Do you know how to properly preserve your walls?

July 28, 2015

Protecting and caring for your wallpaper and wall coverings is part of protecting and caring for your walls themselves. Here's how.

Do you know how to properly preserve your walls?

Wash wall coverings carefully

Most modern wall coverings are treated with vinyl to make them washable. But many other wall coverings are often not washable, including delicate papers, fabrics, and natural organic coverings made from grass, reeds, hemp, cork, or leather.

To determine whether a wall covering is washable, wet an inconspicuous area with a solution of a little dishwashing liquid and water. If the paper absorbs water or darkens or if the colours run, it's not washable, because the cleaning solution will damage it.If the wallpaper proves washable, clean it just like a painted wall with these precautions:

  • Don't flood the surface with water, overwet the seams or edges, or leave water on for more than a minute.
  • Don't scrub unless the manufacturer says that the covering can be scrubbed.
  • Don't use harsh, abrasive cleaners on any covering.

Cleaning nonwashable wall coverings

  • Regular dusting and vacuuming is, of course, the first step in keeping non-washable wall coverings clean.
  • For dirt that can't be dusted or sucked away, use wallpaper dough, which you can find at hardware, home improvement, and paint-and-wallpaper stores.
  • Roll the dough into a ball, and then roll it onto the dirty area.
  • When the dough ball gets dirty, knead the dirty part back into the middle, make a new ball, and continue.
  • You can use fresh, crustless white bread in the same way.

Re-adhere wallpaper

  • As the years roll by, wallpaper paste can begin to lose its grip, causing the seams to lift.
  • If the paper still looks good, you can fix the problem and prolong the wallpaper's life.
  • All you need is some lap-and-seam adhesive, which you can buy at any wallpaper store.
  • First moisten the seam with warm water, and very carefully lift the softened wallpaper away from the wall.
  • Apply a thin coat of the adhesive, and gently press the paper back into place. Roll the seam with a seam roller, and wipe up any adhesive that squeezes out with a damp sponge.

Yes, you can patch wallpaper

  • That is, as long as you have a small leftover piece of the same paper. If you don't, your wallpaper dealer might still have the pattern.
  • Just follow these two steps:

    1. Put the scrap piece over the hole and line up the pattern. Then lightly tape the scrap in place. Use a utility knife and straightedge to cut out a rectangular patch while cutting through the wallpaper below at the same time. Now you have a rectangular hole and a patch that fits it exactly.

    2. Apply wallpaper paste to the patch, and place the patch over the hole to transfer paste to the wall. When the paste gets tacky, smooth the patch in place with a wet sponge.

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