Old wallpaper can be a stubborn material to remove. This guide is about 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
October 9, 2010
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.
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
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
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
April 6, 2013
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.
By sheila 1
How much water to how much softener do I use for wall paper removal?
By Sheila from Virginia Beach, VA
March 6, 2011
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 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 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?
January 25, 2014
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
April 24, 2012
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!
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
By CORKY WOLF 2
How do you remove wallpaper border?
By Corky Wolf
March 20, 2011
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!
By Chris 1
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
November 23, 2010
On one of the home re modeling shows I watch they used a solution of warm water and fabric softener.
By vincent 1
How do I strip plastic wallpaper?
By Vincent from Dublin, Ireland
October 20, 2010
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?
May 3, 2012
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?
January 20, 2012
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
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
What is the best way to take off old wallpaper from a bedroom wall. We want to repaint the walls after we are finished.
Kelli from OH
I watched a program about preparing a house to sell and on it they removed wallpaper with fabric softner. Check out HGTV.com, it was I think on Sell This House. (07/16/2004)
Removing old wallpaper depends on how old "old" is. If it is a really old paper, you may have some problems removing it. Newer papers with a vinyl coating are a little easier to remove. Papers that were properly installed over wall sizing are the easiest to remove. If the paper has a vinyl layer attached to the paper backing, then you can either try to pull the vinyl from the paper or score the paper (make lots and lots of little cuts in the surface) with a razor blade or a Paper Tiger. Once you have removed or scored the paper, you can use steam or hot water to soften the glue, adding a little vinegar helps. Or you can use a product called Dif (if you use the Dif, roll it on, don't bother with spraying it, it doesn't cover well when sprayed). Allow the hot water or Dif to work for a while, but don't allow it to dry. After 10 minutes, try removing the paper with a plastic putty knife or wallpaper remover. If it still sticks, wet it again and wait another ten minutes. Once you have all of the paper off, you need to make sure that you have removed all of the glue from the wall. Use a TSP solution and rinse well before painting. If the paper was applied directly to unprimed or unsized drywall, you will probably end up removing part of the drywall paper with the wallpaper. Don't apply too much steam, water or Dif if the wallpaper is pulling off pieces of drywall. If this is the case, you may be better off simply cleaning the wallpaper, using spackle to hide the seams, then priming and painting the wallpaper. Not the best solution, but easier than trying to repair drywall that has been damaged by water. (07/16/2004)
I have removed old wallpaper and border using a bucket of hot water, about 1-2 cups of fabric softener, and a sponge. Soak the sponge in the bucket and wring some of it out and rub onto the wall starting at the top. It should start to peel off easily. Just make sure you put a rolled up towel on the floor against the wall you are working on to catch the drips! (07/17/2004)
Unless the wallpaper is loose or peeling I would not remove it. When you remove it you will probably have to do some wall repair where the paper glue took some drywall with it. We have had success painting over wallpaper that was in good shape by first priming over the wallpaper with Kiltz. Talk to someone at Home Depot/Lowes and they can help you with any questions. We simply painted the primer and then painted over the primer with our paint. I think you have to use Kiltz or a similar brand. (07/26/2004)
Last summer I removed a 9 year old wall boarder from my son's room with a liquid gel called Dif. You can get it in the spray bottle or in the bucket in any hardware store. It worked wonders. (07/27/2004)
Fill a garden sprayer with hot water and a cup full of fabric softener. Spray one wall at a time. Wait 20-30 minutes. Spray again and wait another 20 minutes. Start to peel it off. If it doesn't come off easily, spray again and wait again. This will remove the top layer. Re-spray the backing that is still stuck to the wall - you got it - wait again and it will all peel right off. Let dry overnight before painting. It's never failed for me in 20 years. (08/27/2004)
I removed the wall paper in my house and even though the paper came of, there is a layer of glue left on the wall. I don't know what to do to get it to come off. I am afraid just washing the drywall, since the walls weren't primed before the wallpaper was applied, any ideas? (02/10/2005)
I've found that Downey fabric softener works best. (04/06/2005)
I have never really attempted to do any home improvement things on my own. I have always relied on others to do it for me. I wanted to paint my room over and i have 10-15 yr old wall paper i have to remove. I was wondering if someone could give me some tips and/or the best way to remove wallpaper. (08/21/2005)
By sara Tumminelli
I am using a bucket w/ half water and whole thing of vinegar and about 3 cups of fabric softener. Taking a big towel and sponge and it is taking everything off including the glue.
