Most spots and fingerprints can be removed from painted walls with a Mr Clean Magic Eraser or a good all-purpose cleaner. But always do a test spot first and don't rub too hard or it may remove some of the paint.
When repainting remember that the higher the paint sheen the easier it is to care for. For kids' rooms, high gloss may be the best choice.
If you must wash an entire wall or ceiling to prepare it for painting or just because, use a microfiber mop or a sponge mop for the large areas and then a sponge or cloth for the corners and edges.
Avoid streaking by starting at the bottom and working upwards. Yep, seems counter intuitive, but trust me that's the only way.
Never try to spot clean a wall that has even a smidgen of grease on it, or you're in for a world of hurt.
Remove those nasty grease spatter spots from the wall behind the stove with a Dobie Pad and concentrated all-purpose cleaner or a Mr Clean Magic Eraser. For really heavy-duty grease, use Dow Bathroom Cleaner, wipe and rinse thoroughly right away. After the wall is clean, apply a generous coat of paste wax and those spots will come off with just a paper towel.
An art gum eraser will remove most spots and smudges from wallpaper. (Wallpaper is making a come back, you know!)
For grease spots on wallpaper, rub gently with cornstarch or baby powder. Brush off after an hour or so.
The author is the co-owner of one of San Francisco area's oldest and largest cleaning companies. They have compiled a multitude of housekeeping tips on their "cleaning proz" blog. To view, go to their web site, http://thecleansweep.com
and click on the blog link.
Margaret is also the author of the 1983 book, "Dirt Busters: Over 600 Practical, Down-to-Earth Tips From the Experts."