How to Strip Wallpaper from Walls
By: Danny Lipford
To strip wallpaper off walls, start by scoring the walls with a wallpaper perforation tool such as a PaperTiger.
Next, cover the floor with plastic and mix the following wallpaper remover formula, as recommended by Brian Santos in his book Painting and Wallpapering Secrets, in a five gallon bucket:
- 3 gallons hot water
- A 22 oz. bottle of wallpaper stripper
- 1/4 cup fabric softener
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
Pour the stripper into a pump up sprayer and spray the wall starting from the top. Spray the wall a second time to make sure it’s saturated.
Cover the wet wallpaper with thin (0.7 mil thick) plastic sheeting, using a wallpaper brush to press the plastic in place.
Allow the plastic to stay in place for at least three hours (overnight is better).
Remove the plastic and peel the wallpaper off by hand, using a putty knife if needed.
Watch this video to find out more.
- How to Remove Wallpaper (video)
- Removing Wallpaper from Walls (video)
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- How to Repair Wallpaper Seams (article)
Wallpaper is a lot like politics; depending on the year, you either love it or hate it. When the “I hate it” time rolls around, you want to know the easiest way to strip that paper off the wall. In his book, Painting and Wallpapering Secrets, Brian Santos shares a sure-fire formula that works for most situations. Begin by taking a perforating tool, commonly called a PaperTiger, and score the surface of the wallpaper making sure to cover the entire surface. This is especially helpful when the wallpaper is vinyl coated.
Before mixing the stripping solution, cover the perimeter of the room with plastic, because you’ll have a lot of moisture on the floor. Next, take a five gallon bucket and pour in three gallons of hot water—the hotter, the better. Add a 22 oz. bottle of wallpaper stripper, a quarter cup of fabric softener, one cup of distilled white vinegar, and two tablespoons of baking soda.
Mix thoroughly and pour into a large pump-up sprayer. The combination of these ingredients will only remain active about 15 minutes. Starting in one corner and working from the top of the wall down, saturate the wallpaper with the stripping solution. Continue until you have sprayed the entire area. Repeat this process a second time.
After the wallpaper has been saturated twice, take some very thin painter’s plastic, approximately .7 mil in thickness, and cover the wall. The moisture of the solution will hold the plastic against the wall. It helps to use a wallpaper brush to help push the plastic into place. Once the walls are covered with the plastic, allow the mixture to work for a minimum of three hours, or overnight if possible.
After the waiting period, remove the plastic and start peeling the wallpaper off the wall. In most cases, it will come off easily by hand. Occasionally, you may need to use a 4″-6″ putty knife to get an edge started, just be careful not to gouge the wall surface.