Zanesville/Ohio working on house built in 1926 (08/22/2005)
You can use boiling hot water and spray with a sprayer and wait about 5 minutes and peel it off. (10/09/2005)
Hot water, vinegar, and fabric softner is the thing to take off wallpaper. After spraying, it just scraps right off.(quote)(/quote) (12/04/2005)
I just bought a jug of it. After I perforated the walls, I put some in a container and brushed a generous amount on the paper. About 15 mins later I walked in my room and the wall paper was basically falling off the walls, well sort of falling off. It came off so easy I can't emphasize enough how great the product is. My entire room was finished in about 1 1/2 hours and my room its fairly well sized.
Don't use steamers and scrapers. I didn't need any of that. Dif gel is great because if you have anything on a vertical surface such as your ceiling its a gel so it wont drip, it just stays in place. My house is 30 years old and its original wall paper. For the places where you stapled some of the drywall cardboard barrier off just take some spackle and go over it and fill in the spots.
Wait about a day and sand them flush and smooth. Don't forget to use a latex base primer that also fills in some of the tiny cracks and imperfections and go over the seams of the walls and the corners. If yours is original wallpaper from when the house was built I guarantee the seams of the corners aren't filled too great. This is a great idea for filling anything where you don't have the skill to use drywall seam putty or tapes. Remember Paper Tiger and Dif gel (12/31/2005)
- 30 yr old house
- unprimed drywall
- original layer of wallpaper
- additional layer of "tack" paper (yes, the vinyl kind you stick to the bottoms of drawers)
This is definitely a job for the more compulsive (mmm.. peel, rip, peel, rip!) of us. I have been able to remove the top vinyl portion of the tack paper using only a scraper and my finger nails. This left the tack paper backing glued over top of that original wallpaper. I have tried several techniques on the walls and am finding that just some patience and the scraper are working best (i.e. removing the least amount of drywall cardboard). The perforation tool everyone is talking about also perforates the drywall paper. The DIF spray then loosened THAT. I was forced to tear the top layer of drywall backing off, after doing this, since it just got bubbled up when it re-dried.
- Let your finger nails grow out a bit
- keep a sharp scraper edge
- start corners w/ scraper carefully, keeping as parallel an angle as possible with it (or else gouge the drywall paper)
- peel slowly and evenly... feel out where the glue is stronger, and assist the peel gently with your scraper.
- test a SMALL area with the perforation tool and DIF solutions, first. Make sure the solutions are not going to soak through to your drywall.
I walked into this project prepared to tear down walls, so I'm not angry about any of it. (: I just wish I wouldn't have to spackle so much and prime, before seeing some cool color in there.
I too have used hot water and vinegar to get off old wallpaper and border...it works wonders but in a spray bottle its kind of messy...rolling it on may be better and saturate through faster. (06/26/2006)
By Peg (Guest Post
DO NOT USE FABRIC SOFTENER! My girlfriend insisted on using fabricate softener because she had watched the same program on HGTV. The softener did help remove the outer layer of wallpaper, however, it solidified the glue side of the wallpaper leaving it virtually impossible to remove without tearing out chucks of the drywall. The fabric softener technique is a nightmare for old wallpaper! (07/05/2006)
Check out this site, I found it helpful when I was taking down wallpaper.
Good luck, I know it can be hard. (12/06/2006)
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)
I am decorating my bathroom and would like to know if wallpaper border is hard to remove? I live in a rental house and I guess I will have to remove it eventually. I have never put up wallpaper before. Any advice will help.
