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Tips For Removing Wallpaper

Updated on February 11, 2011

Removing wallpaper can drive any sane person crazy. Especially when it is gold and blue wall paper straight out of the 1970's. I have discovered a way that is fairly easy and definitely cheap. I do not want to spend a lot of money peeling something off in shreds to put in the trash and I am guessing you don't either.

First you need to gather your supplies and I am betting that you have most of what you need on hand. We had everything we used in the house already. You will need the following:

  • spray bottle
  • vinegar
  • water
  • something with a straight edge blade, we are using a box cutter
  • towel or sponge

Are you wondering how it could be so simple? Many people told us we would need to use a steamer. We actually tried to rent one, but couldn't find a place that rented them. Then I remembered using vinegar and water to remove a wallpaper border many years ago.

Fill a spray bottle with about 1/3 vinegar and 2/3 water. Spray liberally on a section of wallpaper. If it is running badly, this is where the towel or sponge will come in handy. Just soak up the excess. I have found it best to wait 5-10 minutes before trying to peel the wallpaper off. Slide the blade under an edge and push it up. It should slide under easily, just be careful not to gouge the drywall. Once there is enough pushed up to grasp, pull it off as best you can. You might only get small pieces, but many times I get pieces that are several inches long. There might be some of the backing left on the wall at this point. Just spray again and wait a few minutes. The rest should come off easily.

If you are wondering if I just stand there waiting the 5-10 minutes after I spray the vinegar water on, I do not. I do other things such as cleaning, making my grocery list, reading to my kids, etc. Anything really. I do not have the time to waste staring at the wallpaper while the vinegar water is soaking in. I tried removing it right after spraying the vinegar water, but that was not nearly as effective at removing the wallpaper. So now I do other small things around the house while I am waiting. It makes it much more bearable when I don't have to stand in the same place pulling wallpaper for long stretches of time.

Yes this is tedious, but it is very simple and most important to me - inexpensive. So far I have not spent any money to get this project started since I had all the items in the house for other purposes. I do know that before I am done I will need to purchase more vinegar though. One gallon of vinegar is around $2.50, much cheaper than the expensive wallpaper removal products that your local Sherwin Williams will try to sell you.


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    • profile image

      Planetariu 4 years ago

      This is so funny . . . I started googling "remove 1970 wallpaper" and found this site . . . with a photo of EXACTLY the ugly blue and gold wallpaper I want to remove from my dining room walls!

    • profile image

      loveforlife 6 years ago

      i myseld spent a fortune on home decoration. Quite alot money(700 British Pound) just go straight to the handy man who did wall papering for me as i was bit scared to do it myself.But now i think i should have try this for my another room, might save few pounds after:P

    • Mary Contrary profile image

      Mary Contrary 6 years ago from Columbus, OH

      I'm anxious to try this. I have no idea when this paper went on but the house was built in '59. The paper is ugly enough to be just as old

    • johnr54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 8 years ago from Texas

      We used the vinegar idea on a small bathroom and it worked well!

    • profile image

      antemon 8 years ago


      I almost wanted to use swamp water to get the paper off :D

    • profile image

      Sandy 9 years ago

      I use an old metal spatula to slide under the paper and find I can lift off several feet at a time.

    • profile image

      Tracie 10 years ago


      Thank you Thank you, Thank you!!

      You have saved me so much time and money. This idea is fast and cheap!


    • profile image

      Amy 10 years ago

      Thanks! I was trying to figure out if we actually needed to spend 20.00 on the dumb tool, but now I will try and splurge for the spray bottle!

    • profile image

      LEEZA 10 years ago