Simple Wallpaper Removing Tips

Simple Wallpaper Removing Tips A few months ago, my husband and I spent weeks looking at houses and found our dream house! We saw so much potential in this particular house, even though it was covered head to toe in wallpaper downstairs. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not anti-wallpaper. I think it could make a great statement as an accent wall with a bold design or color, but this wallpaper didn’t really go with our style, and it made all the rooms seem extra dark. So we did what anybody who is clueless about wallpaper removal does—we went right out to the hardware store and bought a steamer. We ended up testing several different methods before we found our system, and—spoiler alert—you probably don’t need a steamer! This was our favorite method.

Simple Wallpaper Removing Tips Step One: Score the wallpaper. We did this first! The more you score, the more the water soaks in. It’s like giving your wallpaper thousands of papercuts.

Step Two: Spray the wallpaper with water. You can try seeing if your outer layer will peel off easily immediately, but if not, you’ll probably have to wait about ten minutes for it all to soak in. Rather than spray a little bit, wait, and peel. You can spray all of your walls, and then by the time you’re done spraying everything, you’ve probably passed enough time and can start back where you first sprayed and try peeling the outer layer off. Go, you!

Step Three: Peel the outer layer off. Get it done! It feels great! Next, you have the adhesive layer, which is a lot harder, so get yourself a coffee or something and gear up. If your outer layer is being stubborn, you might want to try re-spraying it and waiting ten more minutes.

Simple Wallpaper Removing Tips Step Four: Spray the adhesive layer. Make sure and spray every inch so it all soaks in! You will also have to wait this one out, too, so do what you did before: spray all your walls, and then come back to where you started, and peel it off. It feels amazing when you peel off whole sheets at a time. So rewarding!

And you’re done!

Simple Wallpaper Removing TipsThese are the tools we found worked the absolute best. We grabbed this Piranha wallpaper scorer here, and the Piranha wallpaper scraper here, but there are probably other comparable products out there that would work just as well. For our sprayer, we used a garden sprayer! We filled it with hot water, pumped it up, and found that it worked really well to spray a large area evenly. Extra tip: a lot of people suggested we use fabric softener with the water. We did try that but didn’t really find much of a difference between using just water, and fabric softener and water, although it might work on wallpaper that is being a lot more stubborn than ours was. 🙂

Wallpaper removal is not as scary as it sounds! We actually had fun working on our walls and getting them ready for painting. Any wallpaper removal tips you’d like to share in the comments? xo. Sarah


Credits // Author: Sarah Rhodes. Photography: Sarah Rhodes and Josh Rhodes. Photos edited with Stella from The Signature Collection.

  • I’m about to move into a rental that my boyfriend and his roommates already live in. The bedroom is covered in horrible ’80s wallpaper that reminds me of my parent’s bedroom. I know you say it’s not that bad to remove. Is it worth it in a rental, or should I just try to hide it with art/tapestries/etc. ?

  • Somehow my comment didn’t show up, but, my tip is; Vinegar. The cheapest kind, doesn’t matter. Soak the wallpaper in it (use a sponge) and have a half an hour coffee break. When you come back you can easily peal it off!

  • In Italy we don’t use wallpaper! But thank you for sharing tips… I love use this kind for my paint work

  • I wish I’d heard the vinegar trick before! Maybe next time, ahh! 🙂 -Sarah

  • Good question! If anyone else has tried that feel free to chime in – if it were me, I would try scoring it and spraying it before anything else, just in case that worked! 🙂 -Sarah

  • We kept going around the trim and wiping it down with dry towels the whole time just in case, but nothing was damaged! Just as long as the trim doesn’t soak. 🙂 -Sarah

  • Yeah! It was tempting to say it was easy but it really wasn’t – it just wasn’t complicated, if that makes sense. I know everyone’s experience is going to be different too depending on your walls and the age of the wallpaper! I’m so sorry you had such a rough time! -Sarah

  • How timely! My kids have actually just started ripping off the wallpaper in our dining room- forcing me to do what I’ve been dying to do and GET RID OF IT! Thanks for the tips! Here’s to hoping mine comes off as easily as yours!

  • Warm vinegar and water sprayed on the glue has always taken it right off in my house. Heat the 50/50 vinegar water mix, spray the wall and let sit 10 min. Worked great for me and few friends that tried it in their homes.

  • When we removed the wallpaper from our 1890’s home, we used water mixed with white vinegar. Wallpaper was on drywall, plaster and in a few places, it was on top of concrete that had been used to patch the plaster!! It actually worked so well that we were able to read the comments that were written on the wall before the wallpaper had been applied back in the 1940’s!! Sketches of mom and all!

