How To Remove Hairspray From Walls

Clean

Need to get sticky hairspray spots off of your walls? These five ways work without damaging them.

Female hand spraying can of hairspray with black wall background

If you use hairspray, then you’ve probably found yourself wondering how to remove hairspray from walls. Even when you’re careful using it, the stuff gets all over the place! In most cases, it only takes a few minutes and some common household items to do this task.

Tips on Getting Hairspray Off Walls

As with most chores, this is easiest to do if there’s not a lot to clean in the first place. So, try to remove hairspray spots from your walls at least once a season. If more than one hairspray-user shares the same bathroom, you might even want to make it part of your bathroom cleaning routine.

As Part of Paint or Wallpaper Prep

Going to repaint or repaper your bathroom? Taking time to get the hairspray spots off your walls will help the new paint or paper adhere properly. But it would be best if you did this at least 24 hours in advance, so the surface has plenty of time to dry before you start redecorating.

Always Spot Test

Spot test first each type of surface first. The paint color and sheen are often different on doors, baseboards, and walls. And, of course, most people don’t wallpaper baseboards. So, if you plan to remove hairspray from more than one type of surface, spot test each.

The best way to spot test is to try a cleaning method in an inconspicuous place, like behind a door or immediately under a shelf — somewhere no one will see. If you see paint or dye from the wallpaper lifting, stop! Let the area dry, then try a different method.

Removing Hairspray From Painted Walls

When removing hairspray from painted walls, the trick is not scrubbing too hard, so you don’t damage the paint’s finish. Start with the shampoo method — it’s often enough to fix the problem. If that doesn’t work, then move on to the other methods after allowing your walls time to dry.

Using Shampoo

Think about it: washing your hair removes hairspray, so why not try the same route to remove hairspray from walls? For this, you want to go with a cheap shampoo since they’re usually loaded with detergents. Add one tablespoon of shampoo to a spray bottle of warm water. Spray the wall liberally, then wipe clean from the bottom up using a microfiber cleaning cloth. (Working from the bottom up is one of the tricks to cleaning walls that prevents drip marks and streaks.)

Using Rubbing Alcohol

Dampen a microfiber cloth with rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol and rub it gently on the walls. Immediately wipe the area with a fresh microfiber cloth dampened with plain water. Run your hand along the wall to feel for any remaining sticky hairspray residue. If you find some, go over the area again with first the alcohol-dampened cloth then the clean, damp cloth.

This method works best if you take a long hot shower first, so the steam helps loosen the hairspray. Then, after you’ve removed all sticky residue, turn on your bathroom’s exhaust fan to extract the steam and discourage mildew.

Using Fabric Softener

The surfactants in fabric softeners do a great job of loosening hairspray and other grime. Combine 1 part fabric softener and 2 parts warm water in a spray bottle. Shake until they’re well-mixed. Lightly mist the walls, then wipe from bottom to top with a damp microfiber cloth. Follow with a clean, wet cloth to remove the fabric softener residue, then wipe the area with a dry cloth.

Hand in rubber glove uses microfiber cloth to get hairspray off bathroom wall

Removing Hairspray From Papered Walls

You don’t want to saturate the area with papered walls, or you might damage the glue that fastens the wallpaper to the wall. So, work gently and use as little water as possible.

Using Baking Soda

Since baking soda (bicarbonate) is abrasive, be sure you do a spot test before using it on high-gloss paint or delicate wallpaper. Make a runny paste of baking soda and water. Lightly apply the paste to the wall using a clean, soft cloth. Work gently in a circular motion. Do not scrub. Wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth until you don’t feel any grit from the baking soda.

Using a Magic Eraser

If you have washable vinyl wallpaper, a melamine sponge or “Magic Eraser“* will easily remove hairspray from bathroom walls. Wet the eraser in warm water and lightly wipe the spots away. Finish by wiping the surface with a clean, damp cloth. Like baking soda, though, these erasers are abrasive, so be sure to spot test first. Also, do not scrub hard, or you may ruin the surface of your wallpaper.

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