I'm going out on a limb here and say that in most cases--if you have a normal house, normal rooms--you do not need to scrub with TSP when preparing to paint.
Lightly washing with TSP is always preferable to not lightly washing with TSP. Simply put, cleaner is always better. But if a full wash-down is preventing you from tackling the painting, then I believe it's possible to skip the wash, in most cases.
How to Determine If You Can Skip the WashAt what level of uncleanliness can paint adhere properly? Today's paints have greater tolerance levels for sticking to surfaces that are less than perfectly clean. Besides, what does perfectly clean entail? If you clean interior walls with TSP but aren't able to paint for two weeks, I guarantee that your walls have already begun to accumulate dust; it happens that fast.
Take a dry white-colored cloth (cloth, not paper towel) and run it across the wall. Run it the entire length of a wall. If you can turn the cloth over and the color ranges from white to light-gray, you can skip the wash.
I emphasize that you should run it the length of the wall (at least 15 feet) as a control factor. For instance, even if you have an extremely dirty wall, running the cloth just a foot or two may not produce any color on the cloth, leading you to believe that the wall is clean enough.
Interior Painting Prep, Minus the TSPIf you're going to skip the TSP cleaning, then at least do the following:
- Remove the Big Stuff: Knock down the "dust bunnies" and cobwebs with a broom or vacuum.
- Trim and Baseboards: Use a lightly water-moistened cloth and run it across the tops of door and window trim and baseboards. These places will have significant amounts of dust. Cleaning them will help the painter's tape stick.
- Vacuum: With the bristle attachment on a home or shop vacuum, clean floor areas near the walls.
When You Need TSPYou should definitely keep TSP on hand as an addition to your collection of essential painting supplies. Lots of homeowners use TSP for
I would use TSP in the following instances:
- In kitchen areas that have accumulated grease.
- In bathroom areas that have soap scum.
- In areas that receive a lot of skin contact (near door handles; door jambs; etc.)
- In rooms with unusual amounts of non water-soluble markings (for instance, Crayons in a kid's room).
- On walls, above heating registers.