Cleaning Wallpaper™

After installing wallpaper, you can get the best of it by keeping it well-maintained. Making sure that your wallpaper is taken care of helps in retaining its colors and lengthens its life. Taking care of your wallpaper, needless to say, entails cleaning it every once in a while.

Most wallpaper manufacturers include instructions on how to clean wallpaper; they label their products as either “washable” or “scrubbable.” While most of today’s wallpapers are made of coated vinyl --- which makes cleaning a tad easier --- some wallpapers still require meticulous cleaning measures to ensure optimum preservation of its fabrics. The cleaning process also varies, depending on whatever stains you have on your wallpaper. If you see any spot or stain, it is best that you clean them immediately before the stain settles deep into the fabric.

If it is on kitchen wallpaper or laundry room wallpaper border, you can wipe it off immediately with a wet cloth. Wallpapers installed in high-activity and high-moisture rooms like these are more prone to stains. Majority of kitchen wallpaper, laundry room wallpaper border, and those used for children’s rooms are made of vinyl, which are more resistant to water and stains, and a lot durable than those made of paper.

It is important to remember that cleaning vinyl-based wallpaper is different from cleaning a paper-based one.
As mentioned earlier, manufacturers have a manual on how to clean wallpaper, but here are some general guidelines in keeping wallpaper spic-and-span:

For simple dust and dirt:

1. Line the floor with plastic to prevent any damage from excess water and spillage;
2. Whisk away any solid particles of dust and dirt with a brush;
3. Add a mild detergent to a bucket 2/3 full of water, enough to produce some bubbles;
4. With a sponge, dip and then squeeze out excess water and wipe the wall from top to bottom;
5. Rinse sponge constantly and repeat step 4 until the whole wall is covered;
6. With a dry towel, wipe excess moisture from the wall.

The same process can be done on kitchen wallpaper, laundry room wallpaper border, and other vinyl-based wallpaper. For stubborn stains, here’s what you need to do:

For crayons:

1. Rub Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on the stained area, that alone is enough to remove any crayon spot;
2. If there is no Mr. Clean Magic Eraser around, wet a damp cloth with a mild detergent (do not use strong abrasives as they can damage the wallpaper’s fabric and colors);
3. Towel the wall dry.

For marker stains:

If the marker is washable and the stain is on vinyl-based wallpaper, like kitchen wallpaper or laundry room wallpaper border, a simple buff with a wet towel can remove the stain, otherwise, you need to do the following:

1. Clean the spot with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser;
2. If Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is not available, apply a paste made of water and baking soda to the stain and to the towel;
3. Rub the stained area GENTLY;
4. If the baking soda paste fails; apply alcohol and rub gently (Test alcohol on a spare strip of wallpaper first; alcohol can cause discoloration and major damage to most wallpapers).

Stains that have already embedded themselves into the wallpaper are hard to remove and might require the use of solvents. For your protection, always wear gloves to protect your hands.

by Tammy Billings

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