How To Easily Remove Wallpaper

How To Easily Remove Wallpaper

How To Easily Remove Wallpaper

Understanding the Type of Your Wallpaper

Before undertaking the task of removing your wallpaper, it is essential to have a clear understanding of what exactly you are dealing with. The removal process can be significantly affected by the type of wallpaper that's been applied to your walls. Essentially, there are two types of wallpapers; strippable and traditional.

Strippable Wallpaper

This is the easiest wallpaper to remove because it's designed to be easily stripped off the walls. Strippable wallpapers are typically made of vinyl and have a backing that can be smoothly peeled away leaving minimum residue.

Traditional Wallpaper

Traditional or old-school wallpaper is more challenging to remove. This type often requires a solution to help soften and break down the adhesive holding it to the wall. You will have to be extra careful not to damage your walls during the removal process.

Identifying your Wallpaper Type

Now that you are familiar with the two general types of wallpaper, the next step is identifying which type you have. There's a simple test you can do to determine this.

The Peel Test

Find an inconspicuous spot on your wall, preferably in a corner where any damage won't be too noticeable. Try to peel back a small strip of the paper. If it comes off easily, leaving a thin paper layer behind, you have strippable wallpaper. If, however, the wallpaper only comes off in tiny pieces or not at all, you're dealing with traditional wallpaper.

Factors that Influence Easy Removal

Knowing the type of your wallpaper is crucial. However, several additional factors also influence how easy (or challenging) the removal process will be.

Wall Surface

If your walls are unprimed or poorly primed before wallpaper application, the removal can be problematic. The adhesive could stick to the wall material itself, making it far more challenging to remove without causing substantial damage.

Age of Wallpaper

The age and condition of your wallpaper can also significantly impact the removal process. Older wallpapers can be notoriously difficult to remove, especially if they have several layers.

Finally, understanding your wallpaper type is not only about identifying it as strippable or traditional. Wallpapers come in different materials and designs, each requiring a specific removal approach. The type of wallpaper forms the foundation of your removal plan, and proper identification can save you time, effort, and potential damage to your walls.

Additional Tools for Wallpaper Removal

Depending on the type and condition of your wallpaper, you might need additional tools to help with its removal. Among these are wallpaper scoring tools, wallpaper steamers, and adhesive removers. These tools can make the process more manageable, especially when dealing with stubborn, traditional wallpapers.

Tools and Materials You Will Need

Before embarking on the process of wallpaper removal, it's crucial to assemble the right tools and materials. Having everything at your disposal makes the task easier and more efficient.

Scoring Tool

The scoring tool is an important and handy device that prepares the wallpaper for removal. It works by creating tiny holes in the wallpaper that allows the removal solution to penetrate deeper, facilitating easier removal.

Wallpaper Removal Solution

Next, you will need a wallpaper removal solution. These are readily available in any home improvement store. But if you prefer a DIY approach, a mixture of vinegar and hot water in equal proportions works just as well.

Spray Bottle or Garden Sprayer

A spray bottle is used to apply the solution to the wallpaper. For larger rooms, a garden sprayer might be more efficient as it allows you to cover a larger area more quickly.

Scraper Tool

The scraper tool is used to gently pull the wallpaper off the wall once the solution has soaked in. Ensure the scraper is not too sharp, so it doesn't damage the underlying wall.

Bucket and Sponges

These are used for application of warm water, and for cleaning the walls after the wallpaper has been scrapped off.

Plastic Drop Cloth

To protect your floor and furnishings from the removal solution and water, spread a plastic drop cloth on the floor and over any nearby furniture.

Towels or Rags

Regardless of how careful you are, this process will get messy. Towels and rags are handy for quickly cleaning up any spills or excess water.

Protective Gears

Finally, it’s essential to protect yourself. Gloves protect your hands from the solution and any scratches while scraping off the wallpaper. Glasses secure your eyes against any potential splashes. Also, wearing an old long-sleeved shirt can protect your skin.

With these tools and materials, you’re now equipped to effectively and efficiently remove wallpaper, paving the way for a fresh room decoration.

Preparing the Room for Wallpaper Removal

Before you start the process of wallpaper removal, there are a few crucial steps you need to take to prepare the room. These steps will protect your room and belongings from the mess that often comes with wallpaper removal, and also make the removal process smoother and more efficient.

Move or Cover Your Furniture

The first step to prepare your room for wallpaper removal is to move all furniture out of the room if possible. If not, move the furniture to the center of the room and cover it with plastic sheets. This will protect your furniture from water and wallpaper scraps that might be scattered during the wallpaper removal process.

Use Protective Sheets on the Floor

Similarly, cover the floors with thick plastic sheets or drop cloths. This protective covering will make it easier to clean up after the wallpaper removal process as you can simply collect the sheet and dispose of the debris.

