Before you begin, remember that wallpaper removal can be labor intensive and can cause severe damage to your walls if it is not done correctly. Most removal damage is due to the lack of a wallpaper primer before the walls were papered, resulting from the glue being absorbed into the wallboard. The top layers of wallboard (paper) will try to come back off with the wallpaper backing. If this occurs in large areas, call a professional.
You can get many differing kinds of wallpaper on the market today. Some are dry stripable, solid vinyl and fabric backed papers can usually be removed by basically pulling them from the wall with no wetting.
Most residential wallpapers are of a ” vinyl coated ” type. Vinyl coated papers are by far the commonest used in residential homes. The vinyl face of those papers is usually “dry stripable” meaning the face will separate and leave only the paper backing on the wall. Start by removing as much of the vinyl face as possible. Look for a loose corner, you may require a putty knife or scraper for getting you started.
Once all of the vinyl face is removed, the paper backing also needs to be removed. The paper backing will require a wet removal. Fill a five gallon bucket to about half full with warm water, add about a cap full of fabric softener. Turn off the electrical power to the room. Apply this solution to the wall with a paint roller or garden sprayer, a sponge can be used in corners. Wet a four or five foot part of the wall and ensure the wall section remains saturated with the solution for about ten minutes. Remove the wet backing with a four or six inch putty knife or scraper.
Once all of the backing is removed, finish cleaning the walls using a hand sponge and fresh solution of fabric softener and warm water. Permit the walls to dry out and apply a wallpaper primer if you ever plan to re- wallpaper the walls. If you plan to paint, apply an acrylic primer/sealer to the walls before painting.
One of the major things not to forget when using a solution to strip your wallpaper off is, Don’t spray or saturate electrical outlets or switches with the solution, turn off the electrical supply to the area before wetting the walls. You do not want to cause any damage to your electrics. This can be an extremely costly mistake to make. Damaged electrical wiring is dear to put right. This is messy work so ensure that you do place rolled towels or bed sheets along at the base of the walls prior wetting them in order to catch the solution excess.