Here's something I've done when living in rentals. Put the border up by stapling it into the wall with a regular paper stapler. When it's time to move, the holes in the wall from the removed paper are barely visible and can be easily touched up with a little spackle or paint. If the border is to be used high up on the wall -- even better! Plus you can save the border for your own home. (06/26/2007)
I saw on Trading Spaces someone used a bottle of water with Dawn dishsoap in it. I don't know the measurements, but it came off quickly and easily! (06/27/2007)
I used Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleansers and it worked great, tried the generic/store brand, did not do as well. Mona from Alabama (06/28/2007)
I have read a number of helpful hints books and newsletters on this topic and all of them recommend using half water, half vinegar. You can put some on a sponge, hold it on the wallpaper spot or you can put cloths down on the floor and spray the wall (in larger areas) with that mixture. Let it sit for a few minutes and then start peeling the wallpaper off. When we did it in our home years ago, we rented a steamer to get it off, but I've heard that this works just as well. (06/28/2007)
By Julia in Richmond VA
I used a spray bottle of water. I'd pull until I hit a sticky spot, saturated it with water, and waited a few minutes (5-10). I'd then come back and it peeled off without a hitch! (06/29/2007)
Buy DIF at any local store and score the area to be removed. Then spray on the DIF and wait 15-20 minutes. Then you just scrape the paper off. (10/30/2007)
I peeled the top layer of the wallpaper off first and then soaked the underlayer of the wallpaper with water, wiping it on with a washcloth, and it worked great. The underlayer will peel off or can be easily scraped off with a putty knife. (10/04/2008)
I discovered that an easy way to remove the vinyl wallpaper on a painted wall is to peel off what you can and then spray the paper that's left stuck to the wall with soapy water in a spray bottle. Let it sit for a minute and it peels right off. (10/24/2008)
For easy removal of wallpaper, score the paper first and then use fabric softener on it. Wait fifteen minutes and peel it off, it will come off easily.
I use Dawn Dish Soap and Lemon Juice mixed with warm water. Using a sponge dampen surface let sit and then peel away, It works best on the glue part that really sticks to the wall. (12/06/2004)
By Dawn B.
Not all papers are a 1-2-3 snap. Some papers, depending how they were made and how they were hung, can be a nightmare to remove. Sometimes you are better off cutting out the seams with a razor and level with spackle and sand thoroughly - then prime the paper and apply two finish coats over the existing wallpaper. Don't misunderstand me. If the paper comes off well, by all means remove it. In a case where the removal of wallpaper badly damages the drywall, stop and consider painting over it.
I have done wallpaper removal jobs that have destroyed the drywall due to the wallpaper being hung over unprimed/painted walls. And I have also done jobs where the paper practically falls off the wall with a few sprays of water.
If you chose to remove paper, the easiest way to do the job is to fill a garden sprayer with hot water and add a wallpaper removing solution, then saturate the wallpaper several times. (The wallpaper removing solution is sold at wallpaper/paint and home improvement centers) Some papers need to be perforated first prior to saturation. And some papers have a vinyl top layer that is easy to remove dry, leaving a paper backing that needs to be removed using the garden sprayer, hot water and solution. There are also fabric back vinyl's that pull off easily leaving a wall full of paste.
Grannies old fashion remedy went out the window years ago. :o (05/06/2007)
I used the fabric conditioner in hot water to removed wallpaper. This worked a treat. Leave it on for about 10 minutes, and the wall paper came off no problem. (09/18/2008)
By Bernie H.
We need information on an easy way to remove wallpaper. Also, after removing some wallpaper, part of the sheet rock came off with the paper. We have other wallpaper to remove and don't want this to happen again. Do you have any suggestions for repairing the sheet rock that was damaged? We want to paint instead of wallpapering this time.
Billie from Sharpsburg, GA
If the wallpaper doesn't come off easily after being sprayed with water and the sheet rock is coming off, then the sheet rock was not primed or painted before the wallpaper was put on. If that is the case there is no easy way not to remove it and not pull off some of the sheet rock. To patch the holes you have made, go to your local hardware store and buy some drywall mud and a scraper. Explain your problem to them and they will explain to you how to apply and scrape it. (03/22/2009)
I have wallpaper in a bedroom that is very hard to remove. I have tried scraping, wetting it with water but only manage to remove 1 inch at a time. This will take forever. Any advice?
