Asked on Feb 09, 2016

Best way to remove wallpaper

by Bam4494978
What is the best way to remove wallpaper?
  43 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Feb 09, 2016
    I would recommend a product from Zinsser (DIF gel wallpaper stripper spray. It is a non drip product which will aid in the glue removal. This is also odorless and you can find it in the paint Department at Home Depot.

  • Becky Becky on Feb 09, 2016
    I'd go with Zinzer as well. I helped my mom take paper down in a bathroom years ago and it was pretty easy. They make a scoring tool after you have soaked the paper that makes removing it even easier.

  • Fran Fran on Feb 09, 2016
    Most wallpaper can be removed with water. Just wet--wait 'till it's soft--use a scraper to remove. If there's some still sticking--wet and scrape. I've used this method several times.

  • Pjakin61 Pjakin61 on Feb 09, 2016
    you can use fabric softener mixed with warm water in a spray bottle

  • Hot water in a spray bottle- I always start out with free. spray and soak and peel and repeat. Have a clean small metal putty knife to help scrape at about a 45 degree angle and carefully slide it under wallpaper. You do not need to buy anything at the store or chemicals. If the wallpaper gets tough, try water and white vinegar mix (which you use to get the residue glue off walls) or as pjakins suggested a small amount of fabric softner in a warm/hot spray bottle and soak the wallpaper. Put towels underneath along the bottom of wall for drips. You will make a mess but it so much better than painting over.

  • Betulove Betulove on Feb 09, 2016
    Thank you so much Betty

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Feb 09, 2016
    Depending on the type of wall paper it is some remedies my not work. So I would start at hopefully the easiest way. Good Luck

  • Gail Gail on Feb 09, 2016
    Truly tedious work. I'm doing it now in my kitchen. Peel off any that is loose. Using a scraper with a straight edge razor blade remove the top layer, being careful to not gouge the wall. Then spray what is left behind with hot water, let it sit for a minute and scrape off the remaining wallpaper. After the wallpaper is removed wash the wall to remove any reminding wallpaper glue. If you gouge any of the wall, repair with spackling compound, let dry, and sand until smooth

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Feb 10, 2016
    One of the best buys I made was a wallpaper steamer. Goes through layers of paint and wallpaper. Start by scoring the surface. Then spray with hot water and keep spraying til paper is soaked. Then use the steamer and a wide putty knife to peel it off. When finished, use a sponge to wash down the wall with warm water and vinegar to remove any traces of glue. Change the water-vinegar solution often as it can get mucky with left over glue.

  • Country Design Home Country Design Home on Feb 10, 2016
    I saw a trick once on an old DIY show- fabric softener and warm water in a spray bottle. Score the paper, spray it on, wait a bit, then scrape off. Don't make the scores too close together or you'll be peeling off little bits and strips at a time!

  • Ranger Ranger on Feb 10, 2016
    Do you plan to paint over it? I recommend sanding the worst of it (ie the joins and any tears/rip) and just paint over the rest.

  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Feb 10, 2016
    Hire someone or move! HA! I love wallpaper, but once I got it out of my house, I said NEVER ANOTHER PIECE! Some of it came down pretty easily, but the kitchen and dining room paper came off an inch at a time! The only good thing about wallpaper is that you can go a long time with it...with paint, you are continually painting...scuffs and smears! The only advice prepared to take your time. Careful with scoring because it will puncture the wall board underneath and you will have to patch and sand. The same if you get it too wet. Don't panic if the wall board puckers...give it time to dry. (Are you ready to call a mover?)

  • Jane Jane on Feb 10, 2016
    White vinegar and wine! The wine is for you lol: Mix white vinegar with equal part water: spray on to saturate. If it's vinyl coated paper, Use a steak knife to score the wallpaper. Work small areas: score, spray, let soak (the wine will keep,you entertained), then use a decent paint scraper. It's cheap, but does work. A good alternative if you are frugal (or cheap like me and don't want to rent a steamer).

  • Marsharie M Marsharie M on Feb 10, 2016
    I don't know how old your house is but if you plan on going the steaming route check to see if there is lead paint under the wallpaper. If there is and you steam the wallpaper, the lead gets released with the steam vapors.

  • June June on Feb 10, 2016
    Buy or hire a wallpaper steamer... Did mine in half the time as previous attempts... I know it can be messy underfoot when it falls but if you prepare the floor first with a cheap or old pair of curtains or even practice sheets from the pound shop.. It can be rolled up together and taken out. Good luck.

