How to Clean Wallpaper
Under 2 hours
Wallpaper is a popular option for bringing color, texture and patterns to a wall. As beautiful as wallpaper is, it naturally gets dusty and dirty over time. Cleaning wallpaper can be a delicate process because you must ensure the design isn’t damaged in the process. This guide will show you how to clean wallpaper.
Dust the Surface
Wallpaper is one of those decor trends that never seems to be out of style. It can add texture, color and interest to your wall. Every now and then it will need cleaning. If you still have the manufacturer's guidelines for cleaning, refer to them.
It may be that you moved into a home with existing wallpaper or you no longer have that information available. If this is the case, there are a few things to consider before cleaning wallpaper:
- Putting any pressure or water on textured wallpaper can damage the pattern.
- Fabric wallpaper can hold and trap moisture.
- Grass-cloth wallpaper can only be dusted or vacuumed. Faux grass-paper is usually vinyl. and can be wiped with a sponge and water.
- Steam cleaners can soften the adhesive.
- Strong chemical cleaners can rub off the print or cause the color to fade.
Before using any type of cleaning solution, it is important to first dust the wallpaper thoroughly.
- If you tend to react to dust and air-born allergens, consider putting on a mask before you get started.
- Wipe down the surface with a duster or a soft microfiber cloth. These materials will help brush away light dirt and dust without scratching the paper.
- Take special care along any framework and the corners, where dust tends to accumulate.
- When dusting, work slowly to limit the spreading of the dust throughout the space. Work from the top of the wall down in long-horizontal strips.
- If you have fabric wallpaper, you will want to vacuum the wall instead of dusting it.
Consider Spot Cleaning
After you’ve dusted the entire surface of your wallpaper, step back and assess the condition of the paper. If there are only a few smudges and marks, spot cleaning the wallpaper is the best option.
- Before you start to spot clean, test your cleaning method in an inconspicuous area to make sure it does not damage the surface of the wallpaper.
- Stay away from abrasive cleaners. You can make a gentle cleaning solution by adding a little bit of dish soap to warm water. Use a little of this solution at a time to scrub the wall.
- Use a lint-free cloth and gently dab the affected area. Harsh rubbing could remove the print or fade the color.
- Use the cleaning solution sparingly. Try not to saturate the wall.
If the wallpaper doesn’t hold up to the moisture of this solution, spot cleaning with a wallpaper dough is another option.
- Simply pull a bit of wallpaper dough from the container. Use your hands to roll it into a ball, much like a kneaded eraser.
- Roll the ball of dough over the area where there are dirt or fingerprints and the grime should lift away.
- When deciding cleaning textured wallpaper and surfaces with more grooves, wallpaper dough can be especially helpful.
Wash the Entire Wall
Many modern wallpapers are made of vinyl, not paper. Vinyl wallpaper holds up to moisture more easily. Learning how to clean vinyl wallpaper is easy because you can use a water and soap solution with less risk of damage.
If you are going to wipe down an entire wall, use a soft sponge wet with water and dish soap.
- Immediately follow behind it with a dry microfiber cloth so water doesn’t sit on the surface of the wallpaper.
- If the water and dish soap solution isn’t doing the trick, cleaning wallpaper with vinegar and water is another popular choice.
- Try using a half cup of vinegar for every cup of water. Dry the vinegar-and-water solution with a cloth immediately after applying it to the wall.
- Use caution when cleaning vinyl wallpaper that's textured. Heavy rubbing can smooth out the dimensional features.
Clean the Doors and Trim
Once the wallpaper is nice and clean, dirty crown molding, baseboards, doors and door trim will stand out even more. Give everything a quick wipe.
You can use the same cleaning solution you made for cleaning the walls. Follow up with a clean, dry cloth to prevent water from pooling or sitting on the paint for too long.
Consider touching up paint chips at this time. Use a small craft paint brush or sponge brush to dab one or two coats of paint on chipped areas.
Understanding how to clean wallpaper properly is the key to making sure your space is neat and tidy all year long. Clean walls can help your home look and smell fresh any time of the year. Knowing how to clean your wallpaper can also help to prevent damage and save you time and money.
Need supplies for cleaning wallpaper? Use The Home Depot Mobile App to locate products and check inventory. We’ll take you to the exact aisle and bay.
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