Is Matte Paint Easy to Clean?

Many people opt for matte paint on their walls as it provides a modern, minimalist look. But as a homeowner, you might wonder if matte paint is easy to keep clean.

Matte paint has a flat, non-reflective finish that is known for its low durability and lack of washability. While it is not recommended for high-traffic areas, it is still possible to clean matte paint with proper care. Gentle strokes and a non-abrasive cloth are best when cleaning matte paint.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What makes matte paint difficult to clean
  • The factors that affect the ease of cleaning matte paint
  • How to clean and maintain matte paint

What Makes Matte Paint Difficult to Clean?

Matte paint is a popular choice for interior walls due to its sleek, modern look. However, it is far from being among one of the easiest paint finishes to clean and maintain. Here are some reasons why:

  • Matte paint has a low sheen, making it more prone to dirt and dust buildup.
  • It is more susceptible to staining than other paints due to its porous nature.
  • Matte paint does not have the same protective layer as glossy paint, making it more vulnerable to wear and tear over time.
  • Special cleaning products are required to properly clean matte paint without damaging the finish or causing streaks or smudges.
  • Regular cleaning is necessary to keep a matte finish looking its best, as any excess dirt and oils will start to give the surface a sheen over time.
  • Without a glossy, smooth surface to reflect light, it is more difficult to detect dirt and other unwanted particles, thus making the cleaning process far more time-consuming.
  • Certain abrasive cleaners and sponges can erode the matte paint finish, making it more difficult to maintain its cleanliness. So be mindful when choosing your cleaning products.
  • Regular cleaning products can damage the finish of matte paint, so special cleaners must be used to keep it looking its best.

5 Factors That Affect the Ease of Cleaning Matte Paint

1. Paint quality

The quality of the paint has a big impact on how difficult it is to clean. If you purchase high-quality matte paint, it will typically be easier and less time-consuming to keep clean than inferior brands.

2. Surface texture

Matte paint usually has a slightly rough surface, making cleaning difficult. Textured walls will need to be cleaned more carefully to remove dirt and debris from the grooves and recesses without damaging the paint or finish.

3. Specially formulated matte paint

Paint technology has come a long way, and recent developments have made it possible to create matte paint that is more washable than traditional varieties. This type of paint is designed to be easier to clean and maintain.

4. Type of contaminants

Some substances are easier to remove than others. If the surface is covered in dirt, it will require stronger cleaning products and more elbow grease to remove. On the other hand, fingerprints and smudges tend to be easier to clean off matte paint.

5. Age of paintwork

The age of the paintwork can also determine how difficult it is to clean. Older matte paint may have been exposed to more dirt and wear and tear over time, making them more difficult to clean. Newer matte paints may still be in good condition and easier to clean.

How Does Matte Paint’s Cleanability Compare to Other Paint Finishes?


High-gloss paint is the most robust and durable of all finishes, with a highly reflective surface that can be easily wiped down.

High-gloss paint is the optimal option for any area of the home that experiences a lot of daily wear and tear. It’s much more durable than matte and also easier to maintain.


Semi-gloss paint has a slightly lower sheen than high-gloss, but it still has a reflective property that helps to brighten up a space.

Semi-gloss paint is easier to clean than matte and is more resistant to wear and tear, but it’s still not as durable as high-gloss.


Silk paint is a must-have for anyone seeking to create an eye-catching and radiant look. It has a smooth yet velvety finish that provides a light reflection.

Because of its higher gloss level, silk paint is more durable and can withstand some amount of washing. However, silk paint is still less washable than semi-gloss or high-gloss paint, and it may not hold up well to heavy scrubbing or exposure to moisture.


Satin paint is a popular choice for those who want a washable and durable finish. Unlike matte paint, which can be difficult to clean without leaving marks, satin paint has a smooth mid-sheen finish that is easy to wipe down with a damp cloth.

Although satin paint can withstand cleaning, a light hand is still needed to ensure that it is not damaged.


Eggshell paint has an eggshell-like texture, with a slightly higher sheen than matte. Eggshell paint has mid-level washability, so it can withstand light scrubbing without damaging the finish. It is more washable than matte paint, but it still requires gentle cleaning to prevent damage.


Flat has a completely non-reflective finish and is a great choice for creating a soft and subtle look. This type of paint is often the most difficult to clean, as it does not have any gloss and has a porous surface that can be easily damaged.

Just like matte paint, flat paint requires more attention and cleaning products to remove dirt, dust, and other debris.

How to Clean and Maintain Matte Paint

Many people opt for matte paint on their walls to provide a modern, minimalist look. With regular cleaning and maintenance, you can keep your matte paint interior walls looking fresh and new.

Regular cleaning 

Regular cleaning is the most important step in maintaining matte paint on your walls. Dust particles can stick to the flat surface of matte paint more easily than glossy surfaces, so if you don’t take care of it regularly, dust buildup can make your walls look dull over time.

Avoid water at all costs

Matte paint is highly vulnerable to water damage. If you’re cleaning your walls with a damp cloth or sponge, ensure that the cloth isn’t too wet, as this can cause water spots on the surface.

Use mild cleaners and non-abrasive sponges

It is important to use mild cleaners and non-abrasive sponges when cleaning matte paint. Abrasive cleaners or scrubbing with a rough sponge can cause damage to the finish of your walls and make them harder to clean. Mild detergents are effective at getting rid of dirt without damaging the paint.

Gentle motions

When wiping down the walls, use gentle circular motions. This will help avoid scratches on the surface that can be difficult to repair.

Spot cleaning 

In addition to regular cleaning, spot cleaning is essential when maintaining your matte paint interior walls.

Spot cleaning involves dealing with any spills or stains on the wall as soon as they occur. If left untreated, these spots may become permanent fixtures on your wall.

To handle one-off spot-cleaning tasks, use a gentle detergent mixed with warm water on a soft cloth or sponge. Never use abrasive materials such as scouring pads or steel wool, as this could damage the surface of the wall irreparably.    

Regular maintenance

In addition to regular cleaning, you should also do some routine maintenance on your matte-painted walls. This includes checking for chipping or scratches and touching the paint if necessary.

It is especially important to keep an eye out for chips or scratches. If you notice any damage, use matte touch-up paint to restore the wall to its original condition.

Apply a protectant

To help protect your matte walls from dirt and grime, it is a good idea to periodically apply a protectant. These can be purchased at most hardware stores and applied according to the instructions on the label.

Protectants create an invisible barrier over the wall which prevents dust, dirt, and other particles from sticking to the surface of your walls.

Joshua Milton

I want to share everything I know about home improvement in order to help you. Whether you're a home enthusiast or an industry professional, I have the information that you need.

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