  • Beth Campbell Beth Campbell on Feb 10, 2016
    Really hot water and DIF in one of those pump sprayers (the kind you use for outside). I've removed tons of wallpaper and this is the best. Use a sponge with a scrubby side to scrub off the paper. Good luck! You will be happy you took the time to do it right.

  • Michelle Michelle on Feb 10, 2016
    I bought an inexpensive clothes steamer, scored the paper, spayed on fabric softener/water mixture, after steamer got hot, I worked in small areas using the steamer and a putty knife ( don't dig in with the putty knife or you'll be patching drywall ) after completly removed, used a hot sponge to wipe away residue. This worked like a charm and was much more affordable than a wallpaper steamer. Just be aware the clothes steamer will cause serious burns to your skin if you are not careful.

  • Queeniecda Queeniecda on Feb 10, 2016
    What worked with me was peel wallpaper or border off. All/some backing remains, IF you have a steamer (either for clothes or cleaning) saturate area, use putty knife to scrape. It might be a little messy..then wash/prep area to whatever you desire...I've done 4 rooms, with great results!!

  • Trudy Trudy on Feb 10, 2016
    I bought a really nice, wide wallpaper scraper at Lowes with a different handle than a regular putty knife. Go look in their wallpaper section, the angle is better. Pick up a tiger wallpaper scorer while you are there. Washing with a white vinegar and water solution will help remove the leftover adhesive.

  • Patti Patti on Feb 10, 2016
    The BEST method I have used, is first score the wall paper and then use the non iron able pellon, (interfacing) using fabric softener soak the pellon in water & slap it on the wallpaper smoothing it out with your hand. Keep it wet for about 20-30 minutes and it will simply fall off the walls. Good luck!

  • Cindy Cindy on Feb 10, 2016
    hot water & Downy in a spray bottle worked perfectly for me.....and made the house smell good!

    • Pat Miller Pat Miller on Feb 10, 2016
      @Cindy this is what my cousin uses and he is a professional paint and paper hanger... also get the tool that has the little teeth for scoring the paper first. it helps the water to get underneath. You can get them at the big box store or any hardware store. Makes it much easier. If it has been on for 20 or so years , as in an old home, it can take a little longer...some homes I have worked in had papers on 40 yrs or more before pre pasted papers

  • TDL Anna TDL Anna on Feb 10, 2016
    I recommend just painting over it unless it is already peeling off in big sheets. I have had pretty good success with mixing a pint of joint compound into a gallon of paint and then just painting right over the wall paper.

    • Patti Patti on Feb 12, 2016
      @AnnaTheRealtor I would never paint over it, when you need to remove the wallpaper it will be impossible to remove.

  • Susan Susan on Feb 10, 2016
    Cindy in Lincolnton, NC advises Downy (I used generic fabric softener) and this worked best for me as well. I bought a $10 plastic (one gallon) bug/weed sprayer bottle, added three cap fulls of softener, then filled with extremely hot water. Sprayed the walls and waited 5-10 minutes for the mixture to saturate. We have restored an old Victorian home and some rooms had 7-8 layers of wallpaper!

  • Shari Shari on Feb 10, 2016
    In my experience, there is no single "best" way. It seems to depend a lot on the wallpaper itself, how old it is, how it was applied, the type of surface it was applied to etc. A lot of time it's trial and error. I've used different methods to remove wallpaper, depending on how stubborn the paper is but I always start with scoring the paper with a "paper tiger." I took some wallpaper down just a month ago that was the easiest job ever! I just pulled off the top layer and then sponged warm water on the paper backing that was left. Came off so easy with a paint scraper, I was done in the blink of an eye! However, other wallpaper removal projects haven't been that quick or easy. I've used liquid fabric softener mixed with hot water applied with a spray bottle. A few times it worked really well for me--the paper came right off effortlessly with a paint scraper. Other times the fabric softener method did nothing but make my house smell good. A couple times I used DIF wallpaper remover--again with mixed results. After fabric softener, DIF and another brand of wallpaper remover failed me on one wallpaper removal effort, I purchased a basic wallpaper steamer from Lowe's for about $50. I have also painted over wallpaper that is stuck really well. However, I would only do that as a last resort--if you just can't get the paper to come off with any other method. In my experience, if you successfully pull the top layer of the wallpaper off and then paint over the 2nd (paper backing) layer, it looks like you have painted over paper, which you have. As you get into this project, you might even find you have to use a combination of products and techniques to get it off. It's definitely not a fun job but oh so rewarding when you get that last bit of wallpaper off! Good luck!

  • Tor3773467 Tor3773467 on Feb 10, 2016
    Soak with Downey that works great...also freshens the room nicely...