  • This looks like it was a real tough job! You guys did great though. And thanks for the great tips. We used self-adhesive wallpaper this time around and I am hoping we never go through that kind of chore again!

  • We’re days from closing on a 5 bedroom house cooooooovered with wallpaper. Perfect. Timing.

  • I sent this link over to a friend who is renting a house from another friend, who said that he is more than welcome to fix the place up while he is living there. The house is older, so there are a few rooms with wallpaper- I sent him this link, hopefully it’ll help him. Thanks for posting about it! (:

  • I’ll be honest, even though wallpaper is SO stubborn to take off, I kind of love it because it’s really very rewarding in the end. I’ve use water and water + fabric softener before as well, and I didn’t really find a difference in my wallpaper removal either. And I’ve scraped lots of wallpaper off in my days. 😉


  • I’ll be honest, even though wallpaper is SO stubborn to take off, I kind of love it because it’s really very rewarding in the end. I’ve use water and water + fabric softener before as well, and I didn’t really find a difference in my wallpaper removal either. And I’ve scraped lots of wallpaper off in my days. 😉


  • Every room in our house was filled with wallpaper when we first moved in. I got to the point where I didn’t even bother scoring the wallpaper. I just peeled off the outer layer and then using hot water on the adhesive underneath.

  • Can I give you another tip for your next wallpaperremoval adventure? Try spraying or using a soaked sponge with vinegar instead of water. I promise, it works wonders. Just soak the wallpaper with it, have coffee for half an hour and you can basically kiss it off afterwards!

  • Love these tips! It was such a hassle to remove the wallpaper that we decided just to paint it white. The place was rented and we wouldn’t stay there long anyway.

  • Ah…….wallpaper removal! This post brought back memories, not very long gone, of the huge amounts of stripping we had to do in our house. I’ve been trawling my blog to find pics to show you….we used the steamer but turned out I’d been using a filling knife instead of a wallpaper stripping knife! It took FOREVER and we tried all tricks in the book, fairy liquid in the water, spray, scoring. It was a combo of everything and bucket loads of patience that eventually paid off!!!


  • I dont know if they do this in the USA but in the UK they tend to plaster over the gyprock boards for a smooth finish and we found out to our cost that using a steamer can actually remove the plaster from the walls along with the wallpaper…not funny and very expensive to repair!

    Just one more thing you should mention..once you have the wallpaper peeled off the walls, you need to get the paste off too, otherwise when you paint the walls it can look really lumpy. Spray the wall with water and dish soap. I believe there are some products on the market that you can buy to get paste off the walls but I always found elbow grease and a mix of dish soap and warm water does the trick!

  • Great tips. I have two rooms I need to do this to, you make it sound less daunting!

  • If you want to paint the walls it could be a good idea to spray a little bit of water on the wall to see if it wrinkle or come loose from the wall. If it doesn’t you could easily just paint straight on the wallpaper!

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  • Nice! I removed some wallpaper in my bedroom, but it must not have been done a super-long time ago because I just used a spray bottle with hot water and most of it peeled right off! Love the idea of scoring the wallpaper.

  • I so wish wallpaper removal had been this easy for us! When we bought our 1960’s ranch 2 years ago, practically every wall was covered in 2-5 layers of wallpaper. And to make matters worse, some of it was originally applied to unprimed drywall. It was a nightmare! There is no way water and scoring would have cut it for our walls. We had to rent a commercial steamer, and still weren’t able to get all of the wallpaper off in some areas. In one room we were forced to rip out the drywall and start from scratch. You can read about our wallpaper debacle here:

  • This is good to know! My parents just bought an old home full of old wallpaper that will need removed. My mom will be thrilled to know about this!

  • If you’re soaking the walls essentially, down to the adhesive, is there any water damage or molding? How do you dry it?

  • I am so happy that I saw this post, I have a home project of redo my basement room!

  • I can’t say thank you enough for posting the tip about fabric softener on IG. It helped so much this past weekend!

  • We have tried water, water with fabric softener, a steamer, professional wallpaper remover and a few other ideas. In the dining room we ended up gouging the walls so badly we removed the Sheetrock and replaced it. Now we’re working on the kitchen and was told by a professional painter to just mud the entire area and paint over it all.

    I have read so many blogs where they go on and on about how easy it is to remove wallpaper. Fun even. Well, all I have to say to that is boo. (And good for you. Love the blog:)

  • Great info on what can be a daunting task!

  • We just did this in our entryway and your tips are spot on. Our wallpaper came off pretty easily (whew!). Looking forward to seeing what you do with these walls. 🙂

  • i know the wallpaper was probably a little overbearing for an entire room but it was actually pretty 🙂

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