How to Clean Wallpaper: Ultimate Guide


Wallpaper can add a touch of elegance and personality to any room, but it requires regular maintenance to keep it looking its best. Dust, dirt, smudges, and stains can accumulate over time, making your wallpaper look dull and worn. This ultimate guide will walk you through the steps to clean different types of wallpaper effectively and safely.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Wallpaper

Step 1: Remove Surface Dust

Tools Needed:

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Vacuum cleaner with a wall brush extension


  1. Dust Regularly: Use a microfiber cloth to dust your wallpaper at least once every two months. For hard-to-reach areas, attach the cloth to a long-handled sweeper.
  2. Vacuum: Alternatively, you can vacuum the walls using a wall brush extension. Start at the ceiling and work your way down in long, smooth lines. Ensure the vacuum head does not have bristles to avoid scouring the wall.

Step 2: Deep Clean (Vinyl or Fiberglass Wallpaper Only)

Tools Needed:

  • Bucket
  • Mild dish soap or castile soap
  • Soft, non-abrasive sponge


  1. Prepare Cleaning Solution: Mix 1 gallon of water with ¼ cup of mild dish soap in a bucket.
  2. Clean the Wallpaper: Dip a soft sponge into the soapy water, wring it out until damp, and wipe down the wallpaper. For kitchen wallpapers, this mixture should cut through most grease stains.
  3. Dry the Walls: Allow the walls to air-dry or hand dry with a towel.

Step 3: Remove Smudge Marks and Stains

Tools Needed:

  • Gum eraser or white bread
  • Q-tip
  • Bleach or white vinegar solution
  • Soft sponge or cotton pad


  1. Identify the Stain: Determine the type of stain to choose the appropriate removal method.
  2. Surface Discoloration: For small areas of surface discoloration from pencil or dirty handprints on vinyl wallpaper, use a gum eraser or a slice of white bread. Rub lightly over the mark until it is gone.
  3. Water and Grease Stains: For stubborn water stains or large grease stains, use a bleach or white vinegar solution. Mix ¼ cup of bleach with 1 cup of water. Test the solution on a small, inconspicuous spot first. If effective, dab the solution onto the stain with a sponge, let sit for five minutes, then wipe clean with a damp sponge and dry with a towel.

Special Considerations for Different Wallpaper Types

Vinyl Wallpaper

  • Durability: Vinyl wallpaper is durable and can handle a deeper clean with non-abrasive chemicals and soft rags or sponges.
  • Cleaning Solution: Use a mixture of mild dish soap and water for regular cleaning.

Fiberglass Wallpaper

  • Stain Removal: For dirt or grease stains, use ½ cup of white vinegar mixed with 1 cup of water. Sponge the solution onto the stained area, buff in the same direction as the wallpaper pattern, and wipe with a clean sponge.

Fabric and Natural Fiber Wallpapers

  • Professional Help: For deeper stains, contact the manufacturer or a professional cleaner to avoid damaging the wallpaper.

Infographic: How to Clean Wallpaper

Infographic: How to Clean Wallpaper

Final Thoughts

Regular maintenance and proper cleaning techniques can keep your wallpaper looking fresh and vibrant for years. Always start by dusting the wallpaper before applying any cleaning solutions, and test any new cleaning method on a small, hidden area first. For more detailed instructions and tips, refer to the full articles on Bob Vila, Ultimate Handyman, MyDomaine, Home Made Simple, and Fantastic Cleaners.

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