  • Shamrockcamper Shamrockcamper on Feb 10, 2016
    Get a "Paper Tiger" small tool to score the paper surface, do not press hard, purchase a Wagoner Steamer, very reasonable, costs about the same as a one day rental. These are by far the best purchases I have ever made. Friends and family love to borrow them. LOL

    • Patti Patti on Feb 12, 2016
      @Shamrockcamper As long as they return the steamer!

  • Susan Rutter Susan Rutter on Feb 10, 2016
    You can rent a machine that will remove it real faster. Better than store bought.

  • Aisling Chalian Aisling Chalian on Feb 10, 2016
    If the paper is more than a few years old, it may not come off. My husband and I tried to remove wallpaper in one of our bathrooms, but it was so old it had basically fused with the wall and some of the wall came off with it. We had to put up new drywall -- which is actually not hard, but can be difficult to sand smooth.

  • Mary Stanley Mary Stanley on Feb 10, 2016
    Spray it well with white vinegar. This has worked well for me in the past even old wall paper has come off pretty easy.

  • Joanna Joanna on Feb 10, 2016
    Fabric softener is supposed to work well. Just dampen a large sponge and dip it in a bucket of fabric softener and generously coat the wallpaper --it should peel right off! Hope this helps!

  • Sylvia Sylvia on Feb 10, 2016
    I tried commercial solutions, downey, vinegar all with limited results. My 92 year old mother told me, "water, water and then more water". She said you must get it really wet! I put down plastic drop cloths and wet the 33 year old wall paper really well with a spray worked when nothing else did! It will be messy but worth it!

    • Patti Patti on Feb 12, 2016
      @Sylvia Pretty similar to the method I recommended, it needs to stay wet!

  • Janet wertheimer Janet wertheimer on Feb 10, 2016
    I used a clothes steamer on wall paper that had been up since 1950. It came right off!

  • Carol Cobb Carol Cobb on Feb 10, 2016
    Purchase a tank sprayer (1 or 2 gal.) to wet the wall paper. I used 1/2 cup of fabric softener to a gallon of water. The key is to spray the paper and let the solution soak in for about 15 minutes or longer, re-spray if it begins to dry. You may have to "score" the paper to allow the solution to get to the adhesive. Continue to respray as needed while removing the paper. Some of the old grass papers are extremely difficult to remove.

  • Lisa Smith Hallmark Lisa Smith Hallmark on Feb 10, 2016
    I also use lots of water but add some blue dawn dish detergent to the mix and an ice scrapper. It slides right off

  • Nancy L. McKenna Nancy L. McKenna on Feb 10, 2016
    HOT water works best, you can use a regular iron set to steam to help loosen wallpaper

  • Starbright57 Starbright57 on Feb 10, 2016
    Some wallpaper is put on with vinyl paste, that is hard to get off. Water does not work well in that situation. A hair dryer would help.

  • Sherry Fram Sherry Fram on Feb 10, 2016
    Sponge fabric softener on the wallpaper then use a steamer has always worked best for me.

  • Allison Allison on Feb 10, 2016
    I agree with Carol. I just finished 2 bathrooms. 1 was grass cloth, horrible! hot water (from the tap) in a small pump and squirt sprayer, and a wide blade scrapped it off beautifully. I didn't have to wait long to scrape and no scoring was involved. Good luck , it's not as bad a chore as lots of people say.

  • Stacey Stacey on Feb 11, 2016
    Rent a steamer. It is worth every penny and will make the job easy. Just apply it to a section and the paper will peel right off.

  • Mary Mary on Feb 11, 2016
    I have success with cheap fabric softener mixed with hot water from the tap; add that to a pump sprayer and do a section at a time letting it soak. Then, use your 4" wide scraper or whatever width you want. Smells good and it works!

  • Carole Carole on Feb 11, 2016
    If you have dry wall be careful of using a steamer. I just pull the top layer off and then used a solution of half water and half vinegar. Let it soak for a bit and carefully use a scraper. Any residue can be remove with a Mr. Clean Eraser. I also roll up towels to catch any dripping which is important if you have hard wood floors. What ever method you use, it is a messy and thankless job. Good Luck!

  • Shirley Kalinosky Shirley Kalinosky on Feb 13, 2016
    I agree with Mary. I have used the fabric softener many times on all types of wallpaper. The first time was on 5 layers of it on my kitchen wall and they were back to the 1930's! The softener makes the whole house smell clean and fresh and if you put a drop cloth or towel on the floor, it will catch the drips and you can roll it up and shake it out and reuse it again. Also, I bought the pink colored DAP for wall repair. It turns white when it's dry and so easy to use Have fun.