How to Clean Hairspray Buildup on Bathroom Surfaces

Your hairstyle should make a fashion statement, not a mess of your bathroom

Barbara Bellesi Zito
Reviewed by Asya Biddle
Updated May 11, 2022
Woman in the bathroom using hairspray in front of the mirror
Photo: Svitlana / Adobe Stock
Difficulty

Simple

Flex your DIY muscles.

Time to complete

30 minutes

30 minutes or less

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What you'll need:

TOOLS

  • A melamine sponge
  • A soft cloth (such as microfiber)
  • Cotton balls or pads
  • A spray bottle

SUPPLIES

  • Isopropyl alcohol (aka rubbing alcohol)
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • Fabric softener
  • Water

Hairspray holds your ‘do in place. It also has a way of holding onto bathroom surfaces, leaving unsightly residue after each spritz. But there’s hope for your bathroom, even if the big-hair trends of the 1980s return. Below we’ve listed a few methods you can try to rid your bathroom of hairspray residue. All you need are some common household products, a soft cloth or cotton pad, and a little elbow grease.

*Please note that not all of these ingredients are appropriate for all surfaces. For example, if you’re cleaning granite countertops or natural marble, check with the manufacturer before using any cleaning method.

  1. Dish Soap

    Dish soap cuts through grease and grime in the kitchen, so it’s worth a try in the bathroom, too. "A dish soap-based cleaner is an amazing non-abrasive solution that can clean anything from oil spills to mirrors,” says Asya Biddle, Angi Expert Review Board member and manager of The Dust Busters janitorial company in Williamsport, PA. “It’s also a multisurface cleaner that’s safe to use on all surfaces." 

    Add a few drops of it to a bottle of warm water, spray the solution on the affected area, and go to work with a sponge or soft cloth. If that doesn’t do the trick, try adding some rubbing alcohol to the bottle (a quarter cup for every 12 ounces of water should do the trick).

  2. White Vinegar

     Father and daughter cleaning glass shower door
    Photo: StefaNikolic / E+ / Getty Images

    Pungent in odor, vinegar also packs a punch with its ability as a cleaner. Pour equal parts water and white vinegar into a spray bottle (you could also add a drop or two of dish soap) and shake it up. Spray the solution onto surfaces and wipe them clean with a cloth. Note: This method is good for cleaning floors, too, but be sure to mop again with plain water after the surface is clear of the residue.

  3. Isopropyl Alcohol

    Wet a soft cloth or cotton pad with the alcohol and rub it onto the residue. When the surface is clean, wipe again with a damp cloth and let dry. You can also do this after a hot shower so that the steam can help loosen up the residue first. Note: If you’ve got spots that are especially covered, you can pour the alcohol on them directly and wipe it away quickly. Just be sure that your room is well ventilated.

  4. Fabric Softener

    The surfactants in the fabric softener can help dissolve the hairspray residue.Fill a spray bottle with one part fabric softener to two parts warm water and shake. Spray on the surface and work from bottom to top to avoid streaks. Then, using a gentle circular motion, clean the surface with a soft cloth. Spray again as needed until the surface is clean, then wipe down with a fresh, damp cloth.

  5. Baking Soda Paste

    Baking soda can help you clean your home’s surfaces, and you probably already have it in the pantry. Mix three parts baking soda with one part water to make a light paste, then apply it in a circular motion using a soft cloth. Wipe clean with a damp cloth and then dry. Note: Though it is gentle, baking soda is still abrasive, so proceed carefully when using it on delicate surfaces.

  6. Melamine Sponge

    Sponges made of tough-yet-gentle melamine are great for tackling common household messes. Run a sponge under water, wring it out, and gently rub the offending spot. When you’ve removed the residue, wipe the surface with a damp cloth and then a dry one.

Clean Bathroom Surfaces Often to Keep Hairspray Away

A local cleaning service will have these and other tricks up their sleeves, but this is one job where you can certainly get it done yourself. Depending on how much hairspray buildup there is, you might have to try several of these techniques to get your surfaces clean. 

Alternatively, if you find one that works, you might have to repeat the process several times to achieve the results you want. After your bathroom is clean, try your preferred method consistently to keep hairspray from building up again.

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Get quotes from top-rated pros.