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How To Remove Water Stains From Wallpaper

Kate Aldrich

Water stains on wallpaper can ruin the look of any room. The stains are caused mainly by the tannins in wood leeching into water that then comes in contact with your wallpaper; it's like staining the wallpaper with actual stain.

That means it's really hard, if not impossible, to remove water stains from wallpaper, but you may be able to lessen their appearance.

Remove Water Stains from Wallpaper: Three Methods to Try

  1. Use a pencil eraser. While tedious, this is the most common method for removing non-grease stains from wallpaper. It's also the least likely to cause damage to your wallpaper. Gently rub the eraser over the water stain. You'll only be able to remove surface dirt, but it may make the stain less visible.

  2. Mix a solution of mild dishwashing liquid and water, and gently wash the area of the water stain. Again, this won't remove the wood tannins that cause the water stain, but it can remove other dirt and grime so the water stain isn't as noticeable.

  3. Finally, try a bleach and water solution that's 1/3 bleach and 2/3 water. Carefully sponge the solution onto the area with the water stain. Don't use too much--just enough to dampen the area, but not enough to drip down the wall. Give it 5 minutes to work, then rinse the area with water. Repeat as necessary.

  4. Warning

    Contact the wallpaper manufacturer, if possible, before trying to remove a water stain (or any stain) from wallpaper. The manufacturer can tell you what stain-removal methods you should avoid, based on the kind of wallpaper you have. Test these cleaning methods on a patch of wallpaper that's hidden before you try to treat a visible area, to make sure the cleaning won't damage the wallpaper.