Words on the Label – Unpasted, Washable, Peelable

Digital ImageYou might read something on a wallpaper label and THINK you know what it means. But in many cases, you would be mistaken.

“Unpasted,” means just what it says, that you will have to apply the proper adhesive to the back of the paper before hanging. Some papers are pre-pasted, and only need to be wet to activate the paste before hanging.

But the next two words can be deceiving. Actually, “Washable,” is about the middle of the pack when it comes to cleaning wallpaper. “Wipeable” is for the MOST delicate papers, which are the LEAST cleanable. If you wipe it with a damp rag, you had better do it just once, because more than that might well damage the paper, by abrading, staining, etc. Not recommended for kitchens, bathrooms, or kids’ areas.

“Washable,” means that you can gently wipe the paper with a damp cloth (no cleaning agents). The stain may or may not come off.

“Scrubbable” is the term used for heavy-duty papers, generally thick vinyls, that can actually be scrubbed with a cloth or even a brush, depending on the type of material. But you still had better be gentle, and definitely never brush or wipe across a seam – always in the direction of the seam, not across it.

“Peelable” sounds like the paper will simply peel right off the wall when you want to redecorate. Actually, only the top vinyl layer will peel off, leaving a paper backing on the wall. Then you’ll have to spend more time and mess with water and a bucket and a sponge, to soak the backing until the paste softens and you can peel or scrape off the backing.

“Strippable” means that, when ready to redecorate, the whole strip of paper SHOULD peel easily away from the wall all in one piece. That doesn’t always happen, though, so you may still end up soaking some bits of backing to get them off the wall.

And papers will only “peel” or “strip” as suggested IF the wall was properly prepared before the paper went up, with an appropriate primer, and if the right amount of the right paste was used.

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