How To Clean Wallpaper

How to clean your wallpaper and keep it looking like new.

Most wallpapers are washable, however you will need to check to see if yours is one of the washable types. If you don't know if it's washable, test an inconspicuous area of the wallpaper and see if the colors run, bleed or fade. Try a place behind a piece of furniture or near the bottom of the wall in a corner.

To keep wallpaper clean, you will need to vacuum it regularly. You don't want it to get too dirty before washing it. You'll also want to use the soft brush attachment on the vacuum cleaner to brush off heavy dust. Do this from the ceiling to the floor. Spider webs should be brushed off from floor to ceiling. If you don't have this attachment, you may also use a broom wrapped with a soft cotton or terrycloth towel. Change the towel frequently to avoid resetting the dust.

If your paper is washable, you should wash the paper with mild soapy water (using a liquid dishwashing detergent) and a sponge. Clean the paper moving the soapy sponge in a circular motion. Immediately rinse with a sponge of cool clear water.

Pat the wall dry with a clean, dry cotton or terrycloth towel to remove any moisture from the paper. If you need to rewash stains, allow the paper to dry completely before starting the procedure again.

If your wallpaper is marked 'scrubbable' you can use a foam or all purpose cleaner in the same circular motion method mentioned above. Don't forget to immediately rinse with a sponge of cool water and to pat the wall dry with a cotton cloth.

If your wallpaper is fabric it may be cleanable, but don't count on it. You'll need to test it in an inconspicuous area to see if the fabric will stain when it is wet. The best thing to do for these types of wallpapers is to vacuum frequently to get up any dust and dirt that's accumulated. If your fabric does not stain, check with the manufacturer to see what is the best type of cleanser for these types of papers.

For non-washable papers, there is a commercial wallpaper cleaner (which is similar to a putty) that can be rubbed on the paper and wiped off. Follow the directions on the package. Be sure to test in an inconspicuous place as even though the package may say it's for all wallpapers, you'd rather be safe than stuck with a mess on your walls.

If you still have some stubborn stains, here a few things you can try:

If it's an oil or crayon stain, try placing a cotton or terrycloth towel on the stain and use your iron to heat oil onto towel, repeat. If your paper is washable, try to clean the stain using the method described above.

For crayon spots, you may also try using cotton cloth moistened with denatured alcohol and wipe the spot gently.

Fingerprints may be wiped up with a gum cleaner or a commercial wallpaper cleaner.

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