How To Remove Wallpaper

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Old wallpaper can make any room look dated, grungy and even dirty. Some parts can be peeling way, may be fading or could clash with new flooring and furniture. Removing the old layer for a fresh coat of paint or even a new, updated layer of wallpaper can make a huge difference in a room.

How To Remove Wallpaper
Image Credit: Gary Houlder/DigitalVision/GettyImages

Removing the old layer can be a bit cumbersome, though, and may leave residue or streaks of paper behind on the wall. Some methods for removing include using chemicals, but there are a variety of methods that will get rid of the old wallpaper and make room for something new to spruce up a room.


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Loosen the Adhesive

Most wallpaper is attached to the wall with an adhesive glue. To soften the adhesive, put some warm water into a spray bottle and moisten the section that you will start with. Take a box cutter and start sectioning the wallpaper every 2 to 3 feet. Once they're sectioned off, continue to moisten the wallpaper so that the glue loosens from the wall.


Another method to loosen the wallpaper would be to use a commercial steamer. The heat and water will help unbind the adhesive as well, especially if the wallpaper is very old and needs a harsher method than a spray bottle.

Scraping the Paper Off

To loosen the wallpaper from the wall even further, continue to spray with warm water. Another useful solution for removing the wallpaper would be 2 parts warm water and 1 part laundry softener or a gentle detergent.


Once it's soaked and allowed to sit for about 10 to 15 minutes, take a plastic scraper and start scraping the wallpaper off of the wall. Since it has been moistened several times, it shouldn't be extremely difficult for the paper to come off.

Removing Leftover Adhesive

There is sometimes residue left over from the adhesive once the paper is removed. It can be sprayed and scraped again. If it doesn't really come off after the second round of scraping, a chemical stripper will have to be used. There are heavy duty cleaners and strippers that can be found at hardware stores easily. Apply one to the wall, and the rest of the adhesive should come off with another round of scrapping and even a little bit of sanding to loosen stubborn adhesive residue.

Once that's done, clean the wall with soap and warm water and let it dry for 24 hours before painting or applying a new layer of wallpaper.



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