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Cleaning a wall using a wipe. 


Painting walls can give your room a whole new look. Here’s how to prepare a wall to deliver a smooth, professional finish.

Safety tip: Always wear the appropriate safety equipment (safety glasses, gloves and a dust mask, for example) and always follow the instructions for the product or equipment.


1Clean the walls

For a previously painted wall, wear gloves and use sugar soap wipes to clean it, looking for spots and stains to scrub away and removing dust that has settled along skirting boards. Wipe over the wall again with a clean cloth to ensure it’s dry. You can skip this cleaning step if the walls have new plasterboard or are freshly sheeted.

Tools and materials needed to prepare an interior wall for paint on a table.

2Smooth over rough patches

The next step is to scrape off any flaking paint. Position a drop sheet over the floor and against the wall. Put on your gloves, safety glasses and a dust mask, hold a paint scraper at about 45 degrees and use it to smooth over any rough patches of flaking and cracked paint.

Make sure you go over any picture hook holes, plasterboard joins and previous paint drips. You’ll need a stable ladder to reach the high spots.

A man wearing a dust mask and safety glasses smooths a wall with a paint scraper.

3Work gap filler into any cracks, chips or scratches

A fast-drying, pre-mixed filler is a good choice – it’s easy to use and you don’t have to worry about getting the consistency right.

For bigger holes, apply the filler in layers, leaving to dry after each. If you try and fill it all at once, it won’t dry evenly and could even crack as it cures. Be patient!

Fill gaps at the edges and corners of the wall with a multipurpose, flexible gap sealer. Follow with a damp cloth to wipe off any excess, while pushing the filler into the corners, aiming for a smooth finish.

A man uses Selleys Spakfilla to fill a hole in an interior wall.

4Sand and dust off walls

Let the filler dry completely. Then pop on your safety glasses and dust mask and use a hand sander with 120-grit abrasive paper to smooth all over, including around the edges.

Run your hand over the filled sections to feel for any bumps and sand until smooth and even.

Brush down the wall with a clean, soft-bristled broom to remove all the dust. Now you’re ready to undercoat or paint.

A man prepares a wall for paint with a soft-bristled broom.

5Continue onto the next step…

Follow our step-by-step instructions on how to undercoat a wall.


Photo Credit: Michelle Holden

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.