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The Ultimate Wallpaper Cleaning Guide

We know how much of an investment it is to not only choose the right wallpaper for your home, but also to put it on the walls and make sure everything looks perfect. It’s not a process that can be rushed, and you want to be able to enjoy it every time you see it when you enter the room. That’s why you also need to know how to clean wallpaper to keep it looking its best at all times.

Wear and tear is the biggest risk to your wallpaper, with stains and rips being two of the most common things to take care of. The good news is these, and other risks, can be taken care of relatively easily – you just need a little preparation and consistency.

How To Clean Wallpaper

So, what do you need to know and do to clean wallpaper?

It all depends on the wallpaper you have. Different textures and colours will require slightly different cleaning methods and equipment to make sure you don’t damage anything and get the effect you want.

You don’t want to cause the colour to fade, to scrub away the effect or to cause any damage that means you have to repair or replace the wallpaper. To avoid this, make sure you know the kind of wallpaper you have and what actually needs to be done – and this is what our team is here to help you with.

Why Does Wallpaper Need To Be Cleaned?

You might be wondering why you should even bother with cleaning your wallpaper, but as with everything in your home, it can attract dust, dirt and other stains as you go through your daily life.

Dust is the most common thing you need to clean your wallpaper from, but first from shoes or clothes as you make contact with the walls can also be something to keep an eye on, too. Other stains, such as food, paint or anything else that can splatter should also be taken into consideration.

Even the most careful of us make a mess at times, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be cleaned off like it never happened.

What About Wipe Clean Wallpaper?

Wipe clean wallpaper, sometimes known as washable or wipeable wallpaper, is a space type of wallpaper that is designed to be easy to clean. The same caveats apply to this type as does others – you need the right products to make sure it’s cleaned properly, but the surface has been treated in a different way to make this task easier.

With wipe clean wallpaper, you just need a very slightly damp cloth to remove most stains by wiping the surface. It doesn’t take much effort or force – especially if you catch the stain quickly – but even with more stubborn stains, you can be sure that there’s less risk of damage or colour fade.

This is achieved by a high-gloss finish, which is only available on some styles as not everyone wants this finish. If you find a colour or design you like, and the finish works with your style, it’s definitely worth considering.

What Do You Need To Clean Wallpaper?

Nce you know the kind of wallpaper you have, and the stains you want to clean, you can get things ready. You don’t need anything in the way of specialist equipment – most of what you need can be found in your home. You may want to think about keeping some of the things you’ll use separate and just for walls to make sure dirt isn’t carried from other tasks, though.

To clean wallpaper, you’ll need:

  • A duster or vacuum
  • Bucket or basin
  • Warm water
  • Dishwater liquid
  • Sponge
  • Soft cloth
  • Towel

How To Clean Stains Off Wallpaper

Follow these simple steps to clean stains off wallpaper and keep your walls looking fresh and bright.

1 – Dust The Wallpaper

The first step in cleaning wallpaper stains is dusting. This can be done by hand with a duster or with the brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner.

Start from the top of the wall and work your way to the bottom, as dust will fall when displaced and if you start lower and work up, you may leave dust on areas you’ve already covered.

Don’t apply too much pressure. When done regularly (once or twice a month), you won’t meet any resistance and will see an improvement immediately. Too much force could lead to damaging the wallpaper or altering it’s texture.

2 – Fill A Basin Or Bucket With Warm, Soapy Water

While in many cases, the dusting will be all you need to do, if you see stains that haven’t been cleaned off, you’ll need some warm, soapy water to tackle them.

You’ll also want a second container of just warm water, and both a sponge and soft cloth – or two soft cloths – for the cleaning. If this is the first time you’ve cleaned this particular piece or type of wallpaper, make sure you’ve checked what type it is and how it will react to water. If needed, find a small area to test it on, whether that’s in a corner or behind furniture.

3 – Gently Wipe The Surface Of The Wallpaper

Once you know how the wallpaper will react to water, use the sponge or one of the cloths to wipe the stains. Again, don’t use too much pressure here or you might damage the wallpaper.

It’s important to make sure that while damp, the sponge or cloth is wrung of as much excess water as possible. You don’t want water to be absorbed by the wallpaper – just enough moisture and soap to remove the stain.

After cleaning with the soapy water, use another cloth, also wrung out, to wipe over the area again and remove any remaining soapy suds and prevent them from drying into the wallpaper.

4 – Dry The Wallpaper

One the stains have been cleaned off, use the towel to dry any remaining moisture and prevent it from being absorbed by the wallpaper.

