How To Steam Off Wallpaper

How To Steam Off Wallpaper

How To Steam Off Wallpaper

Introduction to Wallpaper Removal

Removing old wallpaper is often a necessary step in a home makeover. Whether you're looking to freshen up the space with a new look, or simply want to repair damaged surfaces, understanding the method of steam removal is integral. This easy and effective technique can help you revitalize your room in no time.

Why Choose Steam Removal?

Choosing the right method of wallpaper removal depends on many factors such as the type of wallpaper, the condition of the wall, and the adhesive used. Steam removal stands out for its effectiveness on a wide range of wallpapers, including stubborn and older wallpapers that are tougher to remove. This method is also ideal for minimizing damage to the plaster and drywall underneath.

The Steam Removal Process

The process involves using a steam machine to apply warm steam to the wallpaper. This softens and dissolves the glue that holds the wallpaper in place, making it easy to scrape off. Using a steaming machine is a fairly simple process, requiring just some basic tools and techniques.

What You Need for Steam Wallpaper Removal

Conducting a steam removal process requires specific tools. Most importantly, you'll need a wallpaper steamer. Other important tools include a scraping tool or putty knife, a sponge or a clean rag, a ladder, and plastic sheets to protect your floor from the dripping and scraped off wallpaper. Always ensure you wear safety goggles and work gloves for protection against the hot steam and sharp tools.

Finding the Right Wallpaper Steamer

A wallpaper steamer can be rented from a home improvement store, or purchased if you have multiple rooms to redecorate. When choosing a steamer, consider factors like the size of its plate (the part that touches the wall) and the length of the steam hose. Both aspects will affect the ease and speed of the wallpaper removal process.

Preparing for the Process

Before you begin, move as many pieces of furniture away from the wall as possible and lay down protective sheets on the floor. This will make your work easier and prevent the steam or scraped-off wallpaper from damaging your floor or other surfaces. It will also save you clean-up time.

Starting the Steam Removal

You should allow the steamer to heat up before starting. Once it’s ready, apply the steam at the top of the wallpaper and gradually work your way down. Applying steam too long in one spot can damage the wall underneath, so it’s crucial to have a consistent rhythm. Scrape off the loosened wallpaper with your scraping tool, and use a wet sponge to wipe away any residual glue on the wall.

Importance of Proper Preparation

When it comes to removing wallpaper, preparation determines not just the success of the process but also the condition of the wall underneath afterwards. A lack of preparation can result in damage to your wall surfaces, unnecessary added time and effort, and even health risks. Understanding why this step is crucial will help to ensure a pristine and smooth wall surface ready for its next treatment.

Ensuring Situational Safety

Firstly, wallpaper removal can be a messy and intricate process. The steam can make the floors slippery, and scraping off old wallpaper can lead to fragments littering the floor. Ensure that the room is clear of furniture or breakable items that could potentially get damaged during the process. Cover your floor and other surfaces with drop cloths to catch the wet, steamy paper as it falls.

Preparation of the Walls

Preparing the walls for the process of wallpaper removal plays a significant role in the result. Walls should be inspected for any signs of damage beforehand. If there any cracks or holes, these will need to be filled and sanded smooth before you begin. A failure to prepare the walls properly can result in uneven and damaged wall surfaces.

Protecting Health and Environment

Steaming off wallpaper involves dealing with heat and moisture, both of which can be potentially harmful if not handled correctly. Make sure to turn off any electricity around the walls where you will be working to avoid potential accidents. Use protective gloves and long-sleeved clothing to prevent burns from the steam.

Tools and Equipment preparation

Last, but certainly not least, is the preparation of your tools. Ensure your steamer is in working order and that you have plenty of scraping tools at your disposal. Depending on the area to be covered, having extra blades for your scraping tool may be necessary. Having a ladder or step stool that's durable and stable for you to work comfortably and get to the higher sections of your wall is vital too.

Proper Waste Disposal

When removing wallpaper, you're going to be dealing with a lot of waste. Depositing the old wallpaper in bags as it comes off the wall is a great way to keep the mess under control. Plan for disposal in a way that's safe and environmentally conscious.

In essence, proper preparation for steaming off wallpaper involves the stage of setting up your workspace, analyzing the wall condition, considering safety precautions, and making an efficient plan for clean-up.

Necessary Tools and Materials for Steaming off Wallpaper

To successfully steam off wallpaper, it is vital to have the right tools and materials at hand. This section will provide you with a detailed list of everything you need to make the process as efficient and straightforward as possible.

Wallpaper Steamer

Of course, the primary tool required is a wallpaper steamer. Rent or purchase one from your local home improvement store. They typically come as kits featuring a water reservoir or boiler, a steam plate, and a hose to deliver the steam to the plate. Choose a steamer with a good-sized plate to cover large areas for faster removal.

Scoring Tool

This tool is used to create small punctures in the wallpaper, allowing the steam to permeate the paper and glue for easier removal. Avoid pressing too hard when scoring to prevent damage to the wall surfaces.

Plastic Scraper or Putty Knife

This is required to gentle lift and peel off the steamed wallpaper. Select a plastic scraper or a flexible putty knife to avoid gouging the walls underneath.