Hi, You can buy wallpaper remover at your local home improvement store, or you can buy some cheap fabric softener, pour a couple capfuls into HOT HOT water, (wear rubber gloves). Using a sponge or a cloth, wet it and with it sopping wet, place it on the wallpaper to remove. Let it sit for a minute, then use a scraper to scrape it off. It works best if you score the wallpaper first. I tried that once and it worked like a charm! Good Luck! Kari (11/22/2004)
If you score the wall paper first (I used a utility knife and gently cut all over the surface- you don't want to cut the wall, just the paper) and then wet it really well (I used warm water and vinegar- about 1/2 and 1/2) and let it sit for a bit it will come off. I used a scored the wall, and then used a spray bottle and wet a small area working from the top of the wall down. I let it sit for about 10 minutes and then sprayed again and let it sit for another couple of minutes and then scraped and pulled. It is a lot of work no matter what. This is the cheapest way to do it, and I have used the commercial wallpaper removers with no more success than water and vinegar. (11/23/2004)
Try ultra fabric softner mixed with water in a spray bottle, it works. (11/23/2004)
You can also purchase (or borrow?) a wallpaper steamer. It looks a bit like a small canister vacuum cleaner, except instead of sucking in, it spews out steam. At the end of the hose is a large flat square/rectangular head that you hold against the wall to steam and soften the wallpaper, and it really does just peel off if you let the steam work for a few minutes. As Kelly said, removing wallpaper is a lot of work no matter what method you use. But steaming is certainly much faster than the "inch at a time" results you've been getting up 'till now! :-) (11/23/2004)
Try a "paper tiger" scoring tool specifically for wallpaper. You can find them inexpensively in the paint/wall border area in places like Wal-mart. After you have scored the wallpaper and have tiny holes in the paper, then spray a mix of 1/2 fabric softener and 1/2 water on the walls. Let this mix penetrate, and the wallpaper should be easier to remove, since the mix has now gone through to the adhesive side of the paper. Good luck! (11/23/2004)
Home Depot has a roller tool (wheel) that makes small cuts in the wallpaper. Use Fleecy Fabric Softener mixed with water to soak wallpaper. Makes it much easier to remove.
By Pat Timkew
You can rent the steam cleaner for wall paper removal from rental stores. It is very messy so you place towels at base of wall to absorb water, but it works much better than scoring and scraping. We removed 5 layers of wallpaper from a HUD house we bought for our daughter. When I have used the scorers, I have damaged the wallboard.Have several helpers, so when one gets tired arms a new person can steam; to get maximum time use of the rental unit. (11/28/2004)
You can remove wallpaper by using a mixture of vinegar and very warm water. Mix 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 water. I also agree on scoring it with a tool from the store to speed the process. Let it take time to soak and only do an area of about 3x3 feet. It is time consuming but worth it. Have fun! (01/14/2005)
Ok guys, this is a must try, DIF SPRAY GEL..zinsser.I only used it for border, but I never had to score. Just sprayed it let for 20 minutes. Came off like a dream (the border was really on there too). Hope this helps. (08/06/2005)
The last time we tried to remove wallpaper from our home we ended up having to re-drywall the room. Evidently the walls were not primed before the paper was placed. For a quick fix do you know if I paint the walls now if this will make the wallpaper removal more difficult when we attempt in another room? (07/22/2006)
I'm in the process of removing 4 layers of stubborn wallpaper in our kitchen (plaster walls). I tried Dif, I used the scoring tool, I used home recipes, all of which caused me to seek psychiatric help.
I finally decided to buy a steamer - Wagner - Amazon.com (home depot has the same one) for about $60. BEST MONEY I EVER SPENT... fired that bad boy up and it took off layer and layer very quickly. Not magically quick, but close. My recommendation - don't mess around with other stuff - break down, get the steamer, just be careful on drywall, it emits a lot of steam when turns to water as it cools. Good luck! (11/07/2006)
I hate wallpaper! (02/06/2007)
I've heard fabric softener makes the best wallpaper remover. I've seen someone use it on TV. The wallpaper came down in big sheets. You have to score the paper first so the solution can soak into the paper backing. They sell a spikey wallpaper brush to do this. I forget what it's called.
I've personally used a strong vinegar and water solution from a spray bottle in like manner. It works pretty well, but the paper came down in small, annoying pieces. (02/06/2007)
Fabric softener (Lenor but next time the cheapest bargain stuff I can find) in warm water, wiped on. Score using sharp knife (kitchen drawer), wipe again. hey presto (04/01/2007)
I've used hot water, warm water with fabric softener, and the DIF products (paper tiger, scraper, and solutions). None of them have worked on the paper I have - a foil-topped paper...About an inch at at time is all I can remove - at this rate I'll have it down by the time we want to sell our house in 10 years!
