How to Remove Stains

From Walls

child smiling crayon hand crayon on wall

Golden Rule: Treat stains as soon as possible after staining. The older the stain, the more difficult it will be to remove.

Test Your Wallpaper Before Attempting to Remove Any Stains

Delicate and natural coverings (grasscloth, reed, hemp, fabric etc) as well as uncoated wallpaper are easily damaged by water, and therefore cannot be washed. To find out if a wall covering is washable, squirt a little dishwashing liquid in water and dab some on the wall in an out-of-the-way spot. If the material darkens, absorbs water, or the colors run, then the covering is not washable.

How To Remove Stains From Walls

Golden Rule: Treat stains as soon as possible after staining. The older the stain, the more difficult it will be to remove.

Before attempting to clean any stains it is recommended that you contact the wallpaper manufacturer or a wallpaper expert for their advice. Your stain removal method will depend on the type and age of the stain, as well as the exact wallpaper material.

For light stains a small amount of dish-washing detergent with warm water could be the answer. Simpy apply the solution to a soft cloth and rub the area, taking care not to rub so hard that you damage the paper. If the first attempt did not remove the stain, be patient and wait for the area to completely dry before rubbing again. This process can take a while, but it prevents the paper from getting too wet which can cause it to tear or peel.

For those ugly dark stains, you may wish to try making a paste with baking soda. Simply mix a little baking soda and water and gently rub it on the stained area. Leave the mixture to sit on the stain for a few minutes before removing it with a damp cloth. It may be necessary to repeat the process a few times.


Ugly grease stains can be quite difficult to remove. There is a real possibility of damaging the paper, as it can require quite a bit of pressure to release the grease. Another option is to heat an iron to Medium Heat, hang two paper towels over the grease stain and press the iron on top of the towels.

person holding iron and kitchen roll against wallpaper to clean off grease
kitchen roll with grease against wallpaper

Hopefully, the heat will melt the grease and it will be soaked up by the paper towels. Again, this process may need to be repeated. Use fresh paper towels for each attempt, so not to transfer any of the grease removed back onto the paper. Of course, whenever working with heat you should use care.

Note: Even if your paper is scrubbable, it is better not to scrub too hard or to use strong household or abrasive cleaners.

Of course there comes a point in the life of any wallpaper that it is time to put it out to pasture and bring in the new. We recommend using WallpaperBuddy™ to install new wallpaper, it is the easiest way to hang wallpaper by yourself.

How to use WallpaperBuddy™


Wallpaper – Common Cleaning Challenges 

Below are solutions to some common wallpaper cleaning issues, we hope you don’t need them, but find them useful if you do.

Important: Many wallpapers don’t stand up well to cleaning with water,  so remember to test any cleaning method in an inconspicuous area first, such as behind a cabinet or piece of furniture.

Q: How do I remove finger marks from wallpaper?

A: Try using an art gum eraser. They are softer than a traditional rubber eraser, so they will crumble as they lift the dirt of the paper.

Q: How do I remove scuff marks from wallpaper?

Many people report having success using an Art Gum Eraser. If the scuff mark is really dried on and tough to remove, try wiping with some water and liquid detergent using a clean cloth.

Q: How do I clean mould or mildew from wallpaper?

A: Try good old fashioned soap and water to begin with. Should the stain be stubborn and not want to leave, then add some white vinegar to the water and apply to the mould. Leave to soak in for 10-20 seconds, and then work inwards rubbing in a circular motion so that you don’t spread the mould further.

Q: How do I clean vinyl wallpaper?

A: Vinyl wallpaper can usually be cleaned with warm water and a mild dishwashing detergent. After you have successfully cleaned the area, make sure to rinse with a clean sponge, and then dry with a microfiber cloth, so you don’t’ leave any lint behind.

Q: How do I clean Grasscloth wallpaper?

A: Grasscloth wallpapers are water-resistant but not washable. Therefore they should not be cleaned with water, and removing stains is a delicate process. Best approach is always to remove fresh stains immediately, using a clean paper towel and then dabbing the area carefully with a damp cloth, without rubbing or soaking the wallpaper.

Q: How do I remove ink from wallpaper?

A: Apply some denatured alcohol (methylated spirits) to the area. Dab the alcohol on the affected area with a paper towel and let it sit for 10-20 seconds, before wiping gently with a clean dry paper towel. You may have to repeat more than once for stubborn stains.

Q: How do I remove permanent marker from wallpaper?

A: If the marker is fresh try dabbing the affected area with a clean cloth and soapy water. If successful, follow by dabbing with clean water to rinse, and then drying immediately with a paper towel.

If this does not work, you can make a paste of 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water. Spread the paste on the stain and rub gently to remove the stain. Rinse the wallpaper with a clean rag and plain water to remove the baking soda residue.

Q: How do I remove crayon from wallpaper?

A: Waxy crayon marks can be somewhat challenging to remove, but with the help of a ‘Dry Cleaning’ solvent you should be able to remove the stain. Use a clean dry cloth or cotton swab to apply the cleaning solvent. Again, for stubborn stains it may take repeated applications for success.

Q: How do I remove food from wallpaper?

A: Start by gently scraping the food from the paper. Any stains remaining can be cleaned using a cotton swab or clean cloth dipped in a soapy water solution. After the stain has been removed, remember to rinse and blot dry.

Q: How do I remove wine from wallpaper?

A: Firstly, blot it dry, being careful not to spread the stain. Next use a clean sponge lightly dampened with a solution of warm water and a small amount of dishwashing detergent to carefully wipe it away. Blot and repeat.

If this doesn’t work, you can try adding a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to the soapy water mix. But as always, experiment first in an inconspicuous area. Once you have successfully removed the stain, reward yourself and pour another glass, but be careful this time!

Wall for Creativity

If you get tired of cleaning your little artists’ handiwork from every wall in the house, why not give them a dedicated wall for creating their masterpieces? You could fix a large chalkboard to the wall, purchase extra large coloring-in sheets, and you can even purchase wallpaper created especially for children to color in. All good options and a great medium for your budding Picasso to begin focusing their creativity on.

If you provide a dedicated wall for creativity, there is a reduced chance of your little artist(s) attempting to make every wall in the house a masterpiece!

We hope you found this article helpful, and we would appreciate it very much if you shared it with someone else you feel might benefit from it.


Want to make wallpapering more efficient?

Make Wallpapering Easy, Use WallpaperBuddy™

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