Avoiding charges for strip lights, fairy lights & stickers

If your landlord can prove that marks left on your walls were caused by you and not by normal wear and tear, they can legally make deductions from your deposit (or a claim, if you're in a zero deposit tenancy).

We often notice marks left from strip lights, fairy lights (or anything stuck on with a sticker) leaves on damage walls when people vacate their rental property. If you use sticky tape to hang your lights, it can damage the paint on walls and ceilings by pulling it away when you go to remove them. The same goes for wallpaper, and it may also leave a sticky residue that can be difficult to remove. If they frequently rub against the wall, they can cause the paint to wear away too.

How to remove your strip lights or fairy lights without damage:

  1. Test a small area: Make sure the lights are switched off. Before removing the entire string of lights, test a small area of the tape's adhesion. Select an inconspicuous spot on the wall and gently lift the tape to see how it reacts. This will give you an idea of the tape's stickiness and whether it may cause any damage during removal.
  2. Heat the tape: If the tape seems firmly stuck to the wall, you can try applying heat to soften the adhesive. Use a hairdryer on low to medium heat and direct the warm air towards the tape. Move the hairdryer in a back-and-forth motion while keeping it a few inches away from the wall. The heat should help loosen the adhesive.
  3. Slowly peel off the tape: Starting at one end of the tape, slowly and gently peel it away from the wall. Pull at a low angle, parallel to the wall, rather than straight out from the wall. Applying steady and even pressure can help prevent damage.

Still left with residue from these or from any stickers or sellotape? Here are some tips on how to remove it:

  1. Very gently scrape off as much as possible with a credit card or other flat object. Be careful not to scrape too hard, as this could damage the paint.
  2. If there is any remaining adhesive, apply a bit more heat to it with a hair dryer or heat gun. This will help to loosen the adhesive and make it easier to remove.
  3. Mix a small amount of mild detergent or dish soap with warm water. Moisten a cloth with the soapy water and gently rub the residue in circular motions. If the soapy water doesn't work, you can try using a vinegar solution. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water. Dampen a cloth with the solution and gently rub the residue. If it is stubborn, you can apply the chosen solution directly and let it soak for a few minutes.
  4. Once the adhesive is removed, dampen a cloth and wipe the area then dry the wall with a clean, dry cloth. This will remove any remaining residue and prevent it from attracting dirt and dust.

How to hang lights without damaging your walls in the future:

To avoid damaging your walls, it is important to use a safe and secure method to hang your lights. You can use damage-free adhesive hooks or clips, or you can just weave them around your headboard if you want them in your bedroom.