How to Clean Wallpaper

Patterned wallpaper is great at hiding dust, grime, and even stains. Because you cannot easily see dirt buildup on many wallpaper designs, you may be surprised by how dirty your wallpaper has become. Cleaning your wallpaper will leave a bright, fresh room behind, so it is well worth the effort to spruce it up a bit. Follow these tips to get rid of everyday dust or to take care of those can’t-miss spots and stains.

The follow methods are recommended for all types of wallpaper.

Removing Dirt and Dust

You Will Need:

  • Ladder
  • Soft brush
  • Mild detergent
  • Sponge
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Dry towel
  • Plastic drop cloth

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Begin by lining the floor with plastic where you’ll be working to prevent damage from excess water or spills.
  2. Use a brush to whisk away loose dirt, dust, and cobwebs.
  3. Start at the top of the wall. You’ll want to clean from side to side and from the top to bottom in sections as you work around the room.
  4. Fill the bucket half to two thirds full of warm water.
  5. Add just enough detergent to create a few bubbles when the water is agitated. Adding too much soap will cause the walls to become sticky and attract more dirt.
  6. Dip the sponge in the water and squeeze out excess water.
  7. Wipe the wall down with damp (not wet) sponge as explained in step three, rinsing sponge frequently.
  8. Use the dry towel to wipe up excess moisture as you work.

Removing Crayon


You Will Need:

The Cleaning Process:

  1. First, try rubbing crayon with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. This alone will take care of most crayon marks.
  2. If that does not work or you do not have a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, wet a soft cloth with water and a mild detergent. (Note: Do NOT use abrasive cleaners on wallpaper! Discoloration may occur.)
  3. Rub gently to remove the stain.
  4. Use the towel to dry the wall.

Removing Marker and Ink

If the marker is washable, a wet paper towel or baby wipe will remove it easily. If that doesn’t work, follow these steps.

You Will Need:

The Cleaning Process:

  1. First, try attacking the stain with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser pad.
  2. If you aren’t successful, make a smooth paste of baking soda and water.
  3. Spot test a hidden spot on the wall for color fastness.
  4. Next, apply the paste to the stain with a soft cloth, rubbing gently. (Note: Constant rubbing and moisture may damage or tear wallpaper, so use a light touch and check frequently for wear as you work).
  5. If the stain remains, you can try using rubbing alcohol. ALWAYS use it on a test spot first! Rubbing alcohol may damage or cause the color to fade on some wallpaper.
  6. Apply rubbing alcohol with a soft cloth and wipe gently as needed.

Removing Coffee, Wine, & Other Beverages

Most drink spills are easy to remove, especially if you catch them before they set. Even if the stain has dried, you should still be able to clean it up by following these directions.

You Will Need:

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Fill the bucket half full with warm water.
  2. Add just enough detergent to create a few bubbles when the water is agitated.
  3. Wet the cloth in the water and run gently on the stain.
  4. Rinse the cloth and repeat as necessary.
  5. If stain remains, dry the area thoroughly with a towel before moving on to step six.
  6. When the surface has dried, rub the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser over the stain.

Removing Grease Spots

You Will Need:

  • Mild detergent
  • Water
  • Soft cloth
  • Clothes iron
  • Brown paper bag

The Cleaning Process:

  1. If the wall paper is washable, mild soap and water should remove grease easily.
  2. For non-washable wall paper, there’s an easy way to lift grease off of wallpaper, but you’ll want to spot test it in a hidden area first to make sure that you don’t melt or damage your wallpaper.
  3. First, preheat an iron to “warm.”
  4. Next, place at least two layers of the brown paper bag against the stain.
  5. Press the warm iron over the stain through the paper bag for a few seconds, allowing the iron to warm but not scorch the bag. The grease should transfer from the wallpaper to the paper bag.
  6. Remove the iron and the paper bag from the wall.
  7. Repeat as necessary until all grease is removed.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Do NOT over-wet wallpaper. Too much water may cause it to separate from the wall.
  • Take special care to keep water from soaking into the seams of the wallpaper.
  • Do NOT use abrasive materials as they will damage the wall paper.
  • ALWAYS spot test for color fastness when cleaning wall paper, even when using soap and mild detergent.
  • Remove stains as soon as possible for best cleaning results.
  • Baby wipes will work on many wall messes – no water or detergent necessary!
  • When cleaning large portions of a wall, start at the top and work from side to side as you move down the wall.
  • Use rubber gloves to protect your hands from excess moisture.



  1. Shirley says:

    Water from a roof leak stained wallpaper. What is the best way to or can it be removed?

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