How To Remove Old Wall Paper

Q. I searched for and couldn’t find any issues on good ways to remove wall paper. I have a room that has 30 years of old wallpaper on it, any ideas??? It is stuck! – Christina

A. This is for the person with the old wallpaper. Mix a solution of fabric softener and hot water 1/2 and 1/2 and put in a spray bottle. Spray the walls and start peeling. You can soak a rag and rub the wallpapered walls as well but the spray bottle is less messy. My wall paper was 20 years old and came off like a charm. Just clean the wall after with TSP (TSP is just the name of the product. I guess it is only available in Canada. It is a all purpose heavy duty cleaner in a granule form. It removes wax, grease, wallpaper residue, cleans concrete etc. I don’t know what an equivalent would be that you could purchase in the US.) to remove the glue residue. – Monica

A. I saw this on "Trading Spaces"…you wet down the wall with a sponge, then with a scraper you take off the paper, for the STUCK on paper use the steam setting on the iron to lift it up then continue scraping. good luck – BB

A. Hi, Christina wanted to know about removing 30-year-old wallpaper, and said it was really stuck on. If it is really stuck on, then she doesn’t have to remove it to paint. There are excellent primers available to paint over the wallpaper with, as long as there are no loose seams. Put on the primer, put on the paint, save yourself a lot of hassle. I learned the hard way in my 100-year-old house. Sometimes you don’t want to know what’s behind the wallpaper! While painting is the cheapest way to change the look of a room, try to buy the best paint you can afford. It does make a difference. Hope this helps, – Cathy

A. I have removed a LOT of different types of wallpaper, and have found this to be the absolute easiest method. Get a good quality, large capacity squirt bottle (you’ll use it a lot, so spend an extra dollar on this). Starting at a corner or intersection, squirt about 5 square feet, all over the top of the wallpaper (even metallics and vinyl). Let set for about 15 minutes, then repeat, expanding the area you squirt. Now, with a large putty knife (I like to work with a 3" blade and a 1" blade) hold it next to the wall and gently lift up a corner of the paper. Using fingers, gently pull a large strip off. Continue as you are able, spraying in advance. Once you get started, it comes off very quickly. Use the scrapers to remove little patches of paper. Finally, wipe down the wall with a rough (like terry) cloth to remove extra wall paper paste. As a reminder, wall paper paste usually has pesticides in it, so be sure to wash your hands when finished or use gloves. – Valerie


A. We had a 100 yr. old home with the same problem. There was layer after layer of wallpaper. We tried solvents and rented steamers, and finally, the best method was getting a spray bottle full of warm water, and a putty knife. (alot less expensive also) You spray a spot, letting it sit a couple mins. then spray again and start scraping it while wet. It is a very long process but you will be happy you did when it is finished. You will want to get a big trash can and cover your floor w/ plastic. If you happen to get knocks in the plaster from all the scraping, apply spackle and sand smooth before painting. We invited some people over in one room and made a party of it. Everyone went to different corners and went at it. It was messy and fun!

A. I have had luck with a combination of a wallpaper steamer and a mixture of fabric softener and water. In a spray bottle, put a solution of 9 parts water to 1 part fabric softener. Score scoring the wallpaper, pull as much of it off as you can, then in small sections, spray the softener solution & steam the wall. Use a scraper to gently scrape up the wallpaper & adhesive. You have to be careful not to tear the drywall. If you are painting & want a textured wall, I highly recommend the spray-on texture you can find in the paint section of most home improvement stores. Good luck!! Theresa in Spring, TX

A. Hi Cristina, Home Depot has a great information page about different ways to remove wall paper (wall paper steamer, liquid removers, etc.) The page helps you assess which way might work best for your wall paper, and they even rent wall steamers out if you decide that’s what you want to do. Just visit their website at – Good luck! -Rebecca

A. When I redecorated our house, I would use a Paper Tiger (available in Walmart crafts section) and ran that over the wallpaper to score it (create holes). Then, I just sponged on warm soapy (dish soap) water. I tried some of the chemical strippers and wasn’t happy at all. I had much better luck just using a pan of warm dishwater. I would thoroughly soak the wallpaper and let it sit for a couple of minutes and then just scrape off with a putty knife. It was a mess, but it worked. – Beth Casey

A. In answer to the 30 years of wall paper build up. We had the same issue when we remodeled. I had tried the routine water and vinegar and even bought some mixture that you add to water and all it did was make my arms sore and the paper came off in tiny little bits. Our solution was to rent a wall paper steamer from our local hardware store. The charge was $5 a day. It’s a electrical unit that you fill with water and wait until it gets hot. The steamer part is about the size of a piece of paper. There is a hose from the steam tank to this flat plastic part. Hold it on the wall for about a minute or less and use a large putty knife to scrape the paper off. For us it took of 8 of our twelve layers at once. It was amazing and it did the job. Just remember to lay down lots of newspaper before you work to wick up excess moisture and, of course, the wet paper mess. No chemicals used, it was great.

A. I have tried two methods…….. If there is just one layer of wallpaper…….buy a scoring tool and DIF ,follow instructions . I had to apply it twice. first application removed the top layer……second removed the backing. I didn’t wait any time as they suggested because it seemed to dry out. Now in my kitchen where there were multiple layers, I first tried the DIF but I ended up getting a Steamer to finally get it off. Perhaps there is someplace that you can rent one. I bought a refurbished one from an online site. Hope this helps, Kaye