Always exercise caution when using these tools to avoid unintentionally damaging your walls.


You'll need a couple of buckets: one for clean, warm water, and one to dispose of the outdated wallpaper.

Sponges and Rags

You'll use these for cleanup after removing the wallpaper and to wipe and rinse off any residual adhesive left on the walls.

Ladders or Stepladders

You will certainly need a ladder or step ladder to reach the higher sections of the wall. Ensure it is steady and safe to use, particularly if you're working on a stairwell.

Protective Gear

Last but not least, don’t forget crucial protective gear. It’s important to wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and closed-toe shoes to shield against any hot water or steam burns. Also consider wearing safety glasses to protect your eyes.

Having the right tools and materials can make the task of steaming off wallpaper less daunting and more efficient. Now that you are equipped with the list of requirements, you can proceed to the next section on how to prepare the room before the actual wallpaper removal.

Preparing the Room for Wallpaper Removal

One crucial aspect of wallpaper removal is setting up your room correctly as it helps protect your environment and makes the whole task easier.

Relocate Furniture and Other Items

Firstly, remove all items from the walls such as decorations, artworks, and nails. Large furniture that is close to the wall should be moved to the center of the room and covered with a tarp or plastic drop cloth to protect them from potential damage caused by moisture, or dust during wallpaper removal. Always remember to put protective covering on the floor as well.

Prepare the Wall Outlets

Before starting to steam off the wallpaper, switch off the electricity in the room to avoid any potential hazard. Once done, you can cover all wall outlets with a waterproof tape to prevent water seepage that could damage your electrical system.

Pre-cleaning the Walls

Use a simple cleaning solution or a mixture of warm water and mild detergent to lightly clean the walls. Let them dry naturally before starting with the wallpaper removal process. This pre-cleaning process aids in loosening up the wallpaper glue and ensures that the steam can penetrate more deeply.

Peeling off the Top Layer

Some wallpapers have a vinyl top layer that needs to be manually removed before you can steam off the glue and paper underneath. Make a small cut in the corner of the wall and try to peel off the top layer. If it comes off easily, continue on the entire wall.

Fixing Loose Plasters

If you notice loose plaster on the wall, now is the time to reattach it. You can use adhesive plaster or wall repair kit for this purpose. Let it dry before proceeding with the wallpaper removal process.

Prepping the Steamer

While prepping the room, start heating up your wallpaper steamer. It takes a little time for the water to heat up and start producing steam. It's always better to have the steamer ready when you are done with the room preparation.

Using Protective Gear

Lastly, don't forget the most important thing - safety. Use gloves to protect your hands from hot steam and goggles to shield your eyes. Also, use slip-resistant footwear for safety if the floors are likely to get wet during the process.

The Process of Steaming off Wallpaper

Removing old wallpaper can give your room a fresh new look. Among the most effective methods is steaming off the wallpaper. Getting rid of old, dated or just worn-out wallpaper can breathe new life into any space. Here’s a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to steam off wallpaper.

Preliminary Steps

Before you begin steaming off the wallpaper, prepare your room for the process. Remove all decorations, switch off electrical outlets and cover furniture with drop cloths to protect them from the steam and the mess created when stripping the wallpaper. Always put on safety goggles and gloves to protect yourself during this task.

Choosing the Right Wallpaper Steamer

The right steamer can make the wallpaper removal process significantly easier. A wallpaper steamer works by releasing heated water vapor that permeates the wallpaper and weakens the adhesive behind it. Choose a steamer with a large, flat surface for efficiently covering wide areas and a smaller attachment for reaching awkward areas like corners or around fixtures.

Operating the Wallpaper Steamer

Fill the steamer with water to the indicated level and turn it on. Wait for the water to heat up until the steamer begins to produce steam. Hold the plate of the steamer against the wallpaper, starting from the top and slowly work your way downwards.

Stripping the Wallpaper

After a section of the wallpaper has been steamed, the adhesive should have softened enough to remove it. Use a scraper tool to peel away the loosened wallpaper. Remember to be gentle to avoid damaging the underlying surface.

Clean Up the Residue

Even after the wallpaper has been removed, some residue may still be left. This can prevent new paint or wallpaper from adhering properly. Wash the wall with soapy water and a sponge. For stubborn residues, a mix of vinegar and water can help.

Repairing the Wall

After removing the wallpaper and cleaning up the residue, it’s time to repair any damage caused during the steaming process. Fill any holes or cracks with a patching compound. Once dried, sand the area smoothly to prepare the surface for the next step.

Prepare for the New Wallpaper or Paint

Prepare the walls by applying a primer. This will help the new paint or wallpaper adhere better and result in a professional finish.

Steaming off wallpaper is a process that requires patience and care, but with these steps, the task can be simplified, making for a rewarding DIY project.

Dealing with Difficulties: Tips and Tricks

Attempting to steam off wallpaper can occasionally present some obstacles, adjusting your approach can help overcome these challenges. Here are a set of tips and tricks for effectively dealing with these difficulties.

