A hand scraping old wallpaper off the wall.
Light brown laminate flooring.

Removing Old Wallpaper is as Easy as 1, 2, 3!

How to Remove Old Wallpaper

Wallpaper is a great way to add boldness to your home, and if done the right way, it can look absolutely stunning. However, the opposite also rings true if it’s old, rundown wallpaper; unfortunately, it’ll just be a loud mess.

We know this can be a project you wish you’ll never have to start, but we’re here to tell you that everything will be fine. Stick through as we’ll run through the best way on how to remove old wallpaper with a step-by-step guide, so you’ll never have to feel like you’re alone in this process.

Why You Should Remove Old Wallpaper

First and foremost, let's discuss why you should remove wallpaper regardless if it's old, peeling, or simply in need to switch things up.

Though it's possible to layer on new wallpaper over old, it is not recommended due to a couple of different factors. This includes the durability of the old wallpaper, its chances of peeling in just a couple of years, and the color compatibility.

It is highly recommended to ensure the color of the existing wallpaper doesn't bleed through. Lastly, there's the texture of it. Any existing lumps and air pockets that are not apparent will highly likely affect the new finish. In hindsight, this may cause further damage to your wall and also your pockets.

The Best Way to Remove Old Wallpaper

There are many ways to remove old wallpaper, but the best way, in our opinion, is the one that requires lesser tools, gets the job done, and costs the least.

According to Aubrey’s Absolute Decorating, it takes two essential factors — hot water and patience, which is something we’re pretty confident you already have! This method works for both vinyl wallpaper and traditional wallpaper.

If you’re one of the luckier ones with vinyl wallpaper, we’re quite sure that this process will be a breeze.

Supplies You Need

We love how it doesn't take a lot of tools for this project. You can easily get them from your local hardware store or off Amazon.

These are the supplies you’ll need to remove wallpaper:

To Prep the Wall after Wallpaper Removal:

  • A bucket of warm clean water
  • A bucket of clean water
  • Sponge

Step-by-Step Instructions

Steph 1: Remove the Wallpaper

Before beginning any work, prep the flooring where you would like to remove the old wallpaper with dust sheets to protect the floor from water.

If there are any sockets on the wall, switch the power off to prevent accidental power damage when in contact with water.

With the wallpaper perforator, begin by rolling it on the wall — hard enough to tear off the paper but gentle enough that it doesn't cause marks on the wall. This method creates holes in the wallpaper, allowing water to get through, softening the old wallpaper paste.

With a flat wall brush, dip it into a mixture of about a quarter cup of dishwashing liquid and a bucket of hot water, brushing the walls in an arcing motion. Do this section by section about 4‒5 feet each time, allowing the mixture to soak for 2‒3 mins. Repeat this technique at least three times to enable the combination to do its magic and soften the old wallpaper paste.

After repeating the motion three times, find a seam in the old wallpaper and start to peel it off with a wall scraper gently. If the old wallpaper is soaked enough, it should peel off nicely with minor tears. When you’ve reached this stage, congratulations, you’re halfway there!

Step 2: Prep the Wall after Wallpaper Removal

With all the old wallpaper removed, prepare a new clean hot water bucket. Using a sponge, soak the wall with hot water to further soften the adhesive paste.

Once that’s done, using a wall scraper, start from the bottom and steadily scrape the wall in an upward motion; you will begin to see the residues from the paste.

Clean the paste off from the wall scraper and repeat the same motion all across the wall.

When most, if not all, of the adhesive residue has been removed, wipe off any remaining residue with a bucket of fresh, clean water and sponge. Voila — your wall is ready for a fresh new wallpaper design or even a coat of paint!

Step 3: Prepping the Wall

Congratulations! You must be feeling an immense sense of accomplishment now that you’ve reached this stage.

Although already complete, take it a step further by ensuring your wall is in its best condition by applying Gardz Primer & Sealant. This stuff is fantastic at making sure that your wall does not feel tacky or uneven if any adhesive paste remains.

With this very last step, you never have to worry about a bad paint job or problems installing new wallpaper.