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Cleaning Wallpaper // Easy How-To Clean Wallpaper Guide

Are you wondering how to clean modern wallpaper? Does your wallpaper look dull and like it needs a little freshen up? Daily life can build up a residue on a wallpaper, leaving it looking a little tired and in need of some TLC.  So whether your wallpaper needs a light spring clean or maybe you have a particular stubborn stain that needs cleaning off your wallpaper, it is possible to clean wallpaper and give it a new lease of life.  Our easy How-To Clean Wallpaper Guide will take you through all the steps needed to rejuvenate your wallpaper back to glory.  

From wallpaper needing a little spruce up through to wallpapers needing a deeper clean, follow these simple steps to steer you through the cleaning process and back to bright vibrant wallpaper!


Is it OK to clean wallpaper ?

Yes! Most modern wallpapers are made to be resistant and fit into our daily lives – meaning they are cleanable. However, it is important that you determine your wallpaper material type to be able to follow the correct cleaning process. We always recommend you do a patch test before cleaning  wallpaper. 

The majority of modern wallpapers are made of a non woven material which combines durability and strength. These can either have a matt finish or are coated giving them a subtle sheen.  These wallpapers are wipe clean meaning wallpaper cleaning is an easy task!  FEATHR non woven wallpapers are breathable yet durable, and spongeable for easy cleaning! 

If your wallpaper has a reflective look, it is either a metallic wallpaper or a vinyl finish wallpaper.  These wallpapers that look glossy tend to be heavier duty washable wallpapers which are more resistant to water so are super easy to clean. 

Not sure on your wallpaper type?  Click here for the FEATHR guide to Wallpaper Materials. 


How to clean wallpaper – before you start.

Different rooms within your home will be susceptible to different blemishes.  For example, kitchen wallpaper is more prone to food splatter and grease marks, while a hallway wallpaper might become scuffed with marks from shoes. 

However, the first part of the cleaning wallpaper process is to always start by removing dust from your wallpaper, then you can tackle more complicated stains that need a little more elbow grease.



What tools will I need when cleaning wallpaper?

This of course depends on the task in hand.  Does your wallpaper need a light spring clean to remove dust or do you have specific stains that need removing from your wallpaper? 

The key to success in each case is having all the tools and utensils to hand before you start.  

  • Dusting cloth and long handled brush
  • Brush attachment on vacuum cleaner – make sure it’s clean! 
  • Ladder
  • Soft sponge (that is non abrasive) – dishwashing soap – warm water 
  • Soft towel for drying
  • Wallpaper dough


Step 1 – Remove dust from your walls before washing wallpaper.

When you are cleaning your wallpaper , always work methodically! Divide up the wall space into segments so you can easily keep track of where you have already cleaned – for example, use features like window, plug sockets and doorways to help you divide up the space as you clean your wallpaper. Work from top to bottom to make sure you cover all your wallpaper – use your ladder if needed to get to those hard to reach areas.  

Removing dust with a cloth and broom – you can use a soft dusting cloth on the end of a broom to clean wallpaper.  Use a microfiber cloth attached to the brush head and gently sweep from left to right until all the wallpaper has been covered. If the broom is not long enough for those hard to reach areas, use a ladder to give you extra reach.  If your cloth becomes too dusty, either shake it out or replace it with a clean cloth. 

Removing dust with a vacuum – using the brush attachment and the telescopic arm of your vacuum cleaner is a quick and efficient way to clean wallpaper. Do make sure your vacuum attachment is clean before you start, and remove any dust or cobweb build up on the brush head as you are cleaning wallpaper. Gently sweep the vacuum head across your wallpaper, being careful that you don’t press too hard. 

TOP TIP – Always pay special attention to the lower portion of your wallpaper, nearer to the floor, as this is where more household dust will accumulate.  As you are wallpaper cleaning, why not give your skirtings and moldings a light clean too as they are notorious areas for catching dust and dirt!


How often should I clean wallpaper to keep it dust free?

This really depends on your home ! For a general spruce up we suggest a light dusting once a month to prevent dust from building up on top of your wallpaper.  This is especially the case in and around high traffic areas – meaning the rooms which get the most use within your home. These spaces may need attention more frequently to guarantee keeping your wallpaper clean and looking fabulous! 

Also be aware of special cases like a room with an open fire that may produce lots of dust in the winter, or if you have been renovating an area in your home and created lots of building dust which has settled around the house. This may mean your need to clean your wallpaper throughout your home. Bathroom wallpaper may also need special attention as it is susceptible to becoming dusty due the humidity in the air. To find out more on how to wallpaper bathrooms, read our Bathroom Wallpaper Guide.


Step 2 – Washing wallpaper

Having dusted your wallpaper, you still feel it needs further cleaning, it is time to wash your wallpaper.  However, this part of the wallpaper cleaning process depends on your wallpaper type. 

We strongly recommend you do a patch test before you start cleaning wallpaper.  Choose an area in your room that is out of the eyeline (perhaps behind a piece of furniture)  and conduct a patch test.  Leave for 24 hours to allow the wallpaper to dry. 

Cleaning non woven wallpaper – these wallpapers are spongeable, meaning you can wipe them clean.  Dampen a non abrasive soft sponge or cloth and squeeze it out until it is almost dry. Gently wipe clean the wallpaper in smooth, downward strokes.  Be especially careful to rub lightly around the wallpaper joints.  Be careful not to overly wet the wallpaper and gently towel dry after.  

Washing metallic or vinyl wallpaper  – these are washable wallpapers meaning they are more resistant to water.  Make a solution of water mixed with a very small amount of dishwashing detergent and use a soft sponge or cloth to wash wallpaper. Make sure the sponge is not overly wet. Although these wallpapers are most resistant, avoid scrubbing with anything abrasive or with coarse bristle brushes. 

When washing wallpaper, always work in a methodical fashion as you did when you dusted your wallpaper. Start at the top of your wall and wipe in a gentle down motion, working down your wall. This helps you catch any drips as you work. Regularly change both the water in your bucket and your cloth.


How to clean wallpaper with stains & marks

Sometimes, life throws a little curve ball at us – or at our walls! Whether it be a glass of wine knocked over that splashes onto your wall or a trail of fingerprints that have built up from the bustle of family life, there are techniques you can use to remove stains these from your wallpaper. 

If you have both dusted and wiped/washed the area but the mark won’t budge, you can use a wallpaper dough which can be easily found in home improvement stores.  To spot clean an area, take a small handful of the dough, shape it into a ball and roll it across the wallpaper to lift away the dirt. When the dough becomes dirty, remodel it in your hand to create a ball with a clean surface and start the process again. As always, do a patch test on a hidden area first.


How can I protect my wallpaper?

As we have seen, all types of FEATHR wallpaper can be easily cleaned.  However,  if you want to give your wallpaper an extra layer of protection, we suggest adding a layer of decorators varnish on top of your wallpaper for extra resistance. This clear finishing layer is easily applied to your wallpaper and will protect your wallpaper from any potential scuffs, finger marks and stains.

This works especially well in areas such as a kitchen where grease spots and food splatter are a possibility! To find out more, read our Kitchen Wallpaper Guide.


Everything you need to know about cleaning wallpaper

Cleaning modern wallpaper to keep it looking fresh and vibrant is an easy task.  Once you have identified your wallpaper type, the process of dusting and cleaning wallpaper can easily revive your walls back to glory.

Whether you clean your wallpaper as part of your cleaning routine, or just when a stain makes it necessary, the end result you get from washing wallpaper is worth the elbow grease!


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