How to Remove Wallpaper in Ten Easy Steps

The steps on how to remove wallpaper are simple. The actual task however can be frustrating and time consuming but the results are worth it.

How to remove wallpaper without making a mess of the walls underneath? Any damage to the wall depends in large part to the way the paper was installed to begin with. If the walls were not prepped properly with a primer, you may have a headache on your hands because the process of removing the paper could cause some damage to the walls.

Wallpaper Removal Tools

  • One or two 3 -6″ broad putty knives, or spatula. (if you can use a plastic spatula it will leave less marks on the wall)
  • a ladder
  • a scoring or perforation tool
  • paint roller
  • drop cloth
  • bucket
  • sponge
  • wallpaper solution remover
  • white vinegar

Getting Started on How to Remove Wallpaper

1. Move as much of the furniture away from the walls into the center of the room or out of the room completely if possible.

2. Lay down a drop cloth so that the floors are protected.

3. Take all of the switch plate covers off of the outlets.

Shut off the circuit breakers to the room and if you are working at night on this project after work, invest in a halogen lamp from the home improvement store and a long extension cord.

4. Test a small area of the wall first by lifting an edge of the wall paper. Many times if you try to strip the wallpaper before applying any solution, the paper will come off leaving just the adhesive to take worry about. If that is the case, then you are lucky.

5. How to remove wallpaper with a solution that will dissolve the adhesive backing on the paper is to use a wallpaper removal concentrate and mix according to the instructions on the bottle in a bucket of hot water.

Safe and Simple 603 is a contractor-grade remover that when diluted with water effectively removes all kinds of paper and adhesives, or you can mix equal parts vinegar with warm water in a spray bottle.

6. Using a paint roller or the spray bottle with vinegar, apply to the wallpaper in small sections starting from the bottom and working your way up to the ceiling. Wait a few minutes to allow the solution to do most of the work, then start stripping the wallpaper by hand. This will leave the adhesive which you can then scrape off with your spatula or putty knife.

7. If the paper does not come off easily, you may need to reapply the wallpaper removal solution and let it soak through a little longer or if your solution isn’t penetrating through the paper use your scoring tool with a light hand in circular motions to make tiny perforations into the material.

Some people don’t care to use a scoring tool, because you need to use the right amount of pressure to prevent damage and it leaves tiny holes in the drywall. If your walls are plaster, it is not as much of an issue.

Okay, you are almost done.

8. Now that you have the wallpaper off, use a sponge in a solution of one cup of white vinegar mixed in 1 gallon of water to remove any adhesive residue. Rinse with clear water for a smooth clean surface and allow it to dry.

9. If you used a scoring tool, repair any holes it may have left in the drywall with spackling compound and let them dry overnight, then sand the repair.

10. If you plan to hang new wallpaper be sure to prep the walls with a primer specifically designed for wallpaper application. This will be helpful in the future when the new paper has to come down!

The same is true if you are planning to paint but with a painting primer to assure a smooth application.