Old wallpaper can be a stubborn material to remove. This guide is about removing wallpaper.
Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".
When removing wallpaper use Downy fabric softener and hot water put in spray bottle. Spray walls and watch for it to bubble; then it comes right off. It is the best thing to use!
By Mel from KY
I tried everything to remove my hard to get off wallpaper, before I discovered this trick - heated vinegar. The wall paper will still have to be pulled off, but the sticky glue paper comes off easily, as the vinegar will loosen the glue. Spray and scrap off with a metal paint scraper.
By Ruthie from RedCreek, NY
I just finished taking off wallpaper border in my kitchen and it started out to be quite a job until my son lent me his clothes steamer. I finished with that and it made quick work of it.
By Elaine S. from Near Cedar Rapids, IA
I decided to finally re-do the kid's bathroom after finding a great bargain at a yard sale for a bathroom set. The bathroom had really ugly wallpaper and border on the wall. It was stuck on there good and tight - 2 layers in fact!
I filled a spray bottle (new one from Dollar Tree) with an equal mix of water and white vinegar. I sprayed the wall paper and used a pan scraper and started peeling. It took the paper off quickly and without much work. I thought I would share this as a safe, environmentally friendly and, best of all, super cheap - less then $1 for a large bottle of vinegar. I was able to do the entire bathroom for less then $1!
By Betsy from Hernando, MS
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Here are questions related to Removing Wallpaper.
What is the best way to take off very old wallpaper? It is the paper thin kind used back over 30-40 yrs ago. My house is over 165 yrs old and every room has that crappy wallpaper. I am taking it down. In some places there is like 3 layers of it.
By Tara73 from East Brunswick, NJ
You can use a sprayer and add fabric softener to it, spray every inch and wait for it to loosen.
We went faster, took a new garden weed sprayer, filled it up with about 1 gallon mixture of FS, warm water and did it.
Remember, most of the houses back then have slate plastered walls. We were fortunate enough to have solid plaster over them. I re-papered with oil cloth quality paper cause that was what was going to hold the house together once the old stuff was not there when peeled off. I did not have to take it off my large rooms (dining/living) but did the heavy treatment back. Has saved us having to do things when the house has shifted. My house is 100 years old. We lived in another house where the renters had removed most of the layers, thank heavens. That was many weeks of work.
Make sure you wear masks and gloves. The 'stuff' riding on this paper is for sure mold spored from all the years, much less many other things.
All the time I had worked on this old house, we had pneumonia, etc all the time. Yep, too late with the advice of the masks. For a few cents, it is your health.
We have lived here ten years and the blue cow wallpaper was here when we bought the house. It was past time to say goodbye to the cows. I started peeling the wallpaper off my kitchen and it peeled off easily in large pieces. Once all the cows were gone most areas are still covered with a very thin yellowish paper (as thin as tissue paper) all over the walls. I can peel small pieces off in some areas, but most areas seem to be stuck on good. What is the next way to remove this? I appreciate any and all info that can help me in this project.
By Shell S
Rubbing alcohol dissolves adhesive really, really well. As others have said, if you score the paper it's easier for the liquid to get in and work.
How much water to how much softener do I use for wall paper removal?
By Sheila from Virginia Beach, VA
I did this back in the 80s. About 1 oz to one gallon I used a new weed sprayer. Fast! Make the water as warm as you can. I just used a spackling knife to scrape. Our 100 yr old house had many layers. Getting it wet made it easier to contain the old stuff that gets behind wall paper. Make sure to wear a mask. Has many respiratory issues when stripping wall paper. Mites love it!
I need to give my kitchen a new look, but my kitchen has about 2-3 different wallpapers on it. My friend came to help me remove it and when I came back from getting some lunch my friend had a layer of mud on 90% of the kitchen. What do I do?
