We have moved into a trailer that has some pretty nasty stains on the walls. Anyone who lives in a mobile home knows that these are generally wallboards and not really wallpaper. I have tried cleaning with bleach, various cleaners and erasers with the only result being the tearing of the wallpaper. Short of calling the company and replacing the wallboards or re-papering the entire room, which will be expensive, I'm out of ideas. Anyone have any suggestions?
For best results, prime first with oil-based Kilz, which will block the stains and "grab" the surface better, especially if the wall covering is vinyl. Have the Kilz tinted a light shade of the color you are planning to use for a top coat and you will get better coverage. Wal-Mart sells low cost paints (our local Wal-Mart sells satin finish Color Place paint for $11.44 per gallon) made by a well-known company.
Have you tried baking soda? All you need is a little water to make a paste and use a sponge. It also works great on painted walls with crayon scribbles.
I have had great success in removing crayon and other unknown marks on wallpaper with WD40. I don't know if it will work on these particular stains, but it is worth a try. Just spray some on a cloth and rub the stain gently.
We moved into a mobile home last July, and it had badly stained walls. There were water and pet stains on most of the walls, but we used a primer we bought from Lowe's made by Zinsser. It is called BIN and costs about $25 a gallon, but it will cover anything! After it dried, we painted over it using latex paint, and it covered the stains completely. We were very pleased with the results. And yes, we had to replace some of the wallboard that was badly damaged, but after using the primer, we were able to salvage a lot more of the wall board than we originally thought we could.
Paint would be my first choice. Zinsser is my favorite stain blocking primer, than paint over it. But sometimes you can't always paint (rentals).
The cheapest way I have found to deal with stains and ugly walls is starch! Liquid starch, sold in blue bottles (also called sizing in the laundry section) makes fabric stick to walls. I have even used old sheets over ugly cinderblocks for a daughter's room. Pour the starch into a big bowl, dip the sheet in and swish around to saturate, then spread it smoothly over the wall surface. It is easier to start at the top and smooth down. Wipe up any drips or put a towel on the floor before you start. You can overlap edges, so if you need more than one sheet for a surface, you can continue around the room. I have even cut out holes for light switches and plug outlets.
When you want to change the look of the room, lift a corner and pull off the wall. Some starch will remain on the wall, so wash with warm water. You can put the fabric in the washing machine and use again as a sheet. This doesn't harm the fabric. You can cut out letters from fabric and apply the same way. Spell out a quote or a child's name in their room. Perfect for rentals, too, since you can remove and wash with no harm to the wall.
Jennilyn in Forest Hill, MD
This tip really comes from my mom and her years of experience painting. Whenever faced with a water stain or any other stain that could not be cleaned or removed, we used shellac to seal the stain in. After giving the stained area a good coat of shellac, allow it to dry thoroughly and then paint over the shellac with two coats of good quality paint. Water stains never bleed through the paint and only you know the stain is still under there.
I don't know how to get rid of the stains, but please know that it is not necessarily expensive to re-wallpaper and it can often be completed in one day. I have never spent more than $3 per roll for paper unless it was for a really specific purpose. Keep an eye out at Lowe's and Home Depot. Frequently, they will have wallpaper on sale for $1 per roll. My boys wanted a castle room, and within three months of their request, I found really cool paper that looks like stones at Lowe's, with plenty of rolls to do the job. You can also find these deals sometimes at Value City and Big Lots. Just measure your room and keep a note in your purse or wallet about how much you need. I bet you'll find a great deal on something that will look good within a couple of months!
Another option would be to prime and paint right over the top. After you prime, fill in any holes and sand down places where the wallpaper was rough. Prime again and then paint. You can get a gallon of primer for about $20, and paint for another $20. Or you can watch the "mismixed" piles and find a great deal if you don't have a particular color in mind.
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