Wallpaper Gets Dirty – and Can Sometimes Be Cleaned

Digital ImageThis wallpaper is in a 30+ year old home in the Woodlands. It’s hard to see in the photo, but there’s a little whiter patch near the center.

The wallpaper had a dirty look to it, but I figured that was because of fading over the years, kitchen cooking smoke and grease, and sometimes the lack of a primer used under the paper or a clay-based paste, which can bleed through the surface.

I hung a new border over this old wallpaper. As I wiped my damp rag along the border to smooth it and remove any paste that oozed out below it, I was surprised to see that much of the reddish dirt actually wiped off. In fact, it came off quite readily.

This is rarely the case. But, since the paper has a light vinyl coating, it would be possible for the homeowner to go around the walls with a sponge or rag and some clean water, or possibly a light cleaner, like 409 mixed into the water, and LIGHTLY scrub the walls.

With 30 years worth of dirt and grime removed, the wallpaper would be brighter, and the kitchen would look fresher.

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