Plumbing, Heating and Pool Repair Guides

Removing Wallpaper Demystified


If you’ve wanted to take down that old wallpaper, but have been worried thanks to the horror stories from others, don’t worry! Removing wallpaper doesn’t have to be so difficult. In fact, you may be pleasantly surprised at how much easier it is than you think to get rid of that old wallpaper and create a haven you’ll love to come home to.

The first thing you want to do is test with a small area. Try to pull the wallpaper back. Does it peel off with only leaving glue on the wall? If so, then it’s your lucky day! This is called strippable wallpaper and is pretty easy to remove if you know what you’re doing.

Removing Strippable Wallpaper

All you will need is hot water, a sponge and a wide spatula. Use your sponge and hot water to soften the gluey paste that’s under the wallpaper. Then take your spatula and scrape as much of it off as possible. Use one cup of white vinegar mixed with one gallon of water to rinse the walls once you have all the paper and as much glue as possible off.

Removing Non-Strippable Wallpaper

If your wallpaper is not strippable then it’s probably older and been there a while. First you’ll have to get some very hot water and apply it to the paper with a sponge (if the room is warm, turn the temp down so it doesn’t evaporate so quickly). Put enough so that drops are clearly visible then use a spray bottle to put on wallpaper remover solution. Do small areas at a time.

Let it soak for a few minutes then try to scrape the wallpaper off with a spatula or putty knife – whatever you have. If it’s being stubborn then redo the water and solvent and let it soak again.


If wallpaper has just been layered on time after time then it’s going to be much more difficult to remove it. If this is the situation you’re in then you should break down and just go rent a wallpaper steamer. A wallpaper steamer is just a flat plate that connects with a hot water source through a hose. Before you begin, put down some plastic on the floor where you’re working.

Turn it on and let it heat up. Be sure you also have a baking sheet or something handy to set the hot plate of the steamer on. Start at the top of the wall and keep the steamer there until the wallpaper starts to get softer. Don’t try to reach up to the top either, as the steam and hot water condensation can easily drip down on you – use a step stool or ladder! Once soft, move the steamer a little to the side to start on that area while you’re scraping off the wallpaper it just softened.


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