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How to Safely Clean Wallpaper

Your new wallpaper is finally up, and it looks fantastic. Hooray! Your entire household loves it. Visitors rave about it, even the mail carrier noticed – so you're feeling great about your decorating skills. However, after a few weeks, you're already noticing water spots or smoke stains that are keeping your new wall coverings from looking perfect. Now what do you do? Depending on what your new wallpaper is made of, there are simple steps you can take to keep it looking fabulous. 

Vinyl coated wall coverings are the easiest of all to clean. Just give them a wipe down with mild soap and water. Yep, that's all. Like any cleaning job, start at the top and work your way down. You shouldn't have to scrub hard. If you use circular motions, you're less likely to leave streaks or watermarks on your walls. More delicate wall coverings may be a little trickier. For tough or sticky stains, you might be tempted to use one of those magic eraser sponges. Resist! While these may seem like a quick and easy way to remove stains, these sponges are actually a very fine sandpaper. That means they're literally scraping off the top layer of your wallpaper – which will take the design clean off in time.

Raw silk, grasscloth, or stringcloth wallpapers won't abide scrubbing of any kind. Small stains may be removed via a cotton swab and a mild cleaning solution. Better still is a newer product called a dry cleaning sponge. This is different than dry erase, since a dry cleaning sponge utilizes a cleaner that evaporates quickly without leaving a residue on your wall coverings. These cost just a few dollars and will last for many cleanings. No matter what variety of wallpaper you choose, there's a way to maintain a fresh look for as long as you like.


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