How to Remove Wallpaper

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely despise wallpaper. I HATE all wallpaper even the newer wallpaper with better prints, colors and texture. I think all wallpaper needs removed and I hope that I can encourage you to take on the job of wallpaper removal in your home.

Removing wallpaper is not as hard as you may have heard. It does depend on how many layers and if it has been painted over ten times but even the worst cases can still be removed. You can remove wallpaper on your own and I will show you how.

In my pictures I am actually removing wallpaper border but the process is the same.

Skill – Beginner

Time – 2-6 Hours

Cost – $10 – $60

Tools and Materials

Wallpaper Steamer (Optional)

Wallpaper Scorer (Optional)

Putty Knife

Spray Bottle

Fabric Softener

Wallpaper Remover (Optional)

  1. Peel Off Face of Wallpaper

Depending on the type of wallpaper you are working with there may or may not be a facing on the wallpaper. This will be a vinyl like cover over the paper. If you don’t have this kind of facing on your wallpaper you can skip this step.

If you are not sure what kind of wallpaper you are dealing with then just attempt to take the face of the paper off by sticking the putty knife under the wallpaper and pry it up until you can grab it and pull.

I have encountered wallpaper that has come off in full sheets in the past but don’t plan on this happening for you.

  1. Spay Wallpaper With Fabric Softener Solution

Spray Wallpaper

You will need to mix the fabric softener with HOT water. It should be about 20% fabric softener with 80% water. Spray all of the wallpaper so it has time to soak in. Let it soak in for a minimum of 30 minutes but the longer the better.

You can buy wallpaper removal solution like Roman Piranha, check it out by clicking the link. On most jobs I have not needed to use anything stronger then the fabric softener solution but if your struggling maybe give it a try.

  1. Scrap the Wallpaper off

Scrape Wallpaper

You will need to spray the wallpaper again right before you start scrapping. This time only spray enough that you can get to before it starts drying.

This will get messy, so you might want to put a drop cloth or plastic down.

The rest of the process will be determined by how well the wallpaper comes off. I have had the paper come off easily enough that I didn’t need to do anything except keep scrapping.

  1. Steam the Wallpaper (If Necessary)

Wallpaper Steamer

You only need to follow this step if the wallpaper is being stubborn and not coming off easily.

Follow the manufacturers directions for how to use your Steamer. Basically, you will fill the steamer with water, turn it on, put the flat steamer nozzle or cover on the wall long enough for the wallpaper to be easily scrapped off.

  1. Score Wallpaper (If Necessary)

Wallpaper Scoring Tool

If you are struggle to get the wallpaper off you can try using the Wallpaper Scoring Tool and score the wallpaper to allow the steam to penetrate the wallpaper better.

  1. Wash the walls

After you get all the wallpaper off or at lest 95% of it off, you will need to wash the walls with a mild soap and water.

That’s all there is too it. Anyone can do it. I have removed wallpaper many times and every job is different.

I wish you good luck and I hope it all comes off in full sheets for you! But don’t count on it 😊

If you have any questions leave me a comment bellow.



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5 thoughts on “How to Remove Wallpaper

  1. This is helpful. Not sure if the spraying will work in the contact paper my parent’s put in their kitchen in the late 70s. I guess it was cool then, but now, not so much. I spent a lot of time scraping and sanding one section then painted it. If I decided to do the part over the sink, I’ll try this spraying method first. I might try to sell the house “as is.” Open to suggestions on that.

    1. Selling “as is” is always an option. I tell my clients that it all comes down to the List Price. I tell them, If you sell as is you have to make sure the list price matches the condition of the home. Alternatively you can put some money and a bunch of elbow grease into the property and sell it for more and make a bigger profit.

      Sweat Equity is a great way to get more profit out of a property but it will take time and sometimes the time may not be worth it.

      1. Thank you. That makes sense. I am going to look into the cost of one repair I can’t do myself and see how it goes. I’m looking forward to buying a house in the mountains for both investment and my own vacations and don’t want to wait too long.

      2. That sounds like a nice investment. I’m not at the stage of buying vacation rentals but I will be some day and when I do, I will be looking in more of a tropical location. I like the beach!

        All renovations take time. You should be able to find a balance of doing some repairs and still not take to long to get it on the market and sell it.

      3. Thanks for the encouragement. I live near the Carolina coast so the mountains call my name – that and having a granddaughter in the mountains.

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