Cleaning Walls: A Must For Wallpaper Installation

When decorating your home, installing new wallpaper can quickly and easily transform your space. 

However, it's important to properly prepare the walls before you can start hanging your new wallpaper. 

This means cleaning the walls thoroughly to ensure the wallpaper adheres appropriately in the long run and looks its best. 

In this guide, we'll take a closer look at the steps you can take to clean your walls before wallpaper installation, so you can create a beautiful and long-lasting wallpaper finish that will enhance the look of your home.

Step By Step Guidelines For Cleaning Walls

Before installing wallpaper, it's important to ensure the walls are clean and free from dirt, grease, and imperfections. Here are some step-by-step guidelines to follow when cleaning your walls.

1. Gather Your Material

No special cleaner is required to clean walls. You probably already have everything you need. What you should have on hand is as follows:

  • Soft clothes or rags
  • Natural sponge
  • Rubber gloves
  • Cleaning solutions
  • Duster
  • Water
  • Two Buckets
  • Vacuum (optional)
  • Tack Cloth

2. Dust The Walls

Dust the walls thoroughly before washing them. You can use a tack cloth or vacuum to remove dust from the walls and moldings. Removing all the dust, cobwebs, or other debris that may have accumulated on the walls before washing them is important.

3. Combine Water And Dish Soap

Want to clean your surfaces like a pro? You can either use a water dish wash solution or the water alcohol solution. Use either of the two techniques listed below. 

For Medium Stains

  1. The best water-based solution for cleaning walls with satin and semi-gloss paint finishes is a mixture of
  • 1 Gallon Of Warm Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Of Liquid Dishwashing Detergent
  • Fill A Second Bucket Halfway With Plain, Warm Water For Rinsing The Sponge Between Uses.
  1. Get a bottle of 70% Rubbing Alcohol from your local pharmacy. Make your solution by mixing 70 ml of isopropyl alcohol with 30 ml of water in a measuring cup. Once you've got your solution, grab a clean, lint-free cloth and soak it until it's dripping wet.

4. Keep Drippings Off Your Floor

Keeping the drippings off your floor while cleaning your walls is important. To do this, place a towel or drop cloth along the base of the walls to protect the floors from collecting any dust or drips.

5. Wash In Circular Motions

While cleaning walls, rub gently on the walls to prevent paint from being removed or fading. Starting from the top of the wall, work downward, and go over the surface in a circular motion. Remembering to clean the entire wall in one session with the same solution is critical. This will prevent roll marks from appearing on the wall. 

Roll marks are wave effects caused by stop-and-go wall washing, and they appear in different parts of the walls when they are not cleaned simultaneously. 

To avoid watermarks and bubbling, use a natural sponge or soft cloth that is only slightly dampened with the cleaning solution. Wring out the cloth or sponge when it gets too wet and periodically switch to a fresh, dry one to avoid spreading dirt and grime.

6. Remove Any Stubborn Stains

If you have stubborn stains on your painted walls, use borax or baking soda with water to remove them. 

For Tough Stains

Use a more robust cleaning solution to remove dirtier walls or tougher stains, such as:

  • 1 Gallon Of Warm Water
  • 1 Cup Of Austin's 00051 Clear Ammonia Multipurpose Cleaner (Non-Sudsing Clear Ammonia)
  • 1 Cup Of White Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Borax Or Baking Soda

Combine any of them with water to make a paste. Rub the paste gently into the stained area of the wall to lift the stain. You can also use this technique to remove stains caused by your children with a pen or crayon. 

Another stain removal method is hydrogen peroxide. It is incredibly effective on red wine stains. Dab a little hydrogen peroxide onto your cleaning rag (with the dish soap solution). To lift the red wine stain, gently press it into it for five minutes.

7. Dry The Walls

After cleaning the wall, touch it. The area you cleaned will feel cooler due to the alcohol in the solution evaporating quickly. Wait until it's no longer cool to the touch before installing wallpaper. You can also leave your windows open to allow the walls to dry as you go.

Ensure your wall has dried for at least 48 hours before installing wallpaper. This will prevent any moisture from the cleaning process from degrading the wallpaper or causing it to peel off. 

Cleaning VOC Painted Walls

Low VOC paint is an excellent choice for those who want an eco-friendly option that emits fewer harmful chemicals. 

But the new formulations in VOC paints have caused unpredictable interactions with peel and stick wallpaper, leading to unusual issues. While the wallpaper may stick perfectly to some VOC paints, it may peel off others due to the varying formulations of these paints.

VOC paints can leave surface contamination on walls that must be cleaned before applying peel and stick wallpaper. Here are a few steps to clean the VOC painted walls for successful wallpaper installation.

  • Create a cleaning solution with 70% isopropyl alcohol and 30% water in a spray bottle, or purchase a bottle of 70% Rubbing Alcohol from a pharmacy.
  • Soak a clean, lint-free cloth in the cleaning solution until it is dripping wet. Clean the installation area with overlapping strokes.
  • Repeat the cleaning process until the wall is thoroughly cleaned.
  • Cleaning the wall with the mixture two to three times can improve adhesion for most peel and stick wallpapers on painted walls.

To learn more about VOC Paints, check this link Low VOC Paint.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How Long Should A Wall Be Allowed To Dry Before Wallpapering?

Ans: It is recommended to leave the walls to dry for at least 36 to 48 hours before the wallpaper installation.

Q: What Is The Best Cleaner For Cleaning Mild Stains Off Walls? 

Ans: The best cleaner is an Isopropyl alcohol and Water solution. Mix 70% isopropyl alcohol and 30% water in a spray bottle to make your cleaning solution. Alternatively, buy a pre-made 70% rubbing alcohol bottle from the pharmacy.

Q: How To Clean Hard Stains Off Walls?

Ans: Baking Soda: Mix a 1/2 cup of baking soda with a small amount of water to make a paste. Apply it to the stain and gently rub it with a damp sponge or cloth until it lifts.

Vinegar: Thoroughly mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the stain, then wait a few minutes before removing it. Scrub the stains with a sponge or brush and rinse with water.

Proper surface preparation is key to achieving a flawless finish for hanging wallpaper. The type of surface you're working with will determine your steps before applying wallpaper.