How To Remove Hairspray From Bathroom Walls

Hand using a hairspray.

Not many are aware (until it’s too late) but while hairspray is perfect for holding your hairstyle in place, it can also leave nasty stains on your bathroom walls that can cause them to be discolored.

If you’ve already stained your walls with hairspray, then fret not; we’ve put together a simple-to-follow guide to explain how to remove it from your walls. First, let’s understand what hairspray is and what it contains:

What is Hairspray?

Everyone knows hairspray is ideal for holding your hair in place. It does this by using a range of chemicals, that, when applied to your hair, give it that stiff look and feel. Hairspray consists of elements such as plastic-like polymers, not all of which are water-soluble.

One of the most common polymers found in hairspray is polyvinyl pyrrolidone. This is an element that is a part of your house; it is found in the glue that holds things like plywood layers of your flooring together.

Beauty Without Cruelty Hair Spray Natural Hold - 8.5 fl oz
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There are some hairspray brands that advertise their product as containing natural holding ingredients. Typically, in this case, they are using either gum arabic or gum tragacanth; two natural polymers that work in the exact same manner.

Because these synthetic and plastic polymers are maintained using reactive solvents, such as water and alcohol, using a spray with similar properties will help remove hairspray from walls. You can also use a combination of soap, baking soda, and fabric softener to help remove hairspray from walls.

How to Remove Hairspray From Your Walls

Spot-Test Before You Start

Before diving headfirst into removing hairspray from your walls with one of the methods listed below, do a quick spot test to see how your walls will be affected by each method. Just choose a small area that is not extremely noticeable and do a test spot to see how your paint or wallpaper will react.

If you fail to do a spot test before going ahead with the removal method for the hairspray, you could cause damage to your wallpaper or paint discoloration. This will ultimately cause a worse overall look than if you had just left the hairspray on the wall and created more work for yourself by having to fix the damage you caused.

For Wallpaper

Bathroom with butterfly wallpaper.

If you have wallpaper in your bathroom, you will need to use baking soda to help remove it from the walls. Simply combine some baking soda with water in a bowl to make a paste-like substance. Once you have it at the right consistency, lightly spread it on the wall with a cloth. Once it has dried, you can dust it off the wall.

If you can find them, melamine foam erasers are a waterless option you can use for wallpaper as well. You need to be careful that you do not scrub too hard so as to not cause any damage to the wallpaper.

You can also use baking soda on fiberglass or ceramic tiles if needed to remove hairspray. Mix one part baking soda with two parts fabric softener together in a spray bottle. Gentle spray in over the area covered with residue and then wipe it off with a cloth. Finish the process by taking a damp cloth with clean water and wiping the wall clean.

1. Use a Melamine Sponge

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Extra Durable, Cleaning Pads with Durafoam, 10 Count
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You can opt to use a magic eraser if you happen to have vinyl wallpaper. These will easily remove hairspray from any vinyl wallpaper.

Just remember, however, these magic erasers can be abrasive, similar to baking soda, so make sure to do a spot check before cleaning the whole area.

2. Use Baking Soda

ARM & HAMMER Pure Baking Soda 8 oz (Pack of 6)
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Keep in mind that baking soda has an abrasive quality to it, you will want to do your spot test on the wall surface ahead of time.

Step 1: Using a mixture of baking soda and water, make a runny paste-like substance.

Step 2: Very gently and lightly, apply the paste to the area of the wall affected by the residue. In small, circular motions, work the paste into the residue. DO NOT SCRUB.

Step 3: Using a clean, damp cloth, wipe the paste off the area until it is completely clean.

For Painted Walls

Modern bathroom with white and sage green walls.

There is one simple key trick to keep in mind while you are working on removing the hairspray from your walls: keep the pressure light as you scrub. If you push too hard, you could cause damage to the paint or wallpaper.

The first thing you should try is the shampoo method. More often than not, this simple solution will fix your issue. However, if for some reason the shampoo method isn’t sufficient to complete the job, move on to one of the other methods after your wall has had time to dry.

1. Use Shampoo

Pantene, Shampoo, Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal for Dry Hair, 25.4 Fl Oz, Twin Pack
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Anytime you have a stain you need to remove from any surface in your home, be sure to always begin with the least potent form of cleaner available. This will help reduce any potential damage as you work on cleaning off the hairspray. The shampoo is, almost always, the cheapest AND mildest form of cleaner you can find.

In order to effectively shampoo your walls, mix a teaspoon of shampoo with a quart of warm water. It is best if you can combine these in a spray bottle together. This allows you to coat the walls liberally with the cleaner while not soaking the walls completely.

Once you have sprayed a decent layer of cleaner on your walls, let it sit there for a few minutes so the soap some time to emulsify the chemicals in the hairspray to make it easier to wipe off. Use a microfiber cloth to gently wipe the affected area of the wall.

Once you have wiped the cleaner and hairspray residue off the wall, use a bucket clean warm water with a sponge to finish cleaning the wall.

2. Use Rubbing Alcohol

Step 1: If you have the time, you can take a very long and hot shower so as not to wastewater. However, if you do not need to shower, just run the water at a high temperature until the whole bathroom is full of steam.

Step 2: Using a microfiber cloth, dampen it with some rubbing alcohol. Gently rub the cloth against the wall.

Step 3: IMMEDIATELY wipe off the rubbing alcohol from the wall with a new microfiber cloth that is slightly damp with clean water.

Step 4: Using the tips of your fingers (make sure they’re clean first!), run them over the spot to check and see if there is any remaining sticky residue leftover from the hairspray. If it is still sticky, repeat steps 1-3 again in order.

Once you have successfully removed all of the hairspray residues from your wall, turn on the exhaust fan to help dispel the alcohol smell, as well as remove the rest of the steam from the hot shower so you don’t get mildew.

3. Use Fabric Softener

Gain Botanicals Liquid Fabric Conditioner (Fabric Softener), Orange Blossom Vanilla, 44 Oz Bottles, Pack of 2, 96 Loads Total
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The chemical properties in fabric softener make it an excellent candidate to help clean hairspray off walls, as well as other bathroom grime.

Step 1: Combine 1 part fabric softener to 2 parts warm water together in a spray bottle.

Step 2: Spray a few light veils of mist over the affected area of your wall. Wipe from the bottom to the top of the wall using a damp microfiber cloth.

Step 3: Once the cleaner and hairspray residue is removed, use a clean wet cloth to wipe the wall clean.

4. Use a Solution With Alcohol & Soap

If for some reason you need a cleaning solution that is stronger than either the rubbing alcohol or fabric softener, you can make a quick combination of a more potent cleaning option with materials you already have.

Use equal parts rubbing alcohol and water and combine them together in a spray bottle. Add in a quick squirt of dish soap or shampoo and then you’re ready to start cleaning.

More often than not, alcohol is the main solvent found in hairspray. So, if you soak hairspray residue with this cleaner you made will help loosen the hairspray from the wall, making it easier for you to wipe it off.

Keep in mind that because alcohol is a solvent, though, it may cause damage to certain paint types and wallpaper. With this method, you will definitely want to remember to do a spot test before cleaning the whole spot on your wall or cabinet.

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