What do you mean, "a layer of mud"? Did your friend not remove the wallpaper but decide to cover it with plaster? I am not sure if that is a good idea, but you could do some research online and contact people who renovate older homes to see if it is acceptable. If the wallpaper is firmly attached to the wall, it might work to give you a nice paintable surface.
How do I remove 15 year old wallpaper border? I tried the commercial presoak gel, but it is brutally slow to peel off. I tried scoring the paper with a sharp knife as recommended, but it doesn't help much.
By Pat M
Try steam. I have a steam shark and it takes away grime that has been around stove areas for a long time; maybe it will take away the glue on the wallpaper. Hope it helps ya!
How do you remove wallpaper border?
By Corky Wolf
I swear by DIF. It's available at Lowe's for about $5 a bottle and it makes life so much easier. I spray it on and use my fingers to rub it onto the entire surface. Within, 15 minutes the paper comes off in one piece. Sometimes a little glue will remain and I use a plastic putty knife but another dose of DIF will take it right off. I don't score the paper either. Some people swear by fabric softener and hot water but that has not worked for me. Good luck!
I attempted to remove a wallpaper border that was applied to drywall that only had a thin coat of paint on it. The drywall was peeling off with the border in small pieces so I ended up bordering over that border and now 5 years later I really want it off.
I now have to remove two borders and I am not looking forward to it! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I tried all of the home remedies, steamer, and store bought products when trying to remove the first border, so maybe I should just leave it and cover it with some sort of wood trim that I can paint. Cost is a major issue so crown molding is not an option as it's a very large kitchen. Any suggestions? Thanks.
By Chris from Ontario
On one of the home re modeling shows I watch they used a solution of warm water and fabric softener.
How do I strip plastic wallpaper?
By Vincent from Dublin, Ireland
The trickiest part if getting that thin paper stuff off the back, but keep working on it. I've used DIF and it works fine as long as you let it sit on the paper for 15 minutes or so, but not too long or it dries.
How do I remove 5 layers of old wall paper from walls, without using a steamer?
Try fabric softener thinned with a little water and a spray bottle or mix in a bucket and use car washing sponge to saturate the paper. let it set until it begins to scrape off with a putty knife. I would suggest a little half and half to start. Patience and diligence!
I have striped the wall paper off 3 of 4 walls, but one entire wall has proven to be stubborn. I can't seem to remove any of the wallpaper (at all) from this one wall. I have tried D.I.F, vinegar, and dish soap, but nothing I try seems to work. Can anyone help?
Oh wow, if Diff hasn't worked, about the only thing left to try is steaming. There are machines especially for steaming off wallpaper, you can rent or buy one and try it-make sure the material your wall is made of can handle steam. If your walls are a thin membrane of sheet rock, 1/4", for example, they might melt.
I think if I were doing this job I'd have quit after the Diff didn't work.
You can 'feather and fill' the patches of wallpaper that won't strip, and simply paint over the top of it. I've done that a couple of times and have been pleased with the results.
How much Dawn do you put in the spray bottle?
By M. Gross
I tried to use a steamer, it just makes a sticky mess and I have to wait a very long time for it to soften the wallpaper. Is there a quicker way of getting this done? I have only done this once before, in the living room and it was much easier! I am really tired of looking at my horrible bathroom walls, help! Thank you.
The border is vinyl and it sticks to your fingers in small pieces and you cannot get off your fingers.
By R Pearsall
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.
I have heard that taking off wallpaper can be done easily with fabric softener but I do not know the proportions of Fabric Softner and water. Any ideas?
RE: Removing Wallpaper
Christina (Guest Post)
I used pure fabric softener to remove borders in my new kitchen, and it seemed to work well, but then the next day it didn't work in the livingroom. Uhhh. It took me about half an hour to do about two feet.
I'll have to try the mxture with hot water, if that doesn't work then i will try the vinegar
RE: Removing Wallpaper
Post by lorilwayne
The measurements for the request are 1 capful of Downy to 1 quart of water. Saturate the wallpaper and allow to sit for 20 minutes then remove. It will only take off 1 layer at a time but from what I've read that this is as good as what the other strippers will do. I removed some wallpaper border using this and it seems to work well.
