Cleaning Tips Indoors & Out

How to Clean Walls and Wallpaper

Learn how to remove smudges, smears and fingermarks from your walls with these expert tips.

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Wallpaper Cleaning Tips and Tricks
Wallpaper's bright colors and varied textures enliven any room — but that same color and texture can cause problems when it's time to clean. Protect your investment with these wallpaper cleaning tips:

  • Check manufacturer's guidelines. Because wallpapers differ in content and coating, follow the manufacturer's advice for appropriate cleaning methods.
  • Dust carefully. Use a lamb's wool duster, or tie a dry cleaning cloth over a broom to dust the walls before cleaning.
  • Older, noncoated wallpaper. Use a "dry sponge," found at the hardware store. This product lifts and removes surface dirt without moisture. Rub it lightly against the surface in long strokes to remove dirt.
  • Scrubbable or washable wallpaper. Use a natural sponge lightly dampened with a solution of warm water and a small amount of liquid dishwashing detergent. Before cleaning, test the solution in an inconspicuous corner to be sure it won't remove paper or coating. Don't scrub too hard or allow the paper to get too wet to avoid damage. Use cleaning cloths to absorb extra moisture after rinsing.
  • Fingermarks or smudges. Remove by rubbing them gently with an art gum eraser. Use a light touch to avoid damaging the area. Commercial wallpaper cleaners may also be used to lift the small stuff.
  • Cleaners to avoid. Never use abrasive cleaners — scouring powder or "soft-scrub" cleanser — to clean wallpaper. The abrasive granules which they contain can scratch the wallpaper's coating.

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Excerpted from Houseworks, by Cynthia Townley Ewer

Text Copyright © 2006, 2010, Cynthia Townley Ewer, extracts from Houseworks, reproduced with permission from Dorling Kindersley Limited

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