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Foreign materials on surface

From the wallpaper problem solver - quick reference guide

There are many foreign materials that may be found on the decorative surface of wallcoverings. These can range from adhesive residue to food, crayon, lipstick, fly spray etc.

Many wallcoverings on the market are solid vinyl, which are designed to withstand the normal wear of day-to-day activities. However, some wallcoverings are designed solely for their aesthetic value and need to be treated accordingly.

Wallpaper problem solver - how to clean wallpaper according to wallpaper type
Cleaning durability in regard to the different wallpaper types

For this reason a consumer should be aware of the different wallcovering types and their relative durability as associated with dirt and other contaminants. Basically there are three different classifications of wallcoverings with regard to cleaning durability. They are as follows:


Washable wallcoverings are exactly that - washable. The surface of this wallcovering will withstand occasional sponging with a mild detergent and water. The vinyl coating on this type of wallcovering is not able to withstand scrubbing to remove a stain or contaminant. These types of wallcovering should be used in low traffic areas.


Scrubbable wallcoverings can withstand scrubbing with a soft brush and a prescribed detergent solution. Scrubbable wallcoverings are able to withstand more stains and dirt because of their vinyl layer. For this reason they can be used in every room of the home and most commercial locations.


Paintable wallcoverings, when painted, should be cleaned, when necessary, according to the paint manufacturer's instructions.


Spongable wallcoverings are usually delicate, and their primary purpose is to provide a decorative effect. However, they may be cleaned with a light dust, or with a dry cleaning sponge or a dry cleaning eraser, but test a small inconspicuous piece first.


If you are not sure how to clean the wallcovering, start first with cold water and then try warm soapy water and a soft sponge. Take care not to over-wet the surface of the paper.

It is important to always use the most gentle cleaning procedures that will do the job if the wallcovering needs to be cleaned. Heavy physical scrubbing and abrasive cleaners should be avoided as much as possible.

There are many commercial spot removers on the market. Some may change the texture or alter the colour slightly. In all cases, grease splatters should be removed immediately. Hot grease will penetrate even solid vinyls. On products where grease stains are noticeable, i.e. oil, crayon, lipstick etc., applying talcum powder will help absorb the grease from the surface of the wallcovering.

If this does not remove all the stain, hold a piece of brown paper over the stain and apply a warm iron - this will absorb the grease.

Wallpaper problem solver


Thank you to Aspiring Walls for providing the information for this quick reference guide.

Wallpaper problem solver topics   Ask an Expert   How to wallpaper


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