RE: Removing Wallpaper
Elizabeth (Guest Post)
I've used hot water and fabric softener mixed in a spray bottle to remove wallpaper. Just spray it on let it soak a minute and it peels right off!
Loosening Wallpaper for Removal
To loosen wallpaper to remove it just use a mixture of hot water and white vinegar applied to the paper to take it off. For speed, dip a roller in the hot water and vinegar and roll it on. Paper comes right off!
Wallpaper Stripping: Removing Wallpaper
An easy way to strip wallpaper is to score it first, and then use a spritzer bottle filled with fabric softener, spray the wall. After removing as much vinyl as possible, re-spray and the layer of glue/adhesive will strip right off. Not only is it much easier, your room will smell great, and your hands will be so soft.
Jill from NY
I know this has been on Thrifty Tips but didn't know that I would need them. What is the easiest way to remove wallpaper from a bathroom wall?
Thanks for all the help I can get!
Jo from Cookeville, TN
In one of the replies for removing wallpaper it states: Score it first. What does this mean?
Thank you. Candy from Boston
(b)Editor's Note: Scoring means to cut it with a craft knife or you could even use a sewing marking wheet. By putting some holes in it, the water, fabric softener or whatever you are using to remove it, has a chance to get under the paper.(/b)
Spray with mixture of half and half water and fabric softener. (08/25/2006)
I have some wallpaper borders to remove from walls and when i try to just peel it off it leaves a lot of paper residue. Anyone know how to remove this without taking the paint off the wall?
Wendy from VA
Home stores sell a gadget called a paper tiger. It scores the paper at the correct depth. Warm water from a spritz bottle will do the rest of the work. It will come off in two separate layers... the patterned part first. Spritz again and let it sit a bit and the backing will come of just as easily. The backing does not need to be scored. I've been using this method for 20 years and never have had a problem or used pricey removers. Do NOT apply a lot of pressure using the paper tiger. (09/19/2006)
I used both vinegar and fabric softener on the same room. I found that the fabric softener worked better. (01/22/2007)
By Alisa from FL
Is there an easy way to remove wallpaper?
Cat from Winthrop, MA
Use a spray bottle and spray fabric softener on the wall paper. Let it sit and soak up the fabric softener a few minutes, then use a metal drywall spreader (forgot what it's called) and scrape off the wall paper. Works pretty well w/o using toxic chemicals. My dad uses this when renovating houses. (10/31/2007)
Try a spray bottle with warm water and liquid fabric softener. Spray liberally on the paper and it should peel off easily. (10/31/2007)
We renovated our 1945-ish home. I had good luck using Downey fabric softener. I made a strong solution of Downey and water (3/4 parts Downey) put it in a spray bottle. I sprayed the wallpaper really well, waited about 15 minutes. I used a scraper and the wallpaper came off easily. (10/31/2007)
The easiest way and this works great is to get liquid fabric softener and dilute with some water. Then use an old rag and apply generously, wait a few minutes for it to penetrate and start peeling!(11/01/2007)
Use equal parts white vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle. Saturate, and then just peel it off. Worked great when my girlfriend and I used it on her walls. (11/01/2007)
All of the suggestions are great but to make the job go a lot quicker is to use a Paper Tiger tool which is available at Home Depot type stores. It lightly scores the paper for the fluid to react faster. It's also a fun tool to use. Just don't press down too hard or you will leave pit marks in your walls. (11/01/2007)
I just used warm water, an a putty knife and it came off of a really old house we bought. Every wall had old wall paper on them .( (11/09/2007)
Mix equal parts of vinegar and water. Spray it on with a bottle until damp, it then pulls away with little effort. I took 5 layers off my bathroom, some of it was the metallic type. Make sure it's damp before pulling. (11/16/2007)