Easier Ways to Remove Old Wallpaper

Bedroom Wallpaper

Do you enjoy removing wallpaper? Of course not! It's a task that never reaches the top 10 "fun things to do" list for most people.

But if you're planning to sell your home in Albuquerque, then removing old wallpaper really is a must. So how do you remove it without removing your sanity as well?

Check to See If Your Walls Were Primed

Hopefully your walls were primed when the wallpaper was applied. This will certainly speed up removal.

This was a more common practice in the 1990s, as it kept the glue from forming too strong of a bond with the plaster.

It's easy enough to check if your walls are primed. Just loosen a corner or seam with a putty knife and pull. If it comes off in one sheet, success!

With well-primed walls, dry stripping should work for the entire job and you could finish a room in a couple of hours at most.

Water Works Miracles

Wallpaper glue is water-based, so you can still remove it if your walls are not primed.

It's a technique the pros use, it works so well.

Here’s what to do with water:

  • Score or perforate the paper and its backing in sections so water can soak through and loosen the glue. The pros recommend a scoring tool called the PaperTiger (under $20) because it doesn’t harm the wall.
  • Douse the perforated paper with hot water using a pump or compression sprayer. The big mistake most people make is using a regular old spray bottle or damp rag to wet the paper. This leads to hours of fruitless scraping because the paper and its backing don’t get sufficiently saturated. The sprayer, on the other hand, gives you the firepower to really soak the glue.
  • Let the paper soak for about 15 minutes and scrape it off with a putty knife.

This process will take about 6 hours for an average room, but it's better than how long it would take if you didn't know how to do this.

Avoid Chemical Strippers Because of the Fumes

Pros will use chemical strippers, as they work even faster than water. But the downside is the fumes, and it costs more than using water (of course).

Don't Try the Fabric Softener Trick

There's a rumor going around that fabric softeners, diluted with water, is a great way to remove wallpaper. Yet, no expert agrees with that method.

In fact, fabric softener makes removing wallpaper even more complicated and messier than just using water, as it ends up mixing the glue with the fabric softener. The fabric softener can also harm drywall.

So when it comes to removing wallpaper, the happiest journey (assuming your walls aren’t primed) involves water — and patience.