Although my walls were painted less than 3 years ago, they have darkened somewhat. The culprit is probably cooking and especially my spousal unit's cigarette smoke. I have not found anything that I can wash the gunk off without harming the paint. It is an acrylic satin paint.
Can anyone tell me what would actually work without harming the walls?
I would definitely test the magic eraser in a small area first--it will take paint off. Some paint finishes will show the damage more than others (I've used it on satin finish walls and it's fine as long as I'm not continually cleaning the same area), but since it will take paint off it's best to test a small area first and make sure you're OK with the result. It does clean really well!
Add dirty fuel oil heating and I use to have the same problem. The best product I found is Lestoil at about 20% and rinse and dry immediately. Don't worry if the lestoil gets really dirty, keep using it, remember you will be rinsing the residue off. Since your spouse's cigarettes are a major cause of the problem he should participate in the clean up.
LOL, good idea. I know a woman why got so tired of her husband leaving his newspaper by his chair and his dirty ashtrays out. So she bagan to pile them up on the floor on his side of the bed. He ignored them for awhile. She even said one day when she was on the toilet, with the bathroom door open, that she could see the level of the newspaper piled up even with bed. Her husband was having to crawl into the bed from the foot. He finally got the idea and learned to throw them away. Geez, the things we have to go through to have to stop husbands from being barbarians.
That's the kind of thing I used to do with my DH. Our thirty-eighth anniversary is coming up and I've had plenty of time to train him right. Letting them deal with the consequences of their actions works so much better that nagging, and this way I'm not accused of being a harpy. Instead I'm compared to Chairman Mao.
I'm going to bet that the reason you're having a problem is because the paint is acrylic rather than latex. Acrylic paint is water based...many other paints may also be water based, but acrylic is not very durable when it comes to scrubbing and chemicals. I would suggest trying a few different things in a hidden area and see how the finish responds. Don't overlook such products as Pledge, since it can clean without scrubbing and/or too harsh of chemicals. I would also try some dish soap...hand washing kind. Dish soap can go a long way, you may be surprised. Be sure to use a soft cloth...probably an old wash cloth or terrycloth towel...certainly not a scrub brush or anything like that. If neither of them work I would next try some liquid laundry detergent mixed at a low rate in some hot water. Next I'd try Murphy's Oil Soap.
Acrylic paint is meant to be cleaned up with soap and water...not mineral spirits like other paints. Being that you have a satin finish that will help some...it's better than a flat or eggshell which would scrub off the walls much more easily. If your walls have some type of faux finish on them that has not been sealed then you're best bet to preserve the finish is using just warm water...still be careful since some faux finishes will come off with just water.
I've worked with acrylic paints and faux finishes for years...and always seal them...that way they can be cleaned and scrubbed with pretty much anything.
never heard of dirt-X; I will see if it can found in this area. I have some Murphy's oil soap. The first thing I used was Lysol but I think I diluted it too much. It just a swirled mess where I tried it. Kinda moved the dirt around but didn't clean it up.