ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Tips for Removing Old Wallpaper

Updated on February 10, 2018
Matt G. profile image

Matt is a professional painter sharing house-painting tips, related product reviews, and his experience in the trade.


What's the Easiest Way to Remove Wallpaper?

Removing old wallpaper can be difficult and time consuming if you've never done it before. A common method often recommended by home improvement stores is to use a Paper Tiger tool to perforate the surface, and soak the walls with hot water to loosen the backing underneath, but the problem with this method is the spikes on the bottom of the tool poke tiny holes all over the drywall.

Peel Off the Surface Layer

The easiest way to remove wallpaper is with hot water and a scraper. The first step is to cover the floors with drop cloths otherwise they'll be covered in glue and shreds of paper.

To take down wallpaper easier, the top layer of the paper itself should be peeled off of the backing first. Once the paper layer is removed, the backing layer left on the wall can be soaked with hot water. Most people attempt to soak both at the same time, but the reason this doesn't work well is because the paper on top prevents the water from penetrating the backing underneath.

Grab a loose corner of the paper and try tearing it off in one whole sheet to expose the paper backing underneath. Usually you can grab a loose corner at the bottom of the sheet near the base board, or use a putty knife to lift up a corner high enough to grab with your fingertips.

Very thin wallpaper tends to tear more when peeling, but vinyl material usually peels off a lot easier without tearing, sometimes in one piece.

Soak the Backing with Hot Water

After the top layer is peeled off, start soaking the paper backing on the wall with hot water. A fast way to apply the water is with a paint roller on an extension pole, or use a pump sprayer. Allow the water to soak into the backing for about ten minutes.

Once the backing is totally soaked, start scraping with a putty knife, or a taping knife. A large taping knife works best. Most wallpaper backing comes off easily, but if not, soak the wall again with hot water mixed with a little fabric softener. All of the glue and backing should be completely removed, and the walls should be wiped down with clean water at the end.

Wallpaper Steamer

Using a steamer is the second easiest way to remove wallpaper that won't come off using the first method in this article, but it's a slow process. Steaming involves working in small sections at a time, holding the machine against the wall. A steamer penetrates the surface with continuous heat to basically melt and weaken the glue underneath so the material comes loose.

This method usually involves a lot of messy scraping, but steaming works well for paper that won't budge, and they're easy to operate. Most major home improvement stores, or rental shops, rent them.

Painting Over Wallpaper

If you've tried everything and removal seems impossible, you might want to consider painting over the wallpaper instead. This should always be the last resort, but it can be done successfully without any problems if the material on your walls isn't loose or bubbled.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)