Trying to get rid of that ugly wallpaper that’s a terrible eyesore? It won’t strip away easily and it’ll do its best to stay on your walls. Don’t waste away your days struggling – before you even start, follow our 3 best ways to remove wallpaper.
Preparing to Remove Wallpaper
Before you begin to remove any wallpaper, it’s best to prepare the area by clearing it of furniture and any other items. Protect floors by taping plastic sheets down with masking tape. This should be done tightly along the skirting board. It’s important a watertight seal is achieved to prevent water from getting onto the floor.
If there are any electrical outlets, cover these up and unplug anything that’s plugged in. Keep to hand a bunch of bin bags as well so you could throw in the stripped wallpaper as you go along. This will minimise the amount of cleaning up to do at the end.
Before starting any wallpaper removal method, begin by tearing the wallpaper with your hands. Start at the top corner of a wallpaper strip near the ceiling where it’s usually the loosest and pull downwards. Use a small stripping knife to help loosen edges along the wallpaper as you strip.
Once you’ve removed as much of the top layer of wallpaper as you, you’ll find your wall dotted with the backing paper which is held in place with paste. Or there might still be bits of the top layer in place. This is the tougher part of removing wallpaper and several methods can be followed to do this.
Whichever way you choose to strip wallpaper, the equipment you will need for any of the methods are:
- Safety goggles
- Overalls / old clothing / protective clothing
- Step ladder
- A set of stripping knives with different widths
- Rubber gloves
3 Best Ways to Remove Wallpaper
Here are 3 of the best ways anyone could learn how to remove wallpaper. If done correctly, the process can be effortless and quick so you could get on with decorating your walls after.
Chemical Liquid Solution
This is the easiest way to remove wallpaper when there are several layers. It works great on thick wallpaper as well.
- Chemical solution (comes ready to use or to be mixed with water)
- Large sponge or spray bottle
Step 1: Put your gloves on. Prepare the solution by following the instructions on the packet. Do this in the bucket.
Step 2: Take the sponge and soak this in the bucket of solution. Wring some of the liquid out and wipe the sponge along the backing paper on the wall to soften the paste. Alternatively, fill an empty spray bottle with the solution and spray on the wallpaper. Allow the solution to soak in and do its magic for 5-10 minutes.
Step 3: Once the wallpaper is loose enough, start scraping the wallpaper with a scraping knife. Keep the knife fairly flat to the wall to avoid chipping off bits of the wall. This may take a while and the solution can dry up so moisten the wall again when needed.
This machine can be horrible to use in hot weather due to the hot steam it emits but it’s the best way to remove wallpaper fast particularly stubborn ones. Care must be taken when using a steamer as you could scald yourself on the hot steam and leaving it too long on wall surfaces can cause damage.
- Electric wallpaper steamer
- Heat resistant gloves
- Heat resistant board
- Stripping knife
Step 1: Open windows and doors to provide ventilation in the room. Using the jug, fill the machine with tap water and allow it to heat up on the heat resistant board. Make sure this is done on a flat surface to prevent the steamer from falling over. The machine is ready to use when you see steam coming from the steamer’s plate.
Step 2: Place the machine’s plate on a strip of wallpaper at the bottom of the wall for about 5-10 seconds until you see dampness on the wallpaper around the plate. Take the plate off and the dampened wallpaper should be easy to peel off. Move up to the next section and repeat. It’s best to start at the bottom as steam will rise and soften the rest of the wallpaper upwards.
Step 3: If wallpaper doesn’t come off on the first steam, use a stripping knife to help ease the wallpaper off. Avoid placing the steam plate on the same area again as it could damage the wallpaper.
Step 4: Use a smaller steam plate for awkward areas such as around radiators or windows.
Hot Water and Vinegar
This isn’t the easiest way to remove wallpaper but it’s the cheapest and (almost) safest way. Besides being a great cleaning solution, white vinegar also helps to dissolve wallpaper paste. Free of chemicals and only costs you a few bottles of vinegar and your water and electric bill.
- White vinegar
- Large heat resistant bowl
- Heat resistant or rubber gloves
- Large sponge
Step 1: If your tap water doesn’t run hot enough, boil enough water to fill up half of your bowl. Pour the vinegar in to fill up the rest of the bowl. This may be added into a spray bottle instead.
Step 2: Put your gloves on first!
Step 3: Soak the sponge with some hot water (not soaking wet) and wipe it along the wallpaper. Or spray if using a spray bottle. Allow the solution to sit for 5 – 10 minutes.
Step 4: Gently scrape the wallpaper off with a scraping knife. For hard to budge bits, soak again with the solution.
Removing wallpaper is a long process and can be tedious. The process can be sped up or made easier by:
- Alternating between different widths of scraping knives depending on the size of wallpaper you’re trying to remove e.g. use a small width scraping knife to remove a small piece of wallpaper.
- Preparing for wallpaper removal as suggested.
- Getting someone else to prepare food or have food ready to eat!
- Enlist the help of a few friends, especially ones who know how to remove wallpaper easily.