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Home makeover Tips and Tricks

Top Tips for Stripping Wallpaper

We are not going to lie to you – removing wallpaper can be, and usually is, a bit of a pain. But chances are, you know that, and that is why you’re probably reading this right now, looking for ways to simplify this often-hated task.

Well, help is here, as we’ve taken it upon ourselves to note down some of our most handy hints and wallpaper stripping tips, so that your redecoration project can go just that little bit smoother. Good luck!

Prepare your room and walls

Preparation is key when stripping wallpaper. Never underestimate the job at hand; for a full room, we would suggest setting aside a full weekend, to give you plenty of time to do the job properly.

Removing old wallpaper can be messy work, so as part of your preparation you should try to protect your floors and furniture.  Take absolutely everything off the walls, from photographs to wall sockets and switches, and cover up any openings with plastic and tape to stop water getting in. Turn off the electricity in the room as well, just to be safe. If you are unable to remove all the furniture from the room, then at least get it all in the centre and cover it up.


Test the walls with a scraper

Once you have everything set up, use a scraper to test the wall to see just how many layers you are going up against. If, when using the scraper, you find there are a few layers of wallpaper, then you’re going to have to set aside some more time for stripping it all away.

How to remove strippable wallpaper

If you’re lucky, the wallpaper on your walls could be strippable, which means it is designed to easily peel off. You can often tell that wallpaper is strippable through its smooth texture – many vinyl wallpapers are strippable.

To check whether this is the case with your wallpaper, use a knife to pry away at a corner of the paper then pull it down at an angle with both hands. If it peels away in a long strip with no signs of adhesive underneath, then your job has just been made much easier!

If not…


Slit and soak your wallpaper

If it turns out your wallpaper isn’t strippable, you should begin the task of removal by creating a number of slits across the wall with a utility knife or specialist paper stripper. These slits should be around ten inches apart from each other on the wall and are designed to allow moisture to soak behind the wallpaper, making removal much easier.

Once you have scored your walls, you should soak the first section of your paper in warm water with a small amount of cellulose paste and liquid detergent. A sponge is an ideal way to apply this solution, although a spray bottle can also be effective. Leave the solution to soak into the paper for a few minutes.


Scrape your wallpaper

Once the moisture has soaked into your paper, you can begin tackling your wall with a wallpaper scraper. Use your scraper to slide behind the scores you have created and, holding the blade at a 30-degree angle, slowly scrape the wallpaper away from the wall.


Removing wallpaper paste

So, you’ve followed the above tips and managed to rid your room of your old wallpaper. However, the job isn’t quite done yet. You may find that, despite your best efforts, there is still some residue or glue left on the wall from your wallpaper.

To remove these final traces, you will need to mix a solution of:

  • Liquid soap – any regular washing up liquid will be fine
  • A tablespoon of baking soda
  • Vinegar (for more stubborn residue)
  • Hot water

Take a regular sponge and soak it in this solution, before applying to the wall. The solution should soften the glue or paste, after which you can wipe the majority away with a rag. Use a putty knife or similar scraping tool to remove any remaining lingering paste, leaving you with a completely smooth wall – ready to repaint or wallpaper!


For all the accessories you need for removing old wallpaper, including wallpaper stripping tools, be sure to explore the full wallpaper adhesive accessories collection at I Want Wallpaper. And, if you’re looking to redo your walls with brand new wallpaper, take a look at our handy How To Hang Wallpaper Step By Step Guide.