Wallpaper Cleaning Methods, Part 1

wallpaper cleaning methods

Even if your home features dark wallpaper that does a fantastic job hiding dirt or stains, some basic wallpaper cleaning is necessary from time to time for the diligent homeowner. Regardless of your style or color scheme, keeping wallpaper clean and well-maintained increases its lifespan while also keeping things looking pristine in your home.

At Wallpaper Warehouse, we can help you with cleaning processes for any of our wallpaper manufacturers. There are a few different cleaning formats or materials you’ll use depending on your wallpaper type and your cleaning needs – in part one of this two-part blog, we’ll go over the materials and steps you need for a basic water-driven wallpaper cleaning.


Before you pick up a single sponge or bucket, it’s important to check your actual wallpaper to find out how “washable” it is. This information can sometimes be found on the wallpaper itself, or on online product summary tabs. Ratings for different types of wallpaper will range from “spongeable” (meaning you’re limited to dabbing fresh paste off while the paper is wet) to “highly scrubbable” (meaning you can scrub the wall fully using mild detergents with no risk of damage).

It’s important to note that this rating only factors in cleaning agents and cleaning frequency. It doesn’t speak to cleaning devices themselves – you should always be avoiding abrasive metal wires or anything else that might scratch the wallpaper.


If you determine that your wallpaper is qualified to be scrubbed with mild detergents and water based on the above factors, it’s time to get your basic materials together. These may include:

  • Bucket of clean, warm water

  • Separate bucket of water and mild detergent combination

  • Soft brush or sponge

  • Plastic cloth or sheet

  • Clean cloth for wiping down areas

  • Ladder (if wallpaper reaches above your height)

  • Small towel

Basic Steps

Once you have your materials in order, here are the basic steps you can take to wash the wallpaper:

  • Take your large plastic sheet and set it down on the floor, and/or on top of any nearby furniture that can’t easily be moved. This protects from dirt, dust or any water spills.

  • Fill one of your buckets with warm water, then add about two tablespoons of mild detergent. In some cases, your wallpaper instructions will dictate that you should only use water and avoid detergent.

  • Fill the second bucket with clean water.

  • Begin at the top corner of the wallpaper, using the soft brush first to sweep away loose dirt or cobwebs. Move downwards, going side to side.

  • After sweeping is done, dip the sponge in the detergent water. Then wring it out strongly, so it’s just slightly damp and is not dripping at all if possible.

  • If you’re concerned about damage, test the sponge on a corner or another unnoticeable area to make sure it’s safe.

  • Wipe in circular motions from side to side, starting at the top of the wall and moving down.

  • Rinse the sponge often to remove dirt and grime.

  • Moving by section, use the clean water bucket to rinse off areas you’ve already finished so there’s no excess soap.

  • Use your towel to absorb any extra water as you move along. Air drying wallpaper is not recommended.

  • Repeat until you’re done.

For more on cleaning wallpaper using water and detergent, or to learn about any of our e-commerce and discount wallpaper, speak to the pros at Wallpaper Warehouse today.

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