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Cleaning Walls and Wallcoverings

To clean textured walls, old nylon stockings are better than sponges or cloths because they won't tear and leave difficult-to-remove bits and pieces on the surface.

Walls require more routine cleaning than ceilings, mainly because it's a lot easier for fingerprints and scuff marks to land on them. Using a brush attachment, vacuum walls when you clean the room. Go behind pictures and mirrors with the small brush attachment. Remove cobwebs monthly or as needed.

When you vacuum, be careful not to press cobwebs against the wall. When you're ready to wash the wall, use an all-purpose cleaner for cleaning washable walls. Test the product to make sure it does not harm your wall covering by washing an inconspicuous place first. We like a diluted solution of TSP.

Here are some additional suggestions:

  • Wash walls from the bottom to the top, overlapping the cleaned areas to prevent streaks.
  • To prevent water from running down your arm when washing walls, make a bracelet from a sponge or washcloth held in place with a thick rubber band.
  • Lift crayon marks off a painted wall by rubbing them carefully with a cloth or sponge dampened with mineral spirits or lighter fluid. Remove any shine by sponging lightly with hot water.
  • To remove transparent tape from a wall without marring the paint or wallpaper, use a warm iron. Through a protective cloth, press the tape to soften and loosen its adhesive backing.
  • Remove smudges while they are fresh, but do not scrub with much pressure or use synthetic scouring pads or abrasive cleansers. 
  • To clean textured walls, old nylon stockings are better than sponges or cloths because they won't tear and leave difficult-to-remove bits and pieces on the surface.
  • Slight smoke stains above a fireplace opening are quickly removed with abrasive cleanser. Scrub the powder into the moistened brick and then rinse well with clear water to make sure that no white residue remains. If cleaning changes the color of the brick, even out the color by rubbing another brick of the same color over the discolored surface.

Cleaning Wallcoverings

Paper wallcoverings are considered nonwashable and require special cleaning techniques. Many wallcoverings are made of washable vinyl. Some manufacturers caution against using ammonia on these products, so be sure to check the instructions or test the cleaning product you plan to use in an inconspicuous area or on a leftover piece.

Sponge washable wallcoverings and some vinyl coverings with a mild detergent. To find out how much elbow grease your paper can take, first work on a scrap.

Lift grease stains from washable wallpaper with a paste made of cornstarch and water. Alternately, rub dry borax over the stains.

To remove a grease spot from nonwashable wallpaper, place a blotter over the spot and press it with a moderately hot iron. The blotter will soak up the grease.

To remove crayon marks on wallpaper, rub carefully with a dry, soap-filled, fine-grade steel-wool pad; or use a wad of white paper towel moistened with dry-cleaning solvent and delicately sponge the surface. Carefully blot to prevent the solvent from spreading and discoloring the paper.

Smudges, finger marks, and pencil marks can be removed from the surface of papered walls by very gently rubbing the spots with an art gum eraser.

Clean nonwashable wallpaper with rye bread. Make a fist-size wad of bread, and rub it across discolorations and dirt. Then I would throw the bread away; peanut butter and jelly tastes way better on white bread.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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