3 Important Steps for Removing Wallpaper

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Removing Wallpaper


– Step 1: Remove outlets and switches

– Step 2: Install electrical dominoes

– Step 3: Case 1: Remove old wallpaper with hot water

– Step 3: Case 2: Remove old wallpaper with a special product

– Step 3: Case 3: Remove old wallpaper with a steam stripper

Essential preparatory work before applying new paint, a new coating, or a new wallpaper, removing wallpaper can be tedious. There are a few techniques to make the job easier and save time.

They will allow you to discover the state of the support and refurbish it if necessary (filling the holes, cleaning the dirt, blocking the backgrounds…). The gluing and the good behavior of the wallpaper are more effective on clean and uniform support.


  • Before removing wallpaper, turn off the power to the room, as the various methods use water.
  • Remove outlets and switches.
  • Consider protecting the floor with a plastic sheet taped to the baseboards, especially if the surface is fragile or porous.

1. Dismantle the sockets and switches

For switches:

◦ Unscrew or unclip the decorative switch cover with a flat screwdriver.

◦ Then unscrew the exposed mounting screws to access the electrical wires.

◦ Note the location of the wires as needed so you can reassemble them correctly.

◦ Unscrew the retaining screws and gently remove the switch from the wall without putting too much force on the wires.

2. Install electrical dominos

To ensure the safety of the site, install dominoes at the end of the electrical wires:

– Unscrew the domino’s clamping screw.

– Place the wires in the holes, separating them by color, and screw in the retaining screws.

– Wrap the whole with waterproof tape and place it on the wall.

3. Case 1: Peel off old wallpaper with hot water

If the old wallpaper resists in some places, use hot water, with or without white vinegar.

– For waterproof vinyl wallpaper, scratch the surface in places with a wire brush or the blade of a painter’s knife so that the hot water penetrates to the adhesive. Wet the substrate either with a sponge or a garden sprayer.

– Wait a few minutes for the paper to soften and peel it off with a painter’s knife, sliding it under the paper at the intersection of the strips or starting at the bottom.

– Do the same on the whole surface of the support.

– Allow drying thoroughly before proceeding further.

Note: whatever the type of wallpaper (standard, vinyl, non-woven…), tear off the wallpaper from the bottom to the top, using a painter’s knife if necessary.

3. Case 2: Remove the old wallpaper with a special product

If several layers of wallpaper are superimposed, and hot water is not enough, use a specific product to dissolve the glue (there are powder or liquid products). Then respect the dosages and the instructions of the manufacturer (time of pose…).

To allow the product to penetrate, scratch the support by places with the spatula or the knife gently to damage only the paper.

When the wall is well soaked, slip the spatula under the strips and remove the wallpaper zone by zone.

3. Case 3: Remove old wallpaper with a steam stripper

To save time and make the task easier, use a steam wallpaper remover unless your support is made of plaster. Rent the machine for one or more days, depending on the surface to be removed.

– For waterproof vinyl wallpapers, scratch the surface in places with a wire brush or the blade of a painter’s knife so that the steam penetrates to the glue.

– Run the stripper over the substrate area by area. Then, using the knife, proceed in the same way as before, sliding it under the softened paper. Work with both hands if possible.

– On stubborn areas, insist or wet the support with a sponge and warm water.

Caution: When working with a wallpaper stripper, connect it with an extension cord and always work in a dark room.

Wallpaper Removal Materials

Tarp Starting at $8
Wire brush Starting at $1
Painter’s knife Starting at $3
Wallpaper stripper From $6/day rental
Sponge $1 approx.
Stripper product $6 approx.
Pressure washer $4
Waterproof adhesive tape About $6
Flathead screwdriver About $1
White vinegar About $1

Read more:

7 Important Steps to Install Wallpaper;

How to Remove Carpet Stains.

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