Will try the steamer - Here's hoping!!! (05/30/2007)
I used DIF and two different scorers and no luck yet! Help?! I'll try the fabric softener and steamer! Any other advice? (08/07/2007)
Thanks to the advice on this site I have saved what little sanity I have left after trying to use DIF to remove my VERY stubborn wallpaper border. I scored the paper with the Paper Tiger as mentioned above, then I used hot water and fabric softener (i just soaked about 6 sheets of Bounce in hot water in a pail) and soaked the wallpaper very well (keep it wet while removing) and it came off fine. To do the entire border will probably take a weekend, but it's much better than using any commercial wallpaper remover! THANK YOU FOR THE ADVICE! (08/19/2007)
I used a paste made of artichokes with a little olive oil, butter and garlic on toasted ciabatta bread.....but that isn't to remove wallpaper. It is to sit in the next room and watch the football game. The best device EVER invented to remove stubborn wallpaper is a resourceful wife, who knows where HER bread is buttered. JUST KIDDING. The vinegar thing works great. (09/13/2007)
By tuff stuff
After trying fabric softeners, TSP solutions, paper tigers and scoring on a small section of wall with wallpaper with a water resistant top layer (some kind of metal foil) with no success, I finally removed it by using a small hand wood planer (about $20). I set the blade to a very shallow setting (simple turn of screw) as you would if you were wanting to shave wood very thinly. The paper came off in nice long strips leaving only a few strips of the thin lower layer (looked like a brown paper bag roughened up). This layer was very water soluble and came off by simply wetting it and then peeling it off. Previously it was taking me about 1/2 hour of exhausting scraping to strip off 6 square inches, but with the wood plane method I finished the whole wall in a few hours. You may make a couple of gouges in the plaster below if you slip, but these can be easily patched with some ready mixed plaster or stucco. Hope this works for you, I was dancing with joy when I figured it out. (03/12/2008)
I've tried a lot of different things to remove wallpaper. If it was prepasted when it went up, the thing that works best is a spray bottle with warm soapy water. Soak the are a you want to remove, leave for a couple of minutes then use a paint scraper to remove. Works well! (03/12/2008)
Roger, you are a genius! Your wallpaper planing method has spared my husband and I hours of grueling work! We tried everything as well and nothing would work on our border paper with a plastic layer on top. We are dancing for joy as we have finished an entire room in about 2 hours. Unfortunately, the paper was stuck so badly to the wall that we have to retexture. But, it's a small price to pay to get rid of hideous ball sports paper! (06/14/2008)
We moved into a house that every room, bathroom, kitchen and even garage had wallpaper in. It took us about a month just to remove half the wallpaper, our room and bathroom we are having problems with, its like a thin plastic, we used the GIF and the roller with pins to make little holes but you have to put the gif on at least 3 times before even a tiny piece comes off.. i also rented a machine for wallpaper removal but after spending about 2 hours and not even getting a quarter meter off i gave up... HELP (08/15/2008)
This is all fine for most situations, but we have removed the "finish" layer and now what remains is a hard, gritty surface that is IMPERVIOUS to all of the above, except maybe sandpaper. Someone please tell me there's another way! (09/16/2008)
After removing wallpaper (with a steamer) that was pasted directed to the gray side of drywall without any sizing or prep. coat., I am left with 5000 small "hanging chads" of gray paper that makes up the dry wall for 2/3 of room. On the other 1/3 I have yellow glue deposits. What is the next step. Some one told me to shave the hanging chads (about 40 hours work) and then apply plaster, wipe immediately with a sponge to level and then repeat as necessary. Is there another way to remove the chad quickly? (blow torch?) Help! (10/02/2008)
Have you tried hair conditioner in hot water, spraying a tiny section at a time. It works great also use a chisel. It's great. (11/06/2008)
By scott banks.
