How to Remove Peelable Vinyl Wallpaper

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Things You'll Need

  • 2-inch putty knife

  • Disposable drop cloth

  • Bucket

  • 2 tablespoons liquid dish soap

  • Large sponge

  • Drywall taping knife

There are several types of wallpaper that you can use to add to the decor of a room, but few are simpler to work with than peelable vinyl wallpaper. Peelable wallpaper is a bit different than dry, strippable wallpaper. Unlike strippable wallpaper, peelable vinyl wallpaper has a thin paper backing. When removing peelable vinyl wallpaper, the backing stays on the wall. Once the face of the paper is off, it is possible to remove the peelable backing. Removing peelable vinyl wallpaper does not require the use of solvents, like many other wallpapers do.


Step 1

Loosen one corner of the vinyl wallpaper with a 2-inch putty knife. Place the tip of the putty knife at the top of the wallpaper corner and loosen enough paper that you are able to grab it with your fingers.

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Step 2

Pull the wallpaper down slowly with your fingers. As the vinyl wallpaper comes off, it leaves behind a paper backing on the wall. Once you peel the corner off 6 inches, let go of the wallpaper and grab it again where it meets the wall.

Step 3

Keep pulling the wallpaper away, grabbing the wallpaper close to the wall, until the complete strip is off the wall. Remove the next strip in the same way as the first strip. Do not attempt to simply grab the corner and pull. Always pull as close to the wall as possible and at an angle so the the face of the wallpaper folds against the wall.


Step 4

Remove the vinyl wallpaper in the same way throughout the room. Once the wallpaper is off and all that remains is the paper backing, lay a disposable drop cloth along the floor and against the wall.

Step 5

Fill a bucket with warm water and 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap. Dip a sponge in the soapy water and squeeze out any excess water. The sponge should be wet but not dripping.


Step 6

Wipe a 3-foot-square area of the backing with the sponge. Wet the backing with the water from the sponge, but do not saturate it. Allow the warm water and soap to work for 15 minutes.

Step 7

Scrape the paper backing and wallpaper glue off the wall with a wide drywall taping knife, starting at the top of your 3-foot-square area. The blade on a drywall taping knife is more flexible than a standard putty, and using it will cause less damage to the drywall. Scrape in a downward motion, allowing the residue to fall onto the drop cloth.

Step 8

Wet and scrape the paper backing until it is all off the wall. Dispose of the drop cloth in a trash can.


Some wall repairs might be necessary before applying new wallpaper.


Don't wet more than a 3-foot-square area at a time. This gives you plenty of wallpaper backing to remove without the possibility of causing water damage to the drywall.


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