How to Strip Wallpaper the Easy Way

Prior to starting, test a small area at the bottom of the wall covering on a seam near the corner of the wall. Try to peel off a little bit of the wallpaper by pulling upward. If it peels easily, congratulations! It’s probably a fabric-backed vinyl wall covering, and all you will have left to do after removing the wall covering is to wash the paste off the wall. However, if it pulls and rips into tiny little pieces, don’t worry; just follow the directions below.

Here is a list of items you will need to strip wallpaper:

wallpaper stripping supplies

Wallpaper stripping supplies

    • Laundry detergent
    • Painter’s plastic
    • Garden sprayer or an empty Windex bottle
    • Old towels or drop cloths
    • 3-inch or 6-inch putty knife
    • Green scrubby
    • Bucket of clean warm water
    • Sponge or rags
    • And finally, a positive attitude!

stripping wallpaper

Start mist spraying with your homemade wallpaper remover solution from the top of the sheet, one full sheet at a time. For the next 5 to 8 minutes, keep it moist with the mixture. Don’t rush this; patience will pay off here.

Start at the bottom of the sheet as you did before, and slide your putty knife underneath. Gently start to push as the wallpaper releases from the wall. Try to keep the sheet from tearing and slowly work it by pulling up toward the ceiling.

Removing wallpaper

After you have successfully removed all the wallpaper, it is very important to remove the adhesive from the wall. Wallpaper paste painted over will crack like a spider web, so it is important to remove the paste.

Replace your sprayer solution with 100% hot water with no detergent. Start where you first started removing your sheet of wall covering and mist spray the wall again lightly. Let it sit for about 2 minutes, then take your green scrubby and start wiping in small circles to loosen the paste. Follow that by wiping clean the adhesive off the wall with your wet sponge, then ringing the paste residue into the clean bucket of water. Change your water every 2 to 3 sheets until finished.

I hope your wallpaper stripping job comes off as easily as mine did. Bernau Designs is a professional wallpaper installation and removal company. If you would like us to do your job, we offer free estimates in the Detroit, Michigan communities. Please contact me if you have any questions.


Barry Bernau