrap the applicators tightly in the foil to keep air out, which can begin the drying process. They’ll be good to go when you get back to work.

During very short breaks or interruptions, you can place brushes or rollers inside a Ziploc® bag as insurance against accidents, especially if children or family pets are about.

There’s also a role for a lint roller when reusing a roller cover from the day before or from a previous project: Run it along the nap to remove loose threads and “fuzzies” that could otherwise embed in the fresh paint or simply make application more difficult.

If you’re one of the adventurous souls who create their own paint color by combining two or more leftover paints, then be wise and use a measuring spoon or measuring cup when mixing the hues together. And write down your “custom” formula on a piece of masking tape placed right on the side of your paint container. That way, you’ll be able to produce a close match if you ever need more.

Assuming that you have only a small amount of leftover paint when your project is completed, transfer it to a screw-top jar for storage, sandwiching a layer of plastic wrap between the lid and the jar before closing it tightly. The jar will take up much less room than a standard-size paint can and you won’t have to worry that rust particles will spoil your paint.

To avoid guesswork and/or trial and error when doing future touchups, use masking tape on all paint containers to label the brand of paint you used, as well as the sheen and color, the date you applied the paint, and the rooms where you used it. While some of this information appears on the paint label, it may be obscured by paint drippings, so it’s best to be thorough.

As you can see, there are lots of helpful items in and around your kitchen that can make painting easier and trouble-free. What’s more, all of them are either very inexpensive, or free! So be smart, be resourceful, and make use of what you have when doing interior painting.

For more information on home painting, visit the Paint Quality Institute blog at, or go to its painter-friendly website at


The Paint Quality Institute was formed in 1989 to educate people on the advantages of using quality interior and exterior paints and coatings. The Paint Quality Institute's goal is to provide information on the virtues of quality paint as well as color trends and decorating with paint through a variety of vehicles, including television appearances, newspaper and magazine articles, and instructional literature. Please be sure to visit the Paint Quality Institute at PAINT QUALITY INSTITUTE and PAINTQUALITY.COM are trademarks of The Dow Chemical Company ("Dow") or an affiliated company of Dow.


Deborah Zimmer
The Paint Quality Institute℠
Dow Coating Materials
Office 215-619-1683
Cell 215-962-5551

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