Best Way To Remove Wallpaper

Just the thought of removing wallpaper in your home might make you decide to live with the wallpaper in your home. When you remove wallpaper, it’s messy, takes time, will probably have to be a weekend project, but…it must be done!

So if “remove wallpaper” is on your to do list, here are some tips for how to remove wallpaper the easy way.

Best Way To Remove Wallpaper

The easiest way to remove wallpaper is to be prepared. And that means that your goals should be:

  • Stay calm!
  • Take your time.
  • Smooth and clean walls. Not damaged or undone walls.

FIRST: Prep

Best Way To Remove Wallpaper - Prep

The first step to remove wallpaper is to find out how tough of a job you are going to have. It’s a good idea to test a little corner piece, near a seam, to see if the wallpaper wants to peel easily. If it peels easy, then you are on your way to a simpler job.

Either way, here is what you need to remove wallpaper:

Remove everything from the walls, including vent covers and electrical outlet plates and cover those electrical outlets with tape. Don’t forget to turn off the electricity to the room!

Cover everything. If you can move your furniture out of the room, do it. Otherwise, cover it all because this is a wet and sticky project.

You’ll want to cover your floors with plastic sheeting. Before you do that, start with the baseboards. Tape a strip of plastic sheeting just above the baseboard to create a seal and be sure it overlaps a couple of feet onto the floor.

Water will be running down the walls and you want to be sure to protect the floor, baseboard and any little crevice where water can hide. Once you’ve created your plastic barrier, put some towels down to absorb the moisture.

SECOND: Start Pulling At The Loose Edges

Best Way To Remove Wallpaper - Pull From Corners

Before getting into the messy stuff, start pulling at the seams and corners where the wallpaper is looser. This will be near the ceiling, baseplates and vents.  Take it slow and pull with steady pressure.

If your wallpaper isn’t coming off in nice sheets or even at all, consider scoring it first. A scoring tool punches hundreds of tiny little holes into the wallpaper, making it easier for the water to push through and loosen the paper and backing.  

THIRD: Work With Water

Best Way To Remove Wallpaper - Work With Water

How to remove wallpaper the easy way? Put your gloves on and use a mop or sponge to wet your walls with hot water. The idea here is to soak the walls to soften the wallpaper, backing and glue; but not all walls are created equal. Plaster walls can handle water and you don’t need to worry about soaking and leaving water on them. Drywall is more delicate and can start to fall apart or become damaged if water is left to sit. If you have drywall, soak in sections for fifteen minutes and then start scraping.  

Fifteen minutes of soaking usually does the trick for both types of walls; what you want is for the paper and glue to soften enough to remove. A great wallpaper removal solution, at this stage, is to add fabric softener to your hot water. This will help further loosen the bond and it’s safe and affordable.

FOURTH: Scrape It Off

Best Way To Remove Wallpaper - Scrape It Off

It’s important to use a flexible scraper or putty knife with round edges. The idea here is to scrape and remove, but not damage. You want to remove as much paper, backing and glue as possible. When it comes to wallpaper removal tools, be sure your scraper is metal and not plastic. Metal is thinner and much better for getting under tight spaces.

When you start scraping, it can feel pretty rewarding. The tough part is when you get to the end and you think you’ve removed all of the glue and paper, but you probably haven’t. Take another pass and be sure. It’s worth the time.

FIFTH: Wash & Smooth

Best Way To Remove Wallpaper - Wash & Smooth

To properly finish up when  you remove wallpaper, you need to wash the walls. Washing with warm water and a little bit of dish detergent will help get those last remnants of paper and glue. Then, it’s time to sand and smooth. It’s best to let your walls dry overnight and then lightly sand the rough spots. These last steps will make make your walls ready to take on fresh, new wallpaper or paint.  

Now that we’ve shown you the best way to remove wallpaper, keep your eyes peeled for a video series with a wallpaper expert on how to put up new decor! Make sure you’re following us on Facebook & Twitter to get all the tips!