How to clean wallpaper

Discover top tips on stain removal, including cleaning wallpaper with vinegar to get rid of mould.

Updated

Chair and table against clean wallpaper

Key steps

Find the best way to clean wallpaper by following these steps:

  1. Choose the most appropriate cleaning method for your wallpaper type.
  2. Dust first.
  3. Do a patch test.
  4. Clean and dry, repeating if necessary.

As with painted walls, wallpaper can attract all manner of stains, from pen marks to greasy fingerprints. When you need to remove your toddler’s ‘artwork’ or get in the crannies of your textured wallpaper, you’ll want to know how to clean wallpaper the best way. Our tips cover grease stains and what to do if you discover mould.

If there’s a lot of mould on wallpaper, it’s best to call in the professionals to take a look at the underlying cause and to clean it.

General tips for cleaning wallpaper

Before we dive into different approaches to cleaning wallpaper, we have a few tips to share to help the whole process:

Identify the type of wallpaper. If it’s bamboo, cellulose, fabric, hybrid or removable, only remove the surface dust – don’t try cleaning with water or chemicals without the manufacturer’s advice. Vinyl and fiberglass are more durable and can be cleaned with the suggestions below.

  • Contact the manufacturer. Before trying out any chemical cleaning method on any wallpaper surface, check with the manufacturer first.
  • Use gentle cleaners and materials. Only go for non-abrasive chemicals and soft cleaning pads or sponges (without bristles or scourers).
  • Do a patch test. When trying any new cleaning approach, it’s best to test in a small, inconspicuous area first, and read the label on the product packaging.
  • Dust first. You can use a microfiber cloth to dust your wallpaper before cleaning. Start at the ceiling and work all the way down.

How to clean textured wallpaper

Knowing how to clean textured wallpaper with all its nooks and crannies can be a challenge. As embossed wallpapers are often made from fabrics, they can vary in water-resistance. It’s best to just dust, and use the non-bristled wall brush extension on your vacuum cleaner to get in the nooks.

How to clean wallpaper covered in pen stains

Felt pen, biro and ink stains might lift off easily with a simple wipe over using a damp sponge. Overlap your strokes to avoid streaks and then pat dry with a clean, lint-free cloth. You can even try lightly rubbing pencil marks with a gum eraser.

As for the best way to clean wallpaper stained by a washable marker, try adding a very small amount of mild dish soap to a bucket of water, and dampen a soft, non-abrasive sponge with it to wipe down the wallpaper, before patting dry. This approach can also remove grease stains.

How to remove grease stains from wallpaper

Grease stains can build up on wallpaper in kitchens, or in any room of the house from dirty fingers. You know how it gets there, but what about how to remove grease stains from wallpaper? Other than soapy water, you can also try applying a paste of cornflour and water to the greasy stains, leaving it to dry and then brushing it off.

How to get mould off wallpaper

When you spot the first signs of mould on wallpaper, it’s a good idea to take action quickly. Try to identify the cause of it, so that you can prevent it getting worse. Black mould is typically caused by an increase in humidity that leads to condensation. Ventilating the room by opening windows or using a dehumidifier can help.

As for how to get mould off wallpaper, this is where cleaning wallpaper with vinegar comes in. Mix some white vinegar with water and apply directly to the mould. Avoid spreading the mould by working inwards in a circular motion. Wipe with a damp, clean sponge afterwards and pat dry.

With these tips you can feel confident about freshening up your wallpaper in a safe and effective way, whether you’re dealing with grease stains, pen marks, mould or textured wallpaper. If all else fails, you can pick up tips on how to remove the wallpaper altogether!    

Originally published