Dirty Wallpaper: Remove or Clean?
LESLIE: Nancy in Rhode Island listens in on WPRO. What can we do for you today?
NANCY: How do I get rid of the mildew behind the wallpaper in a bathroom? I don’t want to rip the wallpaper down because it’s brand new wallpaper.
LESLIE: How do you know there’s mildew behind the wallpaper?
NANCY: Because I see black at the seams. And like when it comes down the radiator, you see a bit of black.
TOM: Well, if it’s – when it comes down to the radiator and you see black, that may not be mildew or mold. That might be dirt. Because what happens is with a radiator you get sort of this convective air current where as the air is heated over the radiator it pushes up air against the wall. And so any of the dirt and the dust that gets in the wall will sometimes leave a stain on the wall. Usually that can be cleaned off. You see this over radiators. You also see it over heating ducts. The sort of black streaking is dirt that’s in the air that is constantly being washed and pushed against the wall. So that may not be the situation.
Now, where you say you see it in the seams of the wallpaper, I think that’s permanent. I don’t think you’re going to be able to do anything to get that off because that’s basically embedded into the wallpaper itself. That’s why wallpaper is not the best idea for a bathroom because it’s a very moist situation there …
LESLIE: And that’s why the seams tend to peel up so much.
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
LESLIE: Because they’re constantly being rewetted because of all the moisture so they want to peel up.
TOM: And there are so many other gorgeous wall treatments available today that wallpaper’s really not needed.
NANCY: It’s (ph) actually like the cement part of the house so wouldn’t be as heated as like your upstairs bathrooms. I’m wrong?
TOM: Well, and because it’s not as heated you may have more condensation which could be leading to this as well. Wallpaper is generally not a good idea in a bathroom. With so many other wall treatments available that are so nice, it’s probably the room that you don’t want to use it in.
Nancy, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.