Unless you like textured walls, don't paint over dust. Wash the walls with trisodium phosphate (TSP) or a mild cleaner, like Jasco's TSP No-Rinse Substitute. For smoke-stained walls, Toto uses a 50/50 solution of bleach and water. To clean a wall, use two buckets. Load up your rag or sponge from your cleaning-solution bucket, and scrub. Before redipping, rinse the sponge in a second bucket filled with clean water.
A number of factors help determine when you should paint your home’s exterior. These include your local climate and weather conditions, the age of your home, and the type of siding used. A high-quality finish in ideal conditions could last 10 years. But if your home takes a beating from the elements, you may need to repaint as often as every three years. Most homes can be on a 5-8 year interval. If you’re not sure if your house is due for a refresher, watch out for signs of deteriorating paint, such as fading and chipping.