Decorating Ideas

How to Remove Wallpaper

image of blue floral patterned wallpaper

Wallpaper styles have come on leaps and bounds in recent years. Whether you’re looking to freshen up your room and update your walls with new wallpaper or add a lick of paint instead, we’re here to help.

With our how to remove wallpaper tips, you will have everything you need to prepare your walls for their latest transformation.

Let’s get started with what you’ll need…




Before you start

This wallpapering project requires the use of hand tools, so keep yourself safe by reading our DIY Safety Tips beforehand. Ensure the space you’re working in is ventilated, put down a dust sheet to protect your flooring and cover all switches and sockets with masking tape. Wear safety goggles when stripping paper to protect your eyes from falling debris.



First, determine the type of wall you are dealing with.

Tap the walls in various places – if they sound hollow, you have drywalls. If they don’t, then you’re dealing with plaster. If the latter is the case, you’ll need to make sure you don’t apