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How To Remove Wallpaper

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Follow these instructions on how to remove wallpaper.

Tools and Materials:

  • Protective goggles
  • Rubber gloves
  • Utility knife or razor blade
  • Chemical wallpaper remover
  • Electric steamer
  • Wall scrapper
  • Heavy-duty detergent (trisodium phosphate)
  • Large sponge


Firstly score the wallpaper with a utility knife in a crisscross pattern; this enables the chemicals or steam (softening agents) to soak into the paste and soften it.

Wallpapers are made of vinyl or foil both of which are waterproof – therefore if it is not scored the paste will not soften.


Chemical wallpaper remover is best applied with a garden sprayer. A sponge can also be used but the process will take longer. The chemical usually needs to be mixed with water, so follow the manufacturer’s directions. Apply the chemical until the paper is completely saturated.

Wait a few minutes for the chemical remover to disintegrate the paste. (Always wear protective goggles and rubber gloves when using a chemical wallpaper remover)

An alternative to chemical wallpaper remover is an electric steamer. A steamer is easy to use and may be rented from most hardware stores. Fill the steamer’s tank with water and heat it electrically.

Once the hand held plate starts pumping steam hold it against the paper until the paste becomes soft. (The steamer will become very hot, so hold it away from your body and always wear protective gloves and goggles)


When using chemicals the entire wall can be saturated before scraping off the wallpaper. When using steam only steam a small portion at a time before you scrape the wallpaper. Use a wall scraper to scrape the paper as soon as the glue has been loosened. As the surface is soft be careful not to gouge it with the scraper.


To remove the excess adhesive from the walls us a heavy-duty detergent, such as trisodium phosphate and a sponge. (When working with any heavy-duty detergent, always wear rubber gloves to protect your skin) Use a clean sponge to rinse the walls.

Do not wallpaper or paint over the walls until they are completely dry.


Some wallpapers are peelable or strippable and do not require chemicals or steam to be removed. In this case remove using a utility knife to pry up a corner and pull the strip off the wall.

Once all strips of wallpaper have been removed, use warm water and a sponge to soften the adhesive, then scrape it away with a wide wall scraper.

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