Can You Wash Grasscloth Wallpaper??

Home Stager with Hallmark Sotheby's International Realty & Joyce's Interiors

I had a conversation today with a realtor collegue of mine who has asked me to help her stage one of her listings.  It's an estate sale and will be coming on the market after all the clutter, overage of furniture is removed and we can go into get it show ready.

She had a question, can you wash grasscloth wallpaper?

The owner was a smoker and she thinks that it would be to much work removing the wallpaper and afraid what the walls will be like underneath.

I haven't seen the home yet, but did suggest the above immediately.

My knowledge is that grasscloth is very sensitive and would come apart very easily.  I told her I would ask the active rain community.

Any suggestions?



Comments (17)

Karen Tindall
Keller Williams - Murfreesboro, TN

I don't know if you can wash it but I have seen it painted.  I actually looked very nice.

Jul 24, 2008 10:10 AM
Robert Rauf
CMG Home Loans - Toms River, NJ

I would imagine you can wash it if you can paint it.  I guess go gently in an area that you can hide to see what the results are.... tread softly of course!

Jul 24, 2008 10:15 AM
Julia Maher
Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes - Fairfield, CT
Connecticut Home Stager

Paint is a good solution - try washing in an inconspicuous spot...otherwise vacuum well and apply Febreeze!  Julie

Jul 24, 2008 10:28 AM
Michelle Molinari
FEATURE THIS... Real Estate Staging & Interior Decor - Lafayette, LA
Feature This Real, Estate Staging & Curb Appeal Concepts

Grasscloth is:

#1 - Made of an intricate network of natural fibers woven together.

#2 - Adhered to the wall with paper backing which is glued.

Do NOT wet grasscloth. It will destroy the structure.

You gently vacuum it with a softbristle attachment on your vacuum cleaner.

You can paint it with latex matte (aka flat) or eggshell paint. Higher sheel levels don't look so hot.

If smoker's odor is present, ionize it with a commercial grade ionizer.

Grasscloth is back in style, and highly sought after. If it looks good, and it is neutral in color, and enhances the home, keep it if you can!



Jul 24, 2008 10:29 AM
Fernando Rosado
West Palm Beach, FL
561-906-0050 or 561-840-8950

Joyce ~ My 2 cents worth is that I have painted the grasscloth with white paint .

 It looked really good too

Jul 30, 2008 04:04 PM
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.

Like Fernando, I have also painted grasscloth, the effect is quite nice as it adds texture.  The problem will be the odor from the smoke.  Think you'll have to prime with a good sealer first.  Try it, it's hard to remove it so this is a good option and looks great.

Jul 30, 2008 06:59 PM
Virginia Tatseos
Stage-Show-Sell - Bloomfield Township, MI

The whole idea of grass cloth makes me shudder. 

Is this older grass cloth from the 60s?

A lot depends on what kind of walls they are on.  It's easier to remove if they are wetplaster walls and impossible if they are drywalled.

Paint over it if they are drywalled and removed if they was wet plaster walls.

Aug 02, 2008 02:22 AM
Kathleen Lordbock
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Baxter, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals

The stainblocker primers also block smoke odors - it is the oils from the burning tobacco that causes the smell - tarry stuff. It will be on everything else as well - good luck.

Aug 06, 2008 03:45 PM
Margaret Oscilia
Creative Concepts-Home Staging and Contracting, Salem Oregon - Salem, OR
Home Stager, Salem Oregon

I have painted over grass cloth and wall paper and always use an oil based primer first -- I know -- what a hassle -- but -- the paper will not bubble up like it does with water based products.  Those bubbles may disappear when it dries, but not always and the glue becomes diluted with the water based primers. 

Aug 06, 2008 03:53 PM
Kimo Stowell
HI Pro Realty LLC RB-21531 - Honolulu, HI
REALTOR Associate® RS-76763 - Honolulu Hawai'i

Aloha Joyce,

I agree with the base coat and painting idea. I use Killz as a base coat product. It kills mold and eliminates odors and painted rice and grass paper looks great. Best of luck.


Aug 07, 2008 08:32 AM
Lisa Sherman
Interior Aura - Salem, OR
Home Stager, Interior, Redesign & Decorating - Salem Oregon

I have not personally attempted this, however, the information has been very helpful!  I appreciate you all sharing your tips - thank you.

Sep 22, 2008 05:48 PM
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.

I have had very good success priming it and then painting, it just depends on the depth of the smoking issue.  The Ecoquest Ionizer would probably work there, but it might take 2 weeks to rid the house of the odor.  We sell them on and they are amazing.  You can also rent them for $75 or so a week to clients.  I had a car that was a smokers car and it was amazing how it removed the odor forever, that's been 3 years and no odor today!!! 

Sep 22, 2008 07:17 PM
Connie Tebyani
Platinum Home Staging, Inc. : RESA-Pro - Calabasas, CA
Platinum Home Staging, Los Angeles and Ventura County

I have painted grass cloth wallpaper before and it actually looks really great, and gives the wall an interesting texture.  Since the owner was a smoker, if the paper is not stained, I would try to keep it in it's natural condition and try an ionizer.  Otherwise, paint - but do NOT wash it.

Sep 23, 2008 03:36 AM
Phyllis Pafumi
ReStyled to Sell Home Staging New Jersey - Old Bridge, NJ
ReStyled to Sell Staging Homes NJ

NO!! I had grasscloth in my home many years ago and  it has very small fibers that fray. Washing it WILL DEFINITELY wear this fibers out and cause paper to shred or tear.

I would recommend removing it altogether or try oil based primer to seal and then paint! Good Luck

Phyllis Pafumi

Sep 30, 2008 03:22 PM
Sandy Ridgway
Designs For You - Columbus, OH
Designs For You

Burn it!!!!!!

Oct 02, 2008 03:13 AM



Feb 03, 2012 08:08 AM
I discovered some type of brownish glue from a picture frame that oozed onto my grasscloth. Is there anything you would recommend to clean it?
Feb 10, 2012 11:15 AM