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If your wallpaper is looking old and it's the washable kind, sponge it down with a solution of mild soap and cold water. Wipe with clean water and then wipe dry.

Test the colorfastness of the wallpaper in some inconspicuous corner before you clean it.

Time is not kind to wallpaper: The edges peel up, the adhesive gets tired, bubbles develop, and the wear and tear of normal life starts to take a visible toll. But that doesn't mean you have to rip it down. If it's still looking good, you can fix these problems.

Got an edge that's coming unglued, a seam that's sticking up, or a clean tear? Here's how to fix it:

  • Moisten the damaged area with warm water and lift the softened wallpaper (carefully) away from the wall.
  • Apply a thin coating of lap-and-seam adhesive (available at any wallpaper store).
  • Press the wallpaper back in place -- match it up.
  • Roll the edge with a seam roller.
  • Sponge off any adhesive that squishes out with a barely damp sponge.

Got a stain or a big, ugly rip in your beautiful wallpaper? If you can find a matching leftover scrap, you can fix it this way:

  • Cut a square or rectangular replacement piece that is a little bit larger than the damaged area, making sure to match the pattern exactly.
  • Attach the patch to the wall with masking tape.
  • Cut through both the patch and the wallpaper using a utility knife and a metal straightedge.

Don't make straight cuts.

  • Remove the patch from the wall and put it somewhere safe.
  • Use hot water-soaked rag to dampen the area to be patched, and scrape it out (and all remaining adhesive) with a putty knife.
  • Clean the patch area with a damp sponge and let dry.
  • Apply a thin coating of adhesive to the back of the dampened patch.
  • Position the patch so the pattern matches, then carefully smooth it down with a clean damp cloth or a seam roller.
  • Sponge off any adhesive that squishes out.