How to Use a Wallpaper Stripper Safely

4 Materials
1 Day

After months of use with a wallpaper stripper, here’s my top tip on how to get the job done safely. And what to do if you don’t have one.

Written by Vikkie Lee of The Carpenter's Daughter:

First, if you don't have a wallpaper stripper, here's some things you can do instead:

  • Use a spray bottle with washing up liquid solution (that’s a few squirts of washing up liquid and water mixed.
  • Fill a big bucket with the same as above an apply with a sponge
  • Mix together warm to hot water mixed with cheap washing up powder and apply with a sponge. (Apparently this smells lovely).

My first tip is that once you've turned the wallpaper stripper on, leave it facing upwards to prevent damaging your floors.

And better still, leave it in a container such as a large bucket to keep it way from pets.

While the stripper is heating up (which takes about 15-20 minutes), score your wallpaper.

Or scrape off the raised areas as I do here with woodchip wallpaper. This will allow the stripper's steam to penetrate through the wallpaper easier.


Also, put a sheet down if you have carpets as it gets very messy.

And don't leave the steamer in the same place for too long as you can ruin the plaster.

Above, I rotate the stripper and scraper every few seconds, moving around the wall. It's also recommended to start at the top and work your way down.

Be extremely careful around electrics. Avoid stripping with the steamer inline with any sockets, switches and lights as you can electrocute yourself or trip the electrics.

You're best turning off the electrics, or dry scraping around these areas.

Another way is to get two people on the case as it's not a quick job.

For ceilings, wear goggles, long sleeves and good safety boots.

The soggy wallpaper gets slippy when landing on the top of the step ladders. Also any hot drips burn when they land on you.

I also never directly steam above my head. And I take my time to carefully remove. There's no rush.

Also, only work as high as you're comfortable with and not too high with step ladders.

When your wallpaper stripper runs out of water, don't trust the auto turn off functions.

If the element burns out, it can set alight. So make sure you turn it off immediately, let it cool down for a few minutes, then fill with water to use again.

And don't panic too much if you take chunks of plaster off while pulling the wallpaper off.

It happens to many of us and can easily be filled with polyfiller or patching up with plaster.

Steps from The Carpenter's Daughter here:

Suggested materials:

  • Wallpaper stripper
  • Wallpaper scraper
  • Bucket
See all materials

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The Carpenter's Daughter

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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