How to Remove Wallpaper: The Ultimate Guide

The Importance of Proper Wallpaper Removal

Wallpaper removal can be a daunting task, but it’s an essential process if you want to repaint, remodel, or redesign your room. If you skip this step or do it incorrectly, your new paint or wall covering could look uneven or peel. To avoid ruining your hard work, learn the proper techniques for removing wallpaper, and do it right the first time around. In this guide, we’ll show you how to remove wallpaper in a way that is guaranteed to keep your walls looking flawless.

Types of Wallpaper

Before we dive into the removal process, it’s essential to identify the type of wallpaper that is currently on your walls. There are generally two types of wallpaper: strippable and traditional. Strippable wallpaper is more modern and easier to remove, while traditional wallpaper requires more effort and time.

Strippable Wallpaper

This type of wallpaper is adhesive-backed and can be removed easily by hand. Strippable wallpaper typically peels off in large sections, leaving minimal residue.

Traditional Wallpaper

Traditional wallpaper is applied with a paste and is more challenging to remove. It often requires the use of specialized tools and techniques.

Tools and Materials You’ll Need

Before starting the wallpaper removal process, make sure you have the necessary tools and materials. Here are some items you’ll need:

Tools Materials
Wallpaper scorer Wallpaper stripping solution
Putty knife or scraper Warm water
Bucket Vinegar
Sponge or cloth Fabric softener
Steamer Protective gear (gloves, goggles, etc.)
Drop cloth or plastic sheeting
Fan or air mover

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Remove Wallpaper

Step 1: Prepare the Room

Before starting the wallpaper removal process, prepare the room by covering the floor with a drop cloth or plastic sheeting. This will protect your flooring from any peeling wallpaper or debris. Turn off the electricity to the room and remove all switch plates and outlet covers.

Step 2: Test the Wallpaper

Before applying any stripping solution, test a small area of the wallpaper to see how it reacts. Different wallpapers may require different solutions and techniques, so it’s essential to choose the right one for your specific type of wallpaper.

Step 3: Score the Wallpaper

Use a wallpaper scorer to perforate the wallpaper. This will allow the stripping solution to penetrate the wallpaper and loosen the adhesive.

Step 4: Apply the Stripping Solution

Generously apply the stripping solution to the wallpaper. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and be sure to wear protective gear.

Step 5: Allow the Solution to Penetrate the Wallpaper

Depending on the wallpaper and solution, you may need to let the solution sit for several minutes or even hours. During this time, keep the room ventilated and avoid inhaling any fumes.

Step 6: Remove the Wallpaper

Once the wallpaper has loosened, use a putty knife or scraper to remove the wallpaper from the top down. Be gentle and take care not to damage the wall underneath. If the wallpaper is stubborn, reapply the stripping solution and wait for it to loosen further.

Step 7: Clean the Walls

After removing the wallpaper, clean the walls with warm water and soap to remove any residue. Rinse the walls with clean water and let them dry completely.

Step 8: Repair Any Damage

If the wallpaper removal process caused any damage to the walls, repair them before painting or applying new wallpaper. Use spackle and sand the repaired area until it’s smooth and even.


1. Can I paint over wallpaper?

No, it’s not recommended to paint over wallpaper. The paint will not adhere correctly, and the wallpaper may peel, causing the paint to peel with it.

2. Can I remove wallpaper without damaging the wall?

Yes, with the proper tools and techniques, you can remove wallpaper without damaging the wall.

3. Can I use vinegar to remove wallpaper?

Yes, a mixture of warm water and vinegar can help loosen wallpaper. Mix equal parts of vinegar and warm water and apply it to the wallpaper. Wait a few minutes for it to soak in, then scrape away the wallpaper.

4. How do I remove wallpaper from a plaster wall?

The process for removing wallpaper from a plaster wall is the same as removing it from a drywall wall. However, be more careful when using a scraper or putty knife, as the plaster is more delicate than drywall.

5. How long does it take to remove wallpaper?

The time it takes to remove wallpaper depends on the size of the room, the type of wallpaper, and the stripping solution you use. On average, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day.

6. Can I use a steamer to remove wallpaper?

Yes, a steamer can be an effective way to remove wallpaper. The steam helps to loosen the adhesive, making it easier to remove the wallpaper.

7. Is it necessary to remove all wallpaper glue?

Yes, it’s essential to remove all wallpaper glue before repainting or applying new wallpaper. Any leftover glue can cause the new wallpaper or paint to peel or bubble.

8. Do I need protective gear to remove wallpaper?

Yes, it’s recommended to wear gloves, goggles, and a mask to protect yourself from any fumes, debris, or stripping solution that may come into contact with your skin or eyes.

9. How do I know if the wallpaper is strippable?

Strippable wallpaper typically has a peelable backing that allows it to be removed easily by hand without any stripping solution or tools.

10. Can I reuse stripping solution?

No, it’s not recommended to reuse stripping solution. Once the solution has been used, it loses its effectiveness.

11. What should I do if the wallpaper is painted over?

If the wallpaper is painted over, use a wallpaper scorer to create small perforations in the paint layer. This will allow the stripping solution to penetrate the wallpaper and loosen the adhesive.

12. Can I remove wallpaper without a stripping solution?

While it’s possible to remove wallpaper without a stripping solution, it’s more challenging and time-consuming. Stripping solution helps to soften the adhesive, making it easier to remove the wallpaper.

13. How do I remove wallpaper from a textured wall?

Removing wallpaper from a textured wall requires more care and patience. Use a putty knife or scraper to remove the wallpaper gently. Be careful not to damage the texture or create any holes or dents.


Removing wallpaper is a crucial step in any remodeling or redecorating project. By following the steps and tips outlined in this guide, you can remove wallpaper safely and efficiently. Remember to wear protective gear, have the necessary tools and materials, and be patient throughout the process. Don’t forget to repair any damage before repainting or applying new wallpaper. Good luck!

Take Action Now

The time to remove that wallpaper and get to work on your redecorating project is now. Gather the tools and materials, and start following the steps outlined in this guide. You’ll be enjoying your newly wallpaper-free walls in no time!

Closing Disclaimer

This article is for informational purposes only. Proper wallpaper removal requires care and caution. If you’re not comfortable with the process, or if you’re working with delicate or valuable walls, it’s recommended to hire a professional to do the job for you. Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for any tools, materials, or solutions used during the wallpaper removal process.

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