How to easily strip wallpaper



Stripping wallpaper from the walls isn’t a quick job, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful one. Follow our tips and advice, and you’ll have your room cleared in an afternoon, freeing up time to do more of the things you like.


Testing the paper



Before you start, it’s important to test the paper to see how many layers are beneath it, and how well the paper will come away from the wall.


Using a wallpaper scraper, choose a small corner and scrape away a small piece. You’ll discover if the paper is strippable, or if you’ll need to put a little more effort into pulling the paper away.


If your wallpaper appears to be strippable, your job is an easy one. Simply scrape away the corner, and gently but firmly pull the wallpaper down.


Soak the paper



It may seem as though you’re creating more work for yourself, but soaking your paper will make removing it much easier. Mix up a solution or liquid soap with warm water, and sponge it onto the wall you’re looking to strip, leaving it for five minutes or so.


This will loosen the paste beneath the paper, making it much easier to scrape away from the wall reducing the risk of taking chunks out of the wall material beneath.


Have a room with washable wallpaper that’s a bit more resistant? Break the water barrier by first cutting the paper with the edge of a scraper before you soak the wall. The water should be able to penetrate and begin to break down the paste beneath the paper.


Breach the barrier



Some wallpapers are tougher than others, especially in rooms such as the kitchen and bathroom, where they may have been chosen because they can resist grease, water and other elements.


The solution is simple: use fabric conditioner. Mix together a solution of fabric conditioner with warm water, and spread across the surface with a sponge. Leaving for around 15 minutes, this should break through the resistant barrier, and soften the paste to scrape the paper away.


If your paper is really resistant, or you’ve discovered several layers of old paper beneath the surface, a steamer could be the only option. These machines heat water and let you channel the steam to the wall to penetrate the surface of the wallpaper and loosen the paste beneath. You should be able to scrape away the paper without damaging the wall’s surface.


Preparing for your next paper



Stripping the wallpaper isn’t the only step before you hang your new paper. For a truly great finish, it’s best to prepare the walls to ensure the paper hangs smoothly, and you’re happy with the final look.

Sand the walls with sandpaper to give the surface a better finish for the paste to stick to. Once you’ve sanded, dust the whole area down and vacuum any particles to avoid them sticking in the paste.

Washing the walls with a water and soap solution will remove any dirt or debris left behind, then it should be dried with a towel. Be sure not to soak the wall – a damp sponge will do the job.


Stripping wallpaper certainly isn’t a fun job, but if you put in the effort and try some easy soaking hacks, it’ll be over before you know it! Learn how to tackle other decorating tasks with our expert range of How To guides.