Remove Wall Plates and Outlet Covers

For easy removal of wallpaper around switches and outlets, remove all wall plates and outlet covers. Be sure to keep the screws securely, so you can reinstall them later.

Turn Off Electricity in the Room

Since water is often used in wallpaper removal, it's safe to turn off the electricity in the room to prevent any chance of electrical shocks.

Clean the Walls

Wipe down your walls with a damp cloth to remove any dust or loose particles. This will give you a clean surface which will making the wallpaper removal process easier and more effective.

Gather Your Tools

Make sure you have all your tools gathered and within reach. You'll need items like a wallpaper scorer, a wallpaper scraper or putty knife, a spray bottle filled with hot water or a wallpaper remover solution, and a sponge or rag for wiping down the walls.

Prepare Yourself

Finally, put on some old clothes that you won't mind getting messy with, and protect your eyes with safety glasses. Now, you're ready to start the wallpaper removal process.

Starting the Wallpaper Removal Process

Beginning the actual process of wallpaper removal can feel daunting, but with the right preparation and tools, it's a manageable task. This guide will take you through step-by-step instructions to facilitate you in removing your wallpaper efficiently.

Prepare Your Tools

Firstly, gather all the needed tools for the process. This includes a wallpaper scoring tool, wallpaper stripping solution, a spray bottle, a wide putty knife, and old towels or plastic sheets to protect your flooring.

Protect Your Room

Before you begin, protect your floors and trim with plastic sheets or old towels. This will prevent accidentally damaging these areas during the wallpaper removal process

Scoring The Wallpaper

Take the wallpaper scoring tool and make circular movements on the wallpaper. The goal is to create tiny holes in the wallpaper's surface that will allow your stripping solution to penetrate.

Avoid Pressing Too Hard

Pay attention to the pressure you apply - you want to puncture the wallpaper and not the wall beneath it. Too much force can damage the wall underneath, leading to additional repair work.

Applying The Stripping Solution

Fill your spray bottle with the wallpaper stripping solution, following the manufacturer's instructions for dilution if applicable. Apply this generously onto the scored wallpaper, Then, give it some time for the solution to soak in and start to dissolve the adhesive. This usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

Stripping The Wallpaper

After letting the solution set, begin to strip the wallpaper. Start at a corner and use your putty knife to scrape off the wallpaper gently. Remember to always maintain a low angle to reduce the risk of wall damage. If certain segments are hard to remove, reapply the stripping solution and allow it more time to soak.

Cleaning Up

After the wallpaper has been removed completely, clean the walls with warm water and mild soap to remove any residual adhesive. Allow the walls to dry completely before proceeding with any paint or new wallpaper application.

Patience is key during the wallpaper removal process. Some wallpapers may be harder to remove than others, but with persistence, the results will be worth it.

Techniques for Removing Uncooperative Wallpaper

If your wallpaper is proving challenging to peel off, don't fasten your defeat-belt quite yet. Several tried-and-true methods can help ease the operation of stubborn wallpaper removal. Here are some of the top techniques:

1. Steam Removal

A steam wallpaper stripper is a household tool that uses boiling water to produce steam, which is then applied to the wallpaper to soften and loosen the adhesive beneath. This method can be particularly effective for wallpaper that has been on a wall for a long period.

2. Chemical Strippers

Chemical strippers, available from most home improvement stores, can be used if your wallpaper is water resistant or if other methods fail. These chemicals penetrate the paper and soften the glue behind it, making it easier to remove. Always use these strippers while wearing safety goggles and gloves, and ensure the room is well-ventilated.

3. Fabric Softener

A solution of fabric softener and hot water may also be helpful. This homemade mixture is typically sprayed onto the wallpaper, where it penetrates and softens the adhesive.


Before you start removing the wallpaper, cover the floor with a drop-cloth or old sheets to protect it from moisture and possible stubborn wallpaper strips. This is also a good opportunity to remove any wall fixtures or outlets that could get in the way.


Irrespective of the method you use, aim to work in small sections. Begin at a corner or seam and gently lift the wallpaper using a scraper. Don't rush - damage can easily occur through hasty removal.

Keep It Wet

The key to removing stubborn wallpaper efficiently is to keep it moist. The moisture softens the adhesive and makes the paper easier to remove. Therefore, don’t let the wallpaper dry out at any point during the process

Post-removal clean-up

After removing the wallpaper, you will need to clean up residual adhesive from the wall. A hand sander or sanding block can help remove any leftover glue. Remember to sweep up any dust before applying a new layer of wallpaper or paint.

These techniques should help you tackle even the most stubborn wallpaper, turning a once daunting task into an achievable home improvement project.

Treating and Cleaning the Exposed Wall Surface

Once you've successfully removed all traces of wallpaper, it's time to treat and clean the exposed wall surface. This is a crucial step in the wallpaper removal process as it helps to ensure that your walls are in the best possible condition before you start redecorating.