Use a dabbing technique for this. It’s unlikely you’ll have cleaned large surfaces of the wallpaper at once, so you can dab the towel where you’ve cleaned as needed without worrying about covering the whole surface.

How To Clean White Wallpaper

Over time, your wallpaper will lose colour. This is natural as it ages. From excess moisture to oxidation and even direct sunlight, there are plenty of factors involved that can alter the colour of any piece of wallpaper.

That doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause, though. You can inject some life back into your wallpaper with right help, even removing some of the yellow colour that may creep into white or bright wallpaper over the years.

With the method above, if you find areas that have faded over time, you can always try a mixture of baking soda and water, bleach and water or vinegar and water to restore it – but not at the same time!

Apply to small areas at a time and leave for at least 30 minutes after drying to compare the results. Each type of wallpaper material will react differently to the mixtures, and you can adjust the strength of each solution as needed if you find one that works.

How To Repair Wallpaper Damage

Over time, you might find your wallpaper suffers some wear and tear, but don’t worry – there are ways to fix this. Whether from daily life or from overzealous cleaning, we’re going to show you how to repair wallpaper damage so you don’t even notice the difference.

This is going to take time and you need to go slow and get things right, but it is possible. It’s why we advise that when you buy wallpaper, you have some leftover to account for mistakes and repairs needed in the future.

Worn Edges

Worn edges on your wallpaper are most common in areas closer to the floor, where there can be contact from any number of items. Shoes brushing just above the skirting boards, furniture being moved into place, bags, suitcases and other items scraping along the wall – all of this and more can start to wear down and even rip at wallpaper.

While you can sometimes cover these areas, or hold to the idea people might not notice them as much, as time goes on the wear will get worse and you should look to replace the affected areas – or find ways to stop any contact with the wallpaper, whether other decorations or furniture to help you keep your distance.

Torn And Ripped Wallpaper

A more obvious sign of wallpaper damage are rips and tears. This comes from harder, sharper contacts than most scrapes, with pointed edges or excessive force often being the cause.

Tears and rips are not always even, and if they cross to different pieces of paper, it will mean a much bigger repair job than if you can stop yourself from causing more damage. Any peeling edges or little cuts run the risk of being made worse.

Large rips and tears can cause bigger problems for patterned wallpaper especially, with extra care needed to match the patterns in a section you need to replace.

What Do You Need To Repair Wallpaper Damage?

Depending on the wallpaper damage you want to repair, you’ll need different tools to complete the job. From the list below, you might not need every tool but having them at hand will make things easier for you should you discover something that you didn’t expect.

You will need:

  • A sharp knife
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Scraper
  • Wallpaper paste or glue
  • Spare wallpaper

How To Repair Wallpaper Damage

Repairing wallpaper damage is mostly down through replacing the damaged parts with some of your spare paper. You need to be careful and take precise measurements, but it can be simple to do if you follow the below steps.

1 – Identify The Damage

Once you’ve identified the area – or areas – that have been damaged, you can gather the tools and materials you need to repair wallpaper damage and make it look like new. Have a worktable with all the equipment and supplies you need to make it easier to complete.

2 – Measure And Align The Replacement Patch

Work out how big an area is damaged and needs to be replaced – but add extra to give yourself room to work with.

At this stage, you need to align any patterns or textures that your wallpaper has. The goal is for a seamless replacement, and if you rush this step, it will be obvious that there’s been a mismatch.

Measure the area on the wall and the same area on the replacement material before any cutting takes place.

3 – Cut And Remove The Damaged Section

Using a cutting knife, cut away the damaged section you’ve measured, using a scraper or other tool to help pry it from the wall if needed. Clean the exposed area and surrounding wallpaper for any dust or debris that has come loose.

4 – Replace With The New Piece Of Wallpaper

Take the replacement piece of wallpaper you cut and measured previously and do one last check to make sure it fits. Once you’re satisfied, apply the past as you would normally and attach the wallpaper, using a scraper or roller to squeeze air bubbles and excess paste without moving the paper.

Wipe off any excess and leave to dry.

Want To Know More About Cleaning Wallpaper?

Wallpaper can transform any room in your home, whether it’s on a single wall as a feature or part of a larger theme and design. Keeping it in the best condition doesn’t have to be a large chore if you spend a little time regularly keeping on top of the cleaning.
Our team at I Want Wallpaper are happy to help any questions you have on how to clean wallpaper, so feel free to get in touch with us at any time.

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