Old wallpaper can be an eyesore. In addition to some of those truly “creative” older patterns, it’s also difficult to remove. So below we’ll go into how to remove wallpaper or how to strip wallpaper you no longer want in our step-by-step guide.
Materials Needed for How to Remove Wallpaper or How to Strip Wallpaper
If you’re looking for how to strip wallpaper, you’ll need the following materials:
- Putty knife or scraper tool
- Wallpaper scoring tool
- Pressure sprayer or spray bottle
- Hot water
- Vinegar or fabric softener
- Painter’s tape
- Garbage can with bag inside
- Safety glasses
- Painter’s tarp
How to Remove Wallpaper: Step-by-Step Guide in How to Strip Wallpaper
- Your first step in how to remove wallpaper starts by covering the floor and electrical outlets. You should lay down a painter’s tarp on the floor. Also cover electric outlets and any molding with painter’s tape.
- Have a garbage can next to you to place any wallpaper in right away.
- Make sure to turn off power to any outlets you are working around. You may have to wet the wall, so you don’t want to risk electrocution.
- Find a seam on the wallpaper and try to pry it up with a scraper or putty knife. If you’re lucky, it may peel right off, or you may need to scrape a little.
- If the wallpaper will not budge, you will need to soak it in hot water. But to allow the solution to penetrate to the adhesive layer of the wallpaper, you need a scoring tool. You can run the scoring tool over the whole wallpaper surface, using light pressure to not damage the wall itself.
- You can use two types of DIY solution on stubborn wallpaper. You can mix one-part fabric softener to three parts hot water or one-part vinegar to two parts hot water. Mix these ingredients in a spray bottle, ideally a pressure sprayer.
- Spray the solution evenly across one piece of the wall, as much as you are comfortable working on at one time. You might also want to wear safety goggles in case of splashback.
- Sit back and let the solution sit for a couple of minutes. This is the easiest part in how to remove wallpaper.
- Scrape at the corner of the wallpaper with your scraper or putty knife tool. Pull the wallpaper off, which should come off in sheets.
- Repeat the process of wetting anything that is dry, letting the solution sit and peeling off the wallpaper.
- You might have to use a screwdriver to remove the panel around any electric outlets. If there is wallpaper behind the panel, try scraping the wallpaper off. If it does not come off, use the method of wetting the wallpaper, letting it sit and removing it. Make sure to cover the electrical outlet itself with painter’s tape completely before wetting anything.
- You may have some remaining adhesive on the wall from the wallpaper. Coat the adhesive with the hot water solution and let it sit like above. Remove the adhesive with the scraper.
- Clean the wall one last time with a wet rag.
- During the removal process, you might have damaged the wall with gouges. Don’t panic. You can simply add some spackling compound over those nicks. Let it dry and sand it smooth. Any paint you add will cover that compound.
- The final step in our guide on how to remove wallpaper is cleaning up. Remove the painter’s tape from the outlet and walls. Roll up the painter’s tarp, which should have caught anything that fell. Put the panel back on the electric outlet with the screwdriver. Turn the power back on to the electrical outlets.
The steps above are not the only method you can look into while learning how to remove wallpaper or how to strip wallpaper. There are also a couple of other methods you can try for the most stubborn wallpaper, be it bathroom or kitchen or living room wallpaper.
You can also find commercial solvents that help break up the wallpaper and adhesive, making it easier to learn how to remove wallpaper. Be careful to follow the directions the solvent comes with.
If the wallpaper is very old, stiff and heavy, you can also try removing it with a commercial steamer. You can rent these. You use steamers by holding them against the wallpaper until the wallpaper is easier to remove. You’ll have to employ trial and error, finding the perfect point where the wallpaper is easier to remove. Too much steam can damage the plaster or drywall, so you must be careful.
Old wallpaper can be tricky to remove as you work out how to wallpaper. Some simply peel off with a scraper tool or some come off with a homemade solution. Then there are the wallpapers that require commercial removal solutions and steamers as you work through how to strip wallpaper. Sometimes it requires a trial and error process while figuring out how to strip wallpaper. Start by seeing if the less drastic measures will remove the wallpaper and work your way up from there.