Simple Way to Remove Wallpaper


Old wallpaper will not "just" peel off a wall. Removing old wallpaper incorrectly will leave glue and tiny bits of paper all over the wall. In the worst cases, incorrectly removing wallpaper can actually rip the texture and paint off the drywall. Avoiding this will save time and effort later. The drywall must have its damage repaired and all of the lumps of paper removed before applying a new coat of paint or sheet of wallpaper. Some wallpaper installers consider this the simple way to remove wallpaper.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire brush
  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Fabric softener
  • 4-inch putty knife
  • Sponge
  • Fan
  • Hand broom
  • Inspect the wall for loose wallpaper corners and seams. When removing wallpaper, always try to start in a corner and work to the center of each sheet.

  • Pull the loose corners and seams toward the center of the wallpaper sheet. Sometimes the wallpaper's outer coating will peel off in large sections, leaving only a backing paper and glue on the drywall. If the drywall's paint or texture peels off with the wallpaper, then stop immediately.

  • Score the remaining wallpaper's outer coating, often made of vinyl, with a wire brush. Usually when pulling the loose corners and seams, large sections of the outer coating will remain. Press lightly against the outer coating with the wire brush and break the coating's surface. Only press hard enough to score the surface and do not score any backing paper or glue that remains on the drywall.

  • Fill a spray bottle with a water and fabric softener mixture. Add one cap full of fabric softener to every quart of water.

  • Spray the entire wall with the water and fabric softener mixture.

  • Scrape the remaining wallpaper's outer coating and backing paper with a 4-inch putty knife. Use care to avoid damaging the wall's texture and paint. If the wallpaper starts to dry, then spray the wall with the water and fabric softener mixture again.

  • Wash the wall with a sponge soaked in the water and fabric softener mixture. The sponge will remove the glue and wipe away the little balls of paper that have stuck to the drywall. If the wallpaper used a heavy glue coating, then use two caps full of fabric softener to every quart of water.

  • Allow the wall to dry completely. Blowing air against the wall with a fan will speed up the drying process.

  • Sweep the wall with a hand broom. If any glue or paper remains on the wall, then remove it with the wet sponge.

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  • Photo Credit wallpaper image by Wendy Lea Morgan from
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