Green cleaning has been a hot topic in the design world for quite some time. From nontoxic cleaning supplies to less-abrasive chemical alternatives, eco-friendly and safe products are now more important than ever to homeowners. Whether you have little ones, pets or just want to create a healthy environment for yourself, green cleaning is an effective alternative to everyday soaps and suds.
We’ve come up with a few simple ways to green clean your wallpaper without using harmful chemicals or ruining the wall covering.
Dust It Off
It’s no surprise that wall coverings gather dust, just like the rest of your home. Because your eye is trained to see only your beautiful wall covering, you probably aren’t looking close enough to notice the dust bunnies attacking your wallpaper.
A quick, green way to instantly refresh your wallpaper is by dusting or lightly vacuuming it. While it may seem odd to vacuum the wall, it easily and effectively gets rid of surface debris and dust that have collected overtime, and there are no chemicals involved.
If you have flat, non-textural wall coverings, use a microfiber cloth and start at the top of the panel, then gently work your way down, trapping dust as you go. For more intricate wall coverings, use a vacuum with a soft-bristled brush attachment and gently sweep downwards. Be careful of cobwebs along the way!
Back when wallpaper was uncovered and made from, well, actual paper, wallpaper dough was used to clean dust mites and pesky stains. If you have a particularly fragile or intricate wall covering, consider using wallpaper dough to help maintain its beauty.
Take a ball of dough out of the container, roll it between your hands, and roll the ball downwards to pick up dirt. If you can’t find store-bought wallpaper dough, it’s a simple DIY recipe to make at home: some salt, a pinch of corn starch, a sprinkle of baking soda, and a dot of natural dishwasher detergent. When the outside of the dough ball gets dirty, simply knead the dirty part towards the center to expose a clean, fresh surface.
Spectacular Spot Cleaning
For tougher stains that are splashed on your wall covering, you may have to toughen your cleaning regimen. Vinyl wallpaper (found most often in kitchens and bathrooms) is made to withstand stains and the scrubbing that ensues, but always start by using a dry, soft cellulose sponge to wipe in small circles. Most of the time, dry scrubbing works for surface stains. However, if a sticky smudge has been on your wall covering for a while, we suggest combining warm water with a dollop of mild, natural cleanser to gently apply to the stain. Use your soft sponge to wipe in small, circular strokes, and continue until the spot comes off. Let dry and repeat if it’s a particularly stubborn stain.
Avoid Harsh Cleansers
While you may be ready to reach for some pretty abrasive cleaning supplies to rid yourself of wallpaper smudges and stains, think twice. Modern wallpaper is strong and durable, but still susceptible to scratches and smears. Read the manufacturer label before you fight fire with fire, and always start gently with mild cleaners and sponges. Never use scouring powders or scrubbing cleansers to attack wall covering stains—you may end up rubbing the wallpaper right off!
To ensure you’re cleaning with green products, always check the label. Ask your local home goods salesperson for their favorite eco-friendly products, and which would work best with your particular type of wallpaper. Be sure to arm yourself with sponges, microfiber cloths and plenty of patience before you start green cleaning your wall coverings!
California interior designer Kerrie Kelly has a keen “green home” awareness which she incorporates with her clients whenever possible. Kerrie’s wallpaper cleaning tips are designed to keep your home’s wall in great shape. To review Home Depot’s wallpaper selection, including styles Kerrie writes about, you can visit www.homedepot.com.