Cleaning Discolored Or Stained Wall Covering

Procedure code:
995003S
Source:
Internet - Wallpaper Repair
Division:
Finishes
Section:
Wall Coverings
Last Modified:
08/02/2016

Technical Procedures Disclaimer
Prior to inclusion in GSA’s library of procedures, documents are reviewed by one or more qualified preservation specialists for general consistency with the Secretary of Interior Standards for rehabilitating historic buildings as understood at the time the procedure is added to the library. All specifications require project-specific editing and professional judgement regarding the applicability of a procedure to a particular building, project or location. References to products and suppliers are to serve as a general guideline and do not constitute a federal endorsement or determination that a product or method is the best or most current alternative, remains available, or is compliant with current environmental regulations and safety standards. The library of procedures is intended to serve as a resource, not a substitute, for specification development by a qualified preservation professional.

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We’ve reviewed these procedures for general consistency with federal standards for rehabilitating historic buildings and provide them only as a reference. Specifications should only be applied under the guidance of a qualified preservation professional who can assess the applicability of a procedure to a particular building, project or location. References to products and suppliers serve as general guidelines and do not constitute a federal endorsement nor a determination that a product or method is the best alternative or compliant with current environmental regulations and safety standards.


PART 1---GENERAL

1.01 SUMMARY

  1. This procedure includes guidance on cleaning stained or discolored wall covering. Most wall coverings are classified as either "non-washable", "washable", or "scrubbable". General procedures for each type are included below under Execution.
  2. See "General Project Guidelines" for general project guidelines to be reviewed along with this procedure. These guidelines cover the following sections:
    1. Safety Precautions
    2. Historic Structures Precautions
    3. Submittals
    4. Quality Assurance
    5. Delivery, Storage and Handling
    6. Project/Site Conditions
    7. Sequencing and Scheduling
    8. General Protection (Surface and Surrounding)
      These guidelines should be reviewed prior to performing this procedure and should be followed, when applicable, along with recommendations from the Regional Historic Preservation Officer (RHPO).

PART 2---PRODUCTS
2.01 MANUFACTURERS

  1. Absorene Manufacturing Co.
    St. Louis, MO

2.02 MATERIALS

  1. Paste Spot Remover (available in local hardware store, home improvement centers, or paint/wallpaper stores)
  2. Commercial wallpaper cleaner such as "Absorene" - a doughy wall cleaner (Absorene Manufacturing Co.)
  3. Erasers, such as powdered draftsman's pad or Opaline pads, or hard vinyls like Staedtler or Art Gum.
  4. Denatured Alcohol:
    1. Other chemical or common names include Methylated spirit*.
    2. Potential hazards: TOXIC AND FLAMMABLE.
    3. Available from hardware store, paint store or printer's supply distributor.
    4. Denatured alcohol should be a satisfactory substitute for ethyl alcohol for stain removing purposes.
  5. Mild dish-washing detergent
  6. Household Bleach:
    1. An unstable salt produced usually in aqueous solution and used as a bleaching and disinfecting agent.
    2. Other chemical or common names include Bleaching solution*; Laundry bleach*; Sodium Hypochlorite (NaOCl); Solution of chlorinated soda*.
    3. Potential Hazards: CAUSTIC TO FLESH.
    4. Available from chemical supply house, grocery store or supermarket, hardware store or janitorial supply distributor.
  7. Blotter/paper towels

2.03 EQUIPMENT

  1. Sponges
  2. Putty knife
  3. Iron
  4. Buckets
  5. Clean, soft cloths or towels
  6. Soft-bristle brush
  7. Vacuum

PART 3---EXECUTION

3.01 ERECTION, INSTALLATION, APPLICATION

NOTE: ALWAYS TEST CLEANING METHODS IN AN INCONSPICUOUS LOCATION TO DETERMINE THE SAFEST AND MOST SUITABLE METHOD.

  1. For Washable Coverings: These usually have a plastic coating.
    1. Wash the surface using a damp sponge and a mild dishwashing detergent mixed in cool water; wipe the surface from the bottom up; wipe using a circular motion in overlapping strokes.
    2. Pat the surface dry using a soft cloth or towel.
    3. If a second washing is necessary, allow the wall to completely dry before beginning the cleaning sequence again.
  2. For Scrubbable Coverings (usually vinyl or vinyl- impregnated paper):
    1. Scrub the surface using a sponge or soft cloth and a foam cleanser or all-purpose detergent.
    2. Rinse the cleaner from the surface using a clean, damp sponge.
    3. Pat the surface dry using a soft cloth or towel.
  3. For Fabric Coverings (such as burlap or grass cloth):
    1. Remove loose dirt using a clean cloth or vacuum.
    2. Spot clean only using a sponge or soft-bristle brush and a mild detergent. For stubborn spots, try adding 2-3 tablespoons of bleach to the solution.
    3. Rinse the area thoroughly with a clean, damp sponge or soft cloth and water.
    4. Pat the surface dry using a soft cloth or towel.
  4. For Non-washable Coverings: Clean using a commercial wallpaper cleaner. Follow manufacturer's instructions.
  5. For Stain Removal:
    1. For Fingerprints, Smudges, and Pencil Marks:
      1. Rub gently with art gum (or other eraser-type material, or use commercial wallpaper cleaner, following manufacturer's instructions.
      2. If paper is washable, marks may be removed using a damp sponge and a solution of mild dishwashing detergent and cool water.
    2. For Grease Spots:
      1. Set blotter or paper towels over stain and press with a warm iron. Grease should be loosened and absorbed by the towels.
      2. If stain still remains, apply a paste spot remover and allow to dry; brush off powder
        from the surface.
      3. For washable wallpaper, wipe off grease using a sudsy sponge, followed by damp sponge.
    3. For Crayon Marks:
      1. Scrape off excess crayon using a putty knife.
      2. Set blotter or paper towels over stain and press with a warm iron. Crayon should be loosened and absorbed by the towels.
      3. For non-washable papers, apply a paste spot remover and allow to dry.
        -or-
      4. Gently wipe the stained area with denatured alcohol or spot remover. Use a clean, soft cloth to apply the solvent.
      5. NOTE: these solvents are flammable and vapors are toxic, so be sure there is no flame, spark, or pilot light in area, have plenty of ventilation. Use only on small spots.
      6. For washable papers, wipe off crayon using a sudsy sponge followed by a damp sponge and allow to dry. Try not to smear the residue.

Last Reviewed: 2017-08-13