Wallpaper Removal 101

If the passage of time has taught us anything, it’s that some trends just aren’t meant to stick around. For the most part, wallpaper is one of those trends.

The good news is, wallpaper removal is a relatively simple process that can be done with just a little bit of effort and some supplies you probably already have sitting around your house.

Here are some of the materials you’ll need:

  • Wallpaper Scoring Tool (Here’s one on Amazon.)
  • Putty Knife (We’d recommend this one.)
  • Pressure Sprayer
  • Fabric Softener
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Plastic Tarp
  • Water
  • Rags


Step 1: Protect Your Workspace

Before you get started, you’ll want to make sure floors and electrical outlets are protected. After all, you’ll be spraying your walls with water. Lay down a plastic tarp to catch any water before it hits your floor. As for your outlets, you can leave the outlet cover on, just make sure to cover the entire surface area with painter’s tape.

Step 2: Start Scraping

In order to pry that wallpaper off your walls, you’ll need your putty knife. Begin to scrape, and hope that it comes off in sheets – that will make your job much easier.

Step 3: Score Wallpaper

Most people don’t get lucky enough to just have sheets of wallpaper peeling away right from the get-go. The more accurate scenario involves applying a hot water solution that will reactivate the adhesive and allow your wallpaper to come off the wall more easily. We recommend purchasing a wallpaper scoring tool to help with this step. No matter what kind of wallpaper you’re dealing with, this relatively cheap investment will perforate the outer layer, allowing the hot water solution to penetrate more easily and come into contact with the adhesive. Just lightly run the scoring tool over the section of wall you’re working with.

Step 4: Mix Your Solution

Now that you’re done scoring, you’re ready to apply your hot water solution to the wallpaper. We’ll be using a solution that is one part fabric softener, three parts hot water. You can also use soap, household vinegar, or wallpaper stripper. All of these work, but the hot water component is the key.

If you’ve already completed the first step, you’re ready to get your walls wet. Make sure that you have a garbage bag ready nearby to collect the large pieces of wallpaper as they come off.

Step 5: Apply & Scrape

Using your pressure sprayer, apply the hot water solution to about a four-foot area to start. Wait a few minutes for the water to work, and then use your scraper to pry a corner of the wallpaper back and away from the wall. Do this with the entire surface while it’s still wet. If you notice some of the wallpaper has dried, ignore it for now and move on to the areas that are still wet. Spray, wait, scrape and repeat until all remaining bits of wallpaper are gone.

One more thing! Turn off your power outlet via your breaker box to avoid shocks, and then remove the wallpaper around your outlets.

Step 6: Remove Adhesive

There might be some adhesive left on the walls after you’ve removed all the wallpaper. If this is the case, cover the electrical outlets again, spray the section and work the scraper along until all the remaining bits of glue are gone.

And just like that, you’re done!

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