40 year old wallpaper covered by 10 year old wallpaper was quite a project. First I peeled off the top layer of wallpaper. Then I used wallpaper remover called WP Chomp. It did ok but I found that once I got to the tougher stuff underneath, I had to use 1 part cheap hair conditioner to 2 or 3 parts very warm water. This seemed to work better than my previous idea of fabric softener and warm water. I had to reapply the concoction when it started to dry. The key is to soak the wallpaper AND adhesive backing down to the dry wall so it comes loose easily. I still had to use a scraper (actually an 8 inch drywall scraper) to take every bit of it off. Warm water is important, think how hard it is to rinse off in the shower with cold water vs warm water. Hope my 2 cents help you all out! (12/19/2008)
My bathroom has, I don't know how many, layers of wallpaper and several layers of cigarette smoke. I was thinking of using the fabric softener method but I don't think it will penetrate. Should I maybe try the vinegar method...
I really don't have the time to make this an expensive and time consuming project but it needs to be done. I have a tool for scoring and scraping. HELP!
I tore a corner of the wallpaper up and there is yellow, fuzzy backing behind it. I was told that the wall was prepped prior to putting the paper on in the first place. Where do I start...?? (01/03/2009)
Wallpaper removal is generally tough, unless the wall was prepped perfectly before the paper was put up.
I have found that using the hottest water possible along with a stripping solution works best. If you can, borrow or rent a wallpaper steamer that also works well.
Roger, You may be a genius or at least a sanity saver. We tried the wood planer after exhausting all other methods. We have removed a lot of wallpaper, and never had so much trouble. The first layer of wallpaper evidently had been painted over and we could not get the solution to penetrate even after using the tiger. The plane method worked great. Now wallpaper doesn't scare us anymore, although I hope I don't have to do it again! (02/09/2009)
I tried ALL of these methods and still have stubborn wallpaper on the walls! (02/12/2009)
I hate border! The best method is to NEVER have it in the the first place. We have Winnie the Pooh border (from previous owner) in one of our rooms and I have been scraping Pooh off the walls for hours. I have tried every method here and purchased 4 different products from a home improvement store and nothing is working. I am seriously considering knocking down the walls and starting over. I have taken wallpaper down before, I think this stuff was put on with Super glue. Good Luck! (02/14/2009)
How do you get wallpaper off the wall?
Jackie from Tell City, IN
I've use the fabric softener method for years. You MUST let it soak into the paper. And most importantly, remove the paper when it's wet. If you try to remove it when it's dry it will re-stick itself. (03/21/2008)
Rent a steamer, buy a scraper, and it should come off for you. Taking wallpaper down is a pain no matter how you do it. Plan on taking breaks or you will drive yourself crazy. Have a short story to read out of a magazine and maybe a cup of your favorite tea or maybe coffee. Good luck. Have fun. Invite some friends to help, and take some breaks together. (03/22/2008)
I have found the greatest thing for removing wallpaper. It is called Dif Wallpaper Stripper, made by Zinsser products. You put it on like paint, let it sit for 15 min, reapply, and wait another 15 min. It worked so well that I was able to start scraping it off with my finger after only 10 min of it sitting! I had 5 layers of wallpaper and a layer of contact paper, and this stuff took it all off. It is unbelievable! (03/28/2008)
We began with the DIF Spray. After hours of hard labor, scraping and scraping, it wasn't working. So I searched on "wallpaper removal" which brought me to this page, and one of the suggestions was to roll the DIF on. I gave up for the night. The next morning I went and got a 1 gallon jug of the DIF remover and applied it with a roller, and boy what a difference! It worked great. So my "bad luck" was not with the product, just the application that I tried to use it in. My advice is to skip the spray bottle, put down a drop cloth, and roll on the DIF. It definitely made a "DIF" difference for me.
I rolled it on and only waited about 10 minutes versus the directions for 15 minutes. But beware; if the DIF dries you will need to reapply and wait the 10 to 15 minutes for it to work. I also used a paper tiger (prior to applying the DIF) to score the wallpaper and plastic scrapers so not to damage the drywall. (11/29/2008)
The best product I have found for removing wallpaper is Wallwik. It uses wallpaper removal sheets. The sheets are soaked in warm water mixed with a paste dissolving solution. The sheets stick to the wall and the solution slowly soaks through to dissolve the paste. Pros: It's much quicker than steaming and it doesn't damage the drywall. Cons: The sheets are reusable, but you have to buy more solution. (12/07/2008)
By Mathew C.