Asked on Feb 08, 2015

How would you remove old ugly wallpaper and wallpaper borders

How to remove wallpaper and wallpaper borders without damaging the plaster/drywall wall.
  13 answers
  • Dianne guentner Dianne guentner on Feb 08, 2015
    Removing wall paper and boarders

  • Teresa Mahnke Teresa Mahnke on Feb 08, 2015
    Borders are easy. Just dampen them, especially around the edges. Let it sit a minute or 2, then use a wide scraper. Whole walls are more difficult, but you don't need to rent a steamer. We use an old towel which has been dunked in water. You can rinse it out now & then to get the glue off.

  • Dorothy Dorothy on Feb 08, 2015
    with fbric softener and a roller type you get at hardware store

  • Jeannie Andrews Jeannie Andrews on Feb 08, 2015
    I used a spray bottle, bit of fab. softener and warm water and a putty knife. Lots of muscle but it is pretty easy.

  • Loribeth Loribeth on Feb 08, 2015
    Some wall paper will peel off in layers. See if the top layer will just peel off leaving the backing on the wall. After that you can moisten what is left with a mixture of fabric softener and water, then start scraping.

  • Linda J Linda J on Feb 08, 2015
    I used a damp wash cloth and my steam iron. Worked well for me and didn't cost anything!

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Feb 08, 2015
    Bought a steamer many years ago and it has paid for itself many times over in time, effort, frustration levels, etc. First see if it is dry strippable. If it is just the backing left, this should come off easily if wet. If not strippable or there is paint over wallpaper over paint, etc - then score the paper, spray down well with hot water, let it sit, and keep it wet. Then put the steamer to it. Use a putty knife and the layer(s) will just peel away. Make sure to rinse the wall with warm water and a little vinegar to get any glue residue. My steamer has removed layers and layers of paint over wallpaper.with no damage to the plaster, and removed paper that had been affixed at the seams with what looked like contact cement.

  • Shari Shari on Feb 08, 2015
    From my experience, removing wallpaper is often a matter of trial and error since what works on one wallpapered area doesn't necessarily work for all wallpapered areas. You just have to experiment because there are so many varying factors like the age of the wallpaper, the thickness of the paper, what type of wall it has been adhered to (wallboard or plaster), etc. Sometimes I have good luck just using some fabric softener mixed with very hot water and sometimes I don't. Sometimes wallpaper removers like DIF have worked and sometimes they haven't. There have been times when I have had to resort to using a wallpaper steamer. On two occasions I couldn't get the wallpaper off with any method so I had to admit defeat and paint over it--definitely not the best option but sometimes you've gotta do what you've gotta do! When you are ready to get started, grab the paper at a corner or along a seam and peel and pull. Usually there is a top (decorative) layer and a paper backing. If it is already loose, the top layer should come off fairly easily (hopefully), leaving you with just the paper backing. You can use a putty knife to gently pry up the corners of any sections that are more firmly attached. To remove the paper backing, I would start by mixing some laundry fabric softener with HOT water in a spray bottle. Saturate the paper and let it sit for a few minutes to soften the paper and adhesive and then try scraping with a putty knife, being careful not to gouge your walls. Heat and moisture is what helps dissolve the adhesive so in most cases, the wetter you keep the paper, the easier it will be to remove it. If the fabric softener and hot water doesn't work, then you may want to try a chemical wallpaper remover like DIF. Or, if you can borrow a wallpaper steamer from a friend or relative, the steamer can make the process go a whole lot easier too, but I was surprised to find that a basic model isn't really very expensive. I think I bought my wallpaper steamer about 5 years ago for around $50 at Lowes. If you are going to be removing a lot of wallpaper, it will pay for itself by saving your sanity. As you remove the paper, it is helpful to have a big trash bag or trash can handy to throw the paper into immediately. If you just drop it on the floor, that's more work when you have to go to pick it all up! Also you definitely should have a big sponge or rag and a bucket of clean water handy so you can thoroughly wipe your walls down as you remove the paper (and change the water often). After all the effort in removing the wallpaper, you don't want the glue residue drying on your walls. If you are planning to paint after the paper comes down, residual glue can affect your paint job. Good luck! Removing wallpaper is certainly not the most fun DIY project but it sure is rewarding when that last little bit of wallpaper comes off!

  • Julie Dever Julie Dever on Feb 09, 2015
    All of the suggestions above can work. I was a member of the National Guild of Professional Paper Hangers for 12 years. The worst thing is removing paper and finding out that the walls were never primed properly. If you love wallpaper like I do, always make sure the wall surface is properly primed to protect it and to make it easier for the wallpaper's adhesive to adhere properly but be easy to remove when you change your mind! Repairing gouged and ripped -- unprimed drywall is far more costly than a bucket or two of good quality primer.

  • Linda Linda on Feb 09, 2015
    I gently scored some I had in my house and sprayed with car window washer solution and let soak. Came off easily.

  • Jan Munroe Jan Munroe on Feb 09, 2015
    Ace Hardware makes a little sprayer that you can pump, holds about a quart of water and has a fine mist.Fabric softener, hot water, and if you wish a little white vinegar. Vinegar is a glue dissolvant and helps with that bottom layer. Good luck

  • Dorothy Dorothy on Feb 16, 2015

  • Marie Marie on Aug 24, 2021

    I bought a wallpaper steamer remover for $24 at Lidl and removed paper all over my old house I bought 2 years ago.

    it’s fast food bd FANTASTIC bc it removes all papers and paper layers like I had here!!!

    it’s clean job

    i tried the liquid paper remover from Lowe’s and home depot.. it works only on one layer paper or recent wallpaper kind does not work on old paper from the 60’s or 70’s