Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Methods to Remove Wallpaper

Wallpaper can be used to change the look of any room or create a beautiful accent wall. Sometimes people use wallpaper to cover blemishes on a wall. Either way, you may have some wallpaper in your home and want to remove it. Today I will be reviewing, three different methods of removing wallpaper. 

Methods to Remove Wallpaper

I am not an expert or professional by any means. As the saying goes; I'm a jack of all trades but a master of none. Over the years I have used every one of these methods at one time or another.

Method 1: Steam Removal

  • You can rent or buy a wallpaper steamer.
  • Fill the steamer reservoir with water to the fill line.
  • Attach the handle and hose to the steamer plate.
  • Plug in the machine and turn it on. Wait 5 or 10 minutes for it to build up steam.
  • Place the steamer plate on the wall, and hold it for 20 to 30 seconds. Remove the plate and scrap the wet wallpaper with a putty knife.
  • You will want to score the section of wall you are steaming with a scoring tool or razor knife before placing the steamer plate. Do not press hard while scoring the wallpaper as you may damage the wall.

Method 2: Water and Vinegar

  • Mix equal parts of hot water and vinegar in a spray bottle or a bucket.
  • Spray to sponge the solution on a four-foot section of the wall.
  • Wait about five minutes to allow the solution to work.
  • Scrap the wet section with a putty knife to remove the wallpaper.
  • Again, score the wall section first with a scoring tool or razor knife.
Method 3: Chemical Liquid Stripper
  • There are different brands of liquid strippers available. I have always used DIF by Zinsser. It's pre-mixed and ready to use.
  • Score the wallpaper with a razor knife or scoring tool.
  • Spray it onto the wallpaper, and wait a few minutes before scraping it with a putty knife.
With any of these three methods, you will want to tape off the baseboard and about 12 inches onto the floor with plastic. This will make clean up easier.

You may have to repeat the method, sometimes on the first try the wallpaper will come off leaving the backer.

Tip: If you're removing wallpaper from Drywall be careful not to use too much water and oversoak the walls. Too much water may damage the drywall.

There is more work to be done after the wallpaper is off:

After the wallpaper is off, remove any remaining glue residue from the walls. For this, use hot water and a sponge and wipe the walls clean. 

Before painting, I always use fine-grained sandpaper and lightly sand the walls. Now, patch any cracks or small holes in the walls before painting with a good primer. Then, paint your finish coat in your desired color. Happy wallpaper removal!

Find more DIY Projects and Decor here:

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  1. Ah, sound advice, Sam. I have helped hang wallpaper once and helped 'remove' wallpaper another time. Both were 'first-time' experiences, so DIY advice is always welcome. :)

  2. I've only removed wallpaper once in my life and it was enough to know, I never want to put up wallpaper again. I did use the DIF and it worked quite well. I was very sore after finishing the job, even though I had my dad helping me. Going up and down the ladder all day was physically taxing. Sadly, I didn't realize I had missed cleaning the glue off well in one spot until I painted. I don't know if anyone else would see it, but I see it everyday since we removed wallpaper in my kitchen. All that said, I would still do the job myself instead of hiring someone to do it for me.

    1. I meant to ask: Which method did you prefer?

    2. If the wallpaper is on a plaster wall, I prefer using a steamer. On Drywall I use the DIF so don't over soak the wall and ruin the drywall. The steamer is more of a mess but I like it.

  3. This is good advice on different methods to remove wallpaper and thank you for your useful tips. Have to say it is one of my least favourite DIY jobs to do, but is doable yourself. Yes also interested to know which method you prefer and which you find the fastest?

    1. I prefer the steamer if the wllpaper is on a plaster wall. If it's on drywall I use the DIF.

  4. We inherited our house from my parents, who wallpapered both bathrooms (the last place one should wallpaper because of the steam from the showers). After all these years, the wallpaper in both bathrooms is peeling badly. We have heard how miserable a job it is to remove, so we have been putting off tackling these jobs. Which of the methods you described do you prefer? Thanks very much, Sam!

    1. The steamer is my prefered method if the wallpaper is on plaster. It makes more of a mess but I think it is more efficient and eaiser to remove.

  5. Long ago, when we had wallpaper we went with the steamer method - We haven't had wallpaper in many decades, but I'm actually considering it again for one of our rooms - I'm thinking peel and stick murals, but I'm not sure. I remember our first apartment in 1984 (omg a lifetime ago, we did a wall with grass cloth - it looked really great)

  6. We have tried every method that you listed here Sam. We went wallpaper crazy many years ago and while we enjoyed it for a while, the removal remained with us for a long time. Needless to say we have not had wallpaper for years. The removal keeps me from doing it again.


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