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See all Interior paint how-to »

How to Remove Wallpaper

Skill:  Novice DIY'er

It is often best to remove old wallpaper, rather than trying to paint over it, to ensure your newly applied wall color looks its best.

For Best Results:

Make sure you allow time for your stripper solution to soak into the wallpaper.


Suggested Supplies

  • Bucket
  • Vinyl Gloves
  • Ladder
  • Wallpaper Stripper
  • Protective Apparel
  • Rags
  • Scoring Tool
  • Scrub Brush
  • Sponge
  • Wallpaper Scraper
  • Wallpaper Steamer

Suggested Products

Step 1

Using a scoring tool, create perforations in the wallpaper. This will allow the wallpaper remover to penetrate through to the wall.

Try lifting a corner of the wallpaper before scoring the surface. Many wallpaper companies now make strippable paper that is much easier to remove.
Step 2

Following the manufacturer's directions, mix the appropriate ratio of wallpaper stripper and water in an empty plastic 5-gallon container.

A wallpaper steamer can be used in place of liquid remover.
Step 3

Using a sponge, apply the remover mixture to a 4' x 4' section. Allow the mixture to soak on the surface for a minimum of 5 minutes. Do not allow it to dry.

Step 4

Starting in a corner of the wall, peel back the wallpaper in a 4' x 4' section. Repeat the process until all the wallpaper has been removed.

Step 5

Loosen the stubborn wallpaper sections using a scraper. If some paper backing remains, continue wetting and scraping the area until all the backing has been removed.

Step 6

Using a scrub brush, scrub the surface to loosen the remaining glue.

Step 7

To remove the solution and glue residue, wipe the area with a water-dampened sponge or rag.

Failing to completely remove the glue and paper will cause cracking or flaking of the surface when the paint is applied.