Asked on Apr 17, 2019

How do I get old wallpaper off that has been painted?

WilliamKathy Gunter LawBetsy


4 answers
  • Betsy
    on Apr 17, 2019

    Hi Dionnne: If there are only a few layers of paint on your wallpaper, it may be possible to properly remove it without having to install new drywall.

    To remove the painted wall paper you can start by scoring the outer layer of paint with a stiff wire brush or wallpaper scoring tool, like a Paper Tiger. Prevent damaging your walls by only using medium pressure.

    Use a wallpaper stripper or a mixture of water, vinegar, and fabric softener in a spray bottle. To prevent wall damage only spray small workable sections at a time. Let the mixture soak into the wallpaper for a few minutes.

    Next, you will need a 3-in-1 scraper tool. Use the sharpest corner to get underneath the painted wallpaper and start scraping away. I recommend scraping in alternating directions.

    It’s important to remember that every wallpaper job is different. There are many variances that come into play like different types of glue, or altering styles of paper that have been applied to various kinds of drywall or plaster. So, what works for wallpaper removal in one room, may not work for another.

    Good luck

    • Dionne
      on Apr 19, 2019


      Thank you for your great ideas and suggestions😊I am worried about damaging dry wall. My boyfriend told me he used a strong adhesive to stick the wall paper originally and then later painted over that. That was many years before I met him. Hopefully, it will work out okay,

      Thanks again,


  • William
    on Apr 17, 2019

    You will need to score the wallpaper. I use a 50/50 mix of vinegar and hot water in a spray bottle to remove wallpaper. Saturate the wallpaper and let it work. Use a putty knife to scrape off.

    Wallpaper scoring tool

    • Dionne
      on Apr 19, 2019


      Thank you so much for your great suggestion😊I will try it!


  • Kathy Gunter Law
    on Apr 17, 2019

    Peel as much as possible from the walls.

    If you can't get to the backing, you may need to score the paper with a tool. Paper Tiger is easy to find. Light pressure because you don't want to damage the wall behind the paper.

    Mix 50/50 fabric softener & warm water in a spray bottle or garden sprayer. I've read that vinegar is as effective but I have never used it.

    Allow the mixture to sit for 5 - 10 minutes so that it saturates the adhesive on the paper backing.

    Scrape with a plastic scraper.

    Once it is all removed, wash the walls with warm soapy water (blue Dawn is my go-to) and a microfiber cloth.

  • William
    on Apr 19, 2019

    If all else fails and it won't come off you can paint over it. I normally don't recommend paint over wallpaper but there are situations that is the only solution. Back in the day there was no "sizing" and people just wallpapered over drywall. That will never come off. Some people don't use 'sizing or primer not knowing they should. If the wrong adhesive was used it also won't come off as there are different adhesives for different types of wallpaper. Some people wallpapered over wallpaper and that is a pain to remove.

Your comment...