Inspect the Wall

First off, you will need to inspected the wall surface for any imperfections such as holes, scratches, or loose plaster. If such issues are discovered, it's advised to repair them right away using a suitable wall filler and a scraper. Wait for it to dry, then sand it over for a smooth finish.

Clean the Wall

Cleaning the wall requires time and patience. It's advised to use a mild detergent diluted in warm water, and wipe down the entire surface with a sponge or cloth. For stubborn paste residues, a specialized wallpaper remover or vinegar solution might be required. Always rinse the wall with clean water afterward and allow it to dry completely.

Tips for Cleaning the Wall

  • Always work from top to the bottom to prevent dirty water from dripping onto clean areas.
  • Change your water often to make sure you're not spreading the old paste around.

Priming the Wall

If you intend to repaint the wall or apply new wallpaper, you'll need to prime it. Priming creates a clean, slightly abrasive surface for the new paint or wallpaper to adhere to. Make sure to apply a primer that is designed for your specific wall type and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Final Prep Work

The final step in treating and cleaning the exposed wall surface is to vacuum and clean your work area thoroughly. This helps to ensure that you won't have any dust or debris on your walls or in your paint or adhesive when you begin the next step of your project.

Tips for Dealing with Stubborn Residues

When removing wallpaper, one of the biggest challenges can be addressing the sticky, stubborn residues that often linger on the surface of the walls. These residues occur when adhesive from the wallpaper seeps into the wall. Here are tips to help you tackle these stubborn residues effectively.

Use of Water and Vinegar Mix

A proven homemade solution to deal with wallpaper residue is a mixture of warm water and vinegar. There is no precise measurement, however, a 50/50 mixture tends to do the trick. Apply the mixture to the wall using a spray bottle or sponge, allow it to soak for a few minutes, and then scrape off the residue using a wallpaper scraping tool or a plastic putty knife. Always remember to perform a spot test first and avoid over-saturating the wall.

Commercial Wallpaper Remover

If the vinegar solution isn't working or you prefer a product specifically designed for this task, consider using a commercial wallpaper remover. These come in gel or spray form, and they're designed to break down adhesives quickly and effectively. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions.


Another effective method of removing stubborn residues from your walls is using a wallpaper steamer. This involves using extreme heat to soften the residue, making it easier to scrape off. The downside of this process is it can be time-consuming and potentially hazardous if not handled appropriately.

Use of Fabric Softener

A surprisingly effective and budget-friendly hack for removing tough residues is using fabric softener and warm water. Mix equal parts fabric softener and warm water, and then apply it to your walls. The fabric softener helps to break down the adhesive, making the job much easier. Once done, use warm water to wash down the wall.

Care with Drywall

When dealing with residues on drywall, caution is needed. Over-saturating the walls can cause damage, potentially necessitating repairs. Avoid also forceful scraping which may gouge the soft material. Instead, use gentle techniques with mild remover solutions.

Dealing with stubborn wallpaper residues may require a bit of patience. But with the right tools, techniques, and products, your walls will be residue-free and ready for your next decorating project.

Final Touches and Preparing the Wall for New Decorations or Paint

Once the old wallpaper has been completely removed, it’s time to add the final touches to the wall and get it ready for new decorations, a fresh coat of paint, or the application of new wallpaper. Here are a few steps to guide you through this part of the process:

Inspect the Wall for Damage

Firstly, you’ll want to inspect your walls carefully for any signs of damage. Small damages or residues can affect the appearance of your new paint or wallpaper. If you spot any remaining adhesive, you can remove it using a sponge and a mixture of warm water and vinegar. For any cracks or holes, use a premixed joint compound to fill them in. Allow these repairs to dry fully before proceeding to the next step.

Smooth the Walls

Preparation is key to ensuring your new decoration looks its best. After any repairs have dried, sand the walls using fine-grit sandpaper. This will smooth out any rough patches and create a more receptive surface for paint or adhesive. Then, dust off the walls using a clean, damp cloth to ensure a clean surface.

Priming the Wall

Applying a suitable primer is crucial for the success of the new decoration whether you are painting or applying a new wallpaper. If you’re using paint, a primer can provide a uniform and clean canvas that can allow your paint to appear true to its color. For wallpaper, a primer can create a surface that's easier for the adhesive to stick to.

Preparation of Paint or Wallpaper

The requirements in this step largely depend on whether you’re looking to paint or apply new wallpaper. If you’re painting, consulting with a paint expert and selecting the right type of paint for your wall and room condition is crucial. If you’re putting on new wallpaper, ensure the patterns match, the seams won’t be visible, and that you have all required tools for application ready.

The quality of preparation can make a substantial difference in the finished appearance of your walls. Therefore, being thorough and patient during this phase is key to a successful and visually pleasing result on your wall redecoration.