Dealing with Older Wallpapers

Old wallpaper can sometimes be more difficult to remove due to the glue becoming brittle over time. To tackle this issue, you should ensure that the steam has been applied long enough to rehydrate the adhesive. Increase your steaming time if necessary and be patient as the old glue rehydrates and softens.

Removing Strippable Wallpapers

Many modern wallpapers are strippable, meaning they can be peeled off without the need for steam. You can identify these by trying to peel them from the wall. If they come off easily, you can save yourself the time and effort of steaming.

Wallpaper on Plaster

Wallpapers on plaster can be more difficult to steam off due to the porous nature of plaster. This type of wall can absorb the moisture from the steam, causing it to dry out and make the process harder. In this instance, consider using a wallpaper stripping solution in addition to steam.

Preventing Damage to the Wall

It's important to be gentle throughout this process to prevent damaging the wall underneath the wallpaper. Using a scraper tool can assist in this but remember to keep the angle low and avoid digging the corners into the wall.

Dealing with Residual Adhesive

After the wallpaper has been removed, you may notice some adhesive still sticking to the wall. To remove this, you can use a sponge and a solution of warm water and a mild dish soap. Gently rub the wall until the adhesive comes off.

Cleaning up

Once the wall is clear of wallpaper and adhesive, wipe the wall with clean water. This removes any remaining soap solution and leaves your wall ready for whatever you plan to do next, whether that's applying new wallpaper or painting.

Cleaning Up After Wallpaper Removal

Cleanup is an essential part of any DIY project, particularly when it comes to wallpaper removal. Proper cleanup ensures a clean and safe work area for any subsequent redecorating efforts.

Dispose of Old Wallpaper

Your first task after successfully steaming off the old wallpaper is disposing of the debris. The removed wallpaper should be neatly gathered into sturdy garbage bags. Always remember to clean the area thoroughly to remove any scraps of paper that could become a tripping hazard.

Clean the Wall Surface

Once the wallpaper has been removed and disposed of, your next step is to clean the wall surface. This is a critical process as it helps to remove any residue left behind by the wallpaper glue. Use a sponge or soft cloth dipped in warm water and a mild detergent. Gently scrub the wall, ensuring to cover all areas for a thorough clean.


Don't rush this step. It is important that all glue residue is completely removed so that the new wallpaper or paint sticks properly to the wall.

Dry the Walls

After cleaning and removing the wallpaper glue, it's time to let the walls dry. Ensure the room is well-ventilated to speed up the drying process. A dehumidifier can be used to help remove moisture from the room, particularly in more humid climates.

Inspect for Damage

Once the walls are dry, thoroughly inspect them for any damages incurred during the wallpaper removal process. Fixing any damages, such as holes or cracks is critical for preparing the walls for new wallpaper or paint.


If the damage is too severe or you're unsure of how to fix it, consider hiring a professional to ensure the job is done correctly.

Prepare for Redecorating

With the walls clean, dry, and damage-free, you are ready for the next step, whether it's redecorating with new wallpaper or preparing for a fresh coat of paint. This crucial stage lays the groundwork for a successful redecoration project.

Final Touches and Room Redecoration Suggestions

After performing the task of steaming off old wallpaper, getting your room back to its lustrous beauty is essential. The two main phases involved in this process are: the 'Final Touches' where you make sure the walls are in their best condition, and 'Room Redecoration', the exciting part where you bring the room back to life with new appearance.

Cleaning and Repairing the Walls

As a first step in the 'Final Touches' phase, remove any residual adhesive left over from your wallpaper. This will ensure a smooth base for any painting or re-wallpapering. If the wall shows any signs of damage, it's advisable to fill in any cracks or holes with putty or a similar product. Once these have dried, sand the entire wall to get an even and smooth surface.

Priming the Walls

The next step is to prime your walls. This creates a clean, white base that will allow your new wallpaper or paint color to really stand out. It also helps cover any residual spots, stains, or color variances in your underlying wall surface to ensure that nothing shows through your new finish.

Choosing New Wallpaper or Paint

As for the 'Room Redecoration' phase, the first thing to consider is whether you want to go for new wallpaper or prefer a paint finish. It is completely up to your personal taste and the kind of look you want to achieve. Wallpapers are available in an array of designs and colors, they can also give your room an artistic edge. On the other hand, painted walls give you the freedom to change colors with ease, reflecting your style and mood with little effort.

Room Styling and Theme

Deciding on a room theme will help you in selecting your color scheme and decorative elements. It could be trendy like modern minimalistic, elegant like traditional, or a fun theme for kid’s room. The new wall look should harmonize with the color and pattern of your furniture, curtains, and accessories.

Furniture arrangement and Decorations

Once the walls are done, consider rearranging your furniture or even bringing in new pieces to match your new decor. This doesn't necessarily mean you have to spend a fortune. Even minor changes, such as adding decorative pillows or a new rug, can make a significant difference. Look at every corner of your room, maybe adding a plant or an art piece can boost its elegance.

Ultimately, the choices are limitless. Use this room redecoration opportunity to unleash your creativity and give your room a personal touch that reflects who you are.