How to Take Wallpaper Borders Off Walls

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Outdated wallpaper borders can make a room seem drab or out of style. Removing them is fairly simple, and the small investment in time can update your decor tenfold. Taking them off properly will leave you with a clean surface on which to place more wallpaper, or to simply paint over.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic scraper
  • Mister bottle
  • Steamer
  • Liquid fabric softener
  • Sponge
  • Bucket

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If you have access to a steamer, know that this is the quickest and easiest method of removing wallpaper. Pass the steamer over the border in 1 foot-increments. Using a plastic scraper, try to lift the edge of the border and peel it off. You may have to steam an area twice before the border will peel off.

If you have a vinyl border, use the scraper to peel off the top layer before using the steamer method.

If you do not have access to a steamer or if the steamer is not effective, fill a mister bottle with 1 part warm water to 1 part fabric softener. Spray the border liberally and allow it to sit for five minutes. Use the plastic scraper to scrape off the wallpaper border.

For stubborn spots and areas where bits of paper and glue are stuck to the wall, soak a sponge directly in fabric softener. Use the sponge to thoroughly wet and scrub the border and any glue spots. Use the plastic scraper to remove what is left.

Once the border is removed, clean the affected area of the wall with a sponge and warm water and allow it to dry thoroughly.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are putting up borders you know you will want to remove later, use two-sided tape instead of gluing them on.
  • Vinegar will remove any sticky residue from the borders.
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