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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!
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
This is a guide about repairing drywall after wallpaper removal. After removing wallpaper, the walls will need cleaning and perhaps some repair, prior to painting or whatever your next wall treatment will be.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
Is possible to remove wallpaper that has been put on over vinyl gypsum board so I can paint the vinyl board and what issues will I be facing?
I would put slits in the wallpaper with a razor blade. Then I would soak the wallpaper with hot water. Peel off carefully. Then wash walls to remove all traces of glue. It's a time-consuming job.
I have just purchased a manufactured home that has pre-printed drywall that was wallpapered over and is all wrinkled. I need to paint and remove wallpaper without destroying the drywall. The paper is glued on. Can someone please help! Thank you.
YOU can remove the old wallpaper: "Use a scoring tool to create holes in the wallpaper. Use a spray bottle to soak the paper. Spray water into the slits so it can work its way behind the covering. Wait about 10 minutes and then scrape off the paper with a putty knife."
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
I believe that there is a product on the market for removing it; for stripping old wallpaper. Think I saw it one time someplace. Why not google it? However, it mainly takes time and scrapping; like the woman said fabric softener and water; or softener by itself!
You can buy a wallpaper scraper at most any hardware store. This lifts most of the paper from the walls no matter how thick. However, I would scrub the walls down after paper is removed to get the glue off. TSP is a product that is good for removing leftover residue and can be purchased at Lowe's I know. It has to be rinsed off after applied and allow walls to dry before priming/painting.
Ive tried the softener and water trick but all it does is make the paper even harder to remove..lol..plus it has a wall paper paper behind it that they used to use to make walls "flat" if they weren't smooth. Basically it was "paper" to put on the wall before you put the wall paper actually up..I believe it was also put up with "wheat paste" not glue..crazy house..
Go buy an item called "Paper Tiger". It scores your wallpaper with tiny little holes so you can get the water and softener mixture behind it. It is a round tool with wheels that you run over the wallpaper. If you have a 165 year old house, chances are it has a plastered wall. Many times people wallpapered to cover up large cracks. So be prepared to patch. Then after you get all the paper off and have cleaned it well to get the paste off, make sure you prime it.
I have tried the scoring trick and spraying softener on wall paper. Both will work but when I had to remove wallpaper from the 1950s, I used a steamer that was meant for removing wallpaper. I liked being able to put stream directly on the wallpaper and once it was soaked, it was very easy to remove.
Wall paper from 30 or 40 years ago, is still only 1970, when most people used prepasted wallpaper, very similar to what is available today. However, if your house is over 100 years old, some of those layers may have been from 1930's and 40's or even before, and they would most definitely have used a wheat or other type of paste that is different in compostion from glue nowadays. You might want to google for information on historic renovations to see if there is a technique for really old wallpaper. I would suggest a steamer. The wallpaper removers you buy in the hardware store are formulated for modern papers (although if you are removing stuff from the 70's, that is still modern). I used a product purchased from the hardware store (don't remember the name of it), sprayed this on, stripped off the paper, and then scraped the glue off with a flat metal spatula, like one you would use for drywalling. It was a bit tedious, but not difficult. I believe I ripped as much paper off as I could before I started the spraying.
You should be very cautious about removing paper in a home of that age. Walls were made differently and you may be getting into a very expensive project such as hanging wall board over lath wood and uneven plaster. Good luck.
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
How much water to how much softener do I use for wall paper removal?
By Sheila from Virginia Beach, VA
I would check the container, but it's about 1/4 remover to 3/4 water. Just don't leave the remover on the wall too long before stripping off the wallpaper or it will get too dry. Here's another view...using water...worth a try:
A good tool to use is one which scores the wallpaper before spraying your solution. This can be found in most wallpaper depts. Sorry I can't recall the name. It fit easily in your hand as it was round. You used it in a circular motion. If you have a lot of paper to remove put a sheet of plastic, or old sheet on the floor. This will contain all the mess. Keep a big garbage can in reach for the big pieces. Good luck.
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?
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 fabric softener thinned with a little warm water in a spray bottle or in a bucket and use a car washing sponge. Saturate the paper let it set 30 minutes? Scrape off with a putty knife. You may have to do it more than once.
How do you remove wallpaper border?
By Corky Wolf
It depends on the type of wallpaper, the kind of wallpaper with the glue already on it can be removed easily by wetting it down well. It will slide right off.
If it is the kind that has paste applied, then you might need to use a steamer. You can buy a small gadget that you roll over the paper and it puts small slits in it, then all you have to do is steam it and it will come off easily with a dull scraper.
After removing the paper, be sure to wash the wall well with hot soapy water, rinse, and dry before you paint or put up different paper.
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
I had good luck, using a hairdryer. Wet the border with hot water, using a spray bottle. Let the wet border set for a while, then take the hairdryer and direct it on the border. Scrape and pull on the border. It should start to come off in strips!
How do I strip plastic wallpaper?
By Vincent from Dublin, Ireland
If you click on some of the links on this page, you will find some great tips on removing wallpaper. But I want to add that with plastic (or vinyl) wallpaper, sometimes the wallpaper comes off but a coating of glue or plastic remains. If that happens, you will have to remove that layer also, so it could be twice the work.
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.
The previous owners wallpapered over the vinyl walls and then ripped some off, down to the gypsum board underneath the vinyl without removal products. Should I use wallpaper removal products? How do I make the ripped area even? Right now it's only in a smaller bathroom, but they wallpapered the kitchen too. It is peeling, but I have been reluctant to begin removal without asking questions. I have successfully painted over vinyl walls that had not been papered and am satisfied with results.
How do I remove 5 layers of old wall paper from walls, without using a steamer?
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
You really don't need to use Dawn or any other cleaner. My husband used to do painting/papering & all they used was hot water in a spray bottle. Let it soak a bit & peel. Then we just took a sponge with clean water & washed it down.
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
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
How much Downy to how much water do I use for wallpaper removal?
By Julie from Griswold, IA
I've always used DIF and one thing to note is that you need to spray it on for 10 to 15 minutes, but don't leave it on too long or it dries out and you've just wasted the product.
Try half water and half Downy. You have to leave it set for a bit before you start scraping though. (02/26/2010)
How do I easily remove wallpaper border?
By Janet from Valdosta, GA
I fill a spray bottle half full of warm water and fill the rest of the way with a cheap brand of fabric softener. Spray on paper in sheets, leave on 15-20 minutes, it will pull off the entire sheet of paper. If you have vinyl coated paper you will need to slice through at intervals and then spray so the liquid can seep to the back. Good luck. (06/09/2010)
I have used warm water and white vinegar, measured half and half in a spray bottle. I put down a drop cloth and simply sprayed the wall, let it set about 5 minutes. I'd get a corner at the top and it pulled off in one piece. I kept the paper and when it was dry again, I recycled it.
My kitchen cabinets had an insert in the door instead of a full panel. I took the insert out wet the wall paper and put it on it with a wet rag. I then put the insert back, tacked it back up with small tacks. I had "new" refaced cabinets! My friends all loved the idea! (06/09/2010)
I just removed a border that has been up for 9 years. I used a spray bottle of 50/50 vinegar and warm water with a little bit of Dawn dish soap and it worked great! (11/04/2010)
You have requests on how to remove painted wallpaper. We have found that steaming the walls, once you have a start at removal with a tool, does a good job. It is possible to rent a portable steamer. We have tried chemicals, but steam seems to do the job faster, and with less negative results.
By rosebudml from Sarasota, FL
Before you apply steam. There is a tool you can buy or possibly rent that looks like a miniature pizza slicer with a jagged blade that you roll all over the wallpaper 1st to "score" it. This does not harm the wall, but it punctures tiny holes in the paper that allows the water or products to saturate the paper more efficiently. Steaming is the best method I have found. I have done this several times. I rented the steamer (looks like a huge old metal iron) and tool at Ace Hardware Rentals. It was so worth it in the end. Some paper comes off with out to much trouble, but it sounds like you might need to use this method for sure. (02/11/2010)
How do you remove wallpaper?
Gary from NJ
Test a small area first. We bought a house that the former owners put paper right over dry wall that was not primed or sized, we ended up replacing the drywall. Fabric softener does a great job, remember to rinse or wipe walls, before painting. (04/19/2008)
By Patti r
I have used a steaming tool that I bought at Home Depot. It has a large plastic "lid" that you place on the wall and the steam saturates the paper quickly. Then it is easily scraped away.
I recently removed some very, very old wallpaper that way and it went pretty fast. (04/23/2008)
Here's a link I saw with a good tip. The big thing is that you need patience and the ability to laugh at why they put up the wallpaper in the first place!
We're trying to remove 15 year-old wallpaper with water and a scraper. Very difficult to do. Any suggestions on how to make this job easier?
Jack from Auburn, IN
Have you tried fabric softener? I have mixed part water and part fabric softener in a spray bottle. Spray the wallpaper, wait a bit and then scrape. We did have some very tough wallpaper in the kitchen so I used softener only and really saturated it. If this fails I think you may have to rent a steamer. (09/24/2008)
If your wall is in fairly good shape why don't you just paint over it? There is a type of paint called "high hiding" that will cover over wallpaper, dark colors, and imperfections. Check it out. (09/24/2008)
Warm/hot water and vinegar in a spray bottle or sponge it on. Let sit a minute or two and scrape away. (09/26/2008)
I've use the (cheap) fabric softener/water solution along with scoring the wallpaper first. Plus it smells better than the name brand wallpaper solution and is a lot less expensive. I use the softener solution to wash the remainder of glue off the walls, too. Best of luck. (09/26/2008)
You can rent wall paper remover "steamers" and then the elbow work is much easier :-) (09/26/2008)
I just use warm water in a spray bottle. Just soak a couple of areas. Go back to the first area after about 3-4 minutes and you should be able to pull the top layer of the paper easily, spray it again for the glue layer. Keep working back and forth that way you won't have to sit and wait for each area to soak in. (09/26/2008)
If it's that hard you would be better off painting over it as the work involved in repairing the walls can get extensive. I was a painting contractor for 10 years and you would need to level out you surface using Spackle, sand lightly, and use a good primer like Kilz latex in Walmart for about 20.00. Then proceed to paint. (09/26/2008)
By Denise w
I have just used my steam iron on med high with a damp wash cloth between the iron and the wall to remove the paper.
The glue comes off quickly with ammonia. It stinks and you need a window open, but if it's diluted you can get the job done pretty fast, and it's cheap. (09/27/2008)
We used apple cider vinegar and warm water as long as we could. Have one of those little scorer things that puts holes in the wallpaper so the solution can get down behind the wallpaper. When we hit the 7th layer! We rented a steamer and I was done in one 24 hour period. (09/28/2008)
I could use some advice for removing wallpaper.
When using fabric softener for stripping wallpaper, what are the portions?