A new coat of paint is a quick and inexpensive way to give your home a makeover. However, you can’t just paint over dirty walls. While stripping off old emulsion may not be necessary, washing off the grease and grime is a must. Sugar soap is the go-to cleaner for the job, but what if you don’t have any? A good sugar soap alternative could save the day. Whether you’re looking for a homemade or natural product, you can find a sugar soap substitute below.
Best Sugar Soap Alternatives
1. Washing Soda
Washing soda is undeniably the best sugar soap alternative. It is a natural and environmentally friendly product, yet an aggressive cleaning agent that can wash off even the most stubborn grease and grime.
To clean the walls, mix a cup of washing soda with one litre of water and wipe the walls with a soft sponge or cloth.
Keep in mind that you should always wear rubber gloves when handling washing soda (concentrated or diluted). The product is highly alkaline, and it can burn your skin. You must also avoid mixing it with acids, so never use washing soda and white vinegar at the same time.
2. Baking Soda Paste
Baking soda is another natural alternative to sugar soap. It is not as aggressive as washing soda and is a more appropriate choice if you have young children or pets.
To remove stubborn stains, make a thick paste of baking soda and water and scrub the stains with a sponge. To clean grime and smoke off the walls, mix half a cup of baking soda with a bucket of warm water. Scrub the walls clean, then rinse with clean water to remove all baking soda residues.
Also, remember to dry the walls with a dry terry cloth towel when you’re done. This measure should be taken to avoid damaging the plaster or plasterboard.
3. White Vinegar
Vinegar is a powerful degreaser and an excellent DIY alternative to sugar soap for cleaning the kitchen walls.
You can either use diluted white vinegar (1:1 vinegar to water ratio) or mix white vinegar with baking soda for stronger action.
Wash the walls with a non-abrasive sponge, paying particular attention to the stubborn grease stains. White vinegar can also wash off dust and gunk, but it may not be the most suitable solution for removing old smoke stains.
4. Soap Flakes
Soap is a good all-round cleaner if you don’t have anything else. There are many options out there, but Castile soap flakes are perhaps the best choice if you want a vegan-friendly product.
No matter what soap flakes you use, rinse the walls thoroughly when you’re done. While soap works wonders in cleaning the walls, most soaps and detergents leave residues behind. If you want to paint over existing emulsion, this residue could prevent new paint from adhering to the surface.
A way to make sure the new emulsion will adhere properly is by priming the surface with a latex paint primer before repainting.
5. Liquid Dish Soap
Liquid dish soap is another alternative to sugar soap before painting. It works like soap flakes, but it is easier to dissolve in warm water. Like soap flakes, liquid dish soap will leave behind a patina if you don’t rinse the walls thoroughly.
We bet you’ve never thought of mayo as a cleaning agent, but the greasy goodness can actually remove some stubborn stains that are nearly impossible to remove otherwise. Crayon stains fall in this category – if you have kids, you likely know how hard it is to get rid of them.
When planning to repaint the walls, you may think the new coat of paint will cover these marks. However, regular latex paint doesn’t cover crayon marks. Even if you somehow manage to hide them, there are chances the pigments will eventually bleed through the new coat of paint, staining it.
Using mayo as a cleaner is easy. Smear some regular mayo (the low-fat variety won’t work) on the stain and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Wipe with a dry cloth. Don’t forget to wash the wall with baking soda or white vinegar to get rid of the grease before repainting.
Crayon marks aside, mayonnaise can also remove permanent marker and ink stains from walls and other surfaces, including wood.
7. Tea Tree Essential Oil
In addition to dust, grease, smoke, and writing instruments, mould can also stain your walls. Sugar soap contains harsh chemicals that generally remove mould and kill its spores, but baking soda or white vinegar may not be so aggressive.
That’s where tea tree essential oil steps in. This natural substance has antifungal and antibacterial properties, helping you get rid of the bad spores on your walls.
Mix a teaspoon of tea tree essential oil with a cup of water. Pour the mixture in a spray bottle and spot treat the mould affected areas. Leave for 10-15 minutes, then wipe away. You can now clean your walls with vinegar or baking soda.
Sugar soap is a standard cleaning agent, but many other products can clean your walls before painting. We hope this guide has helped you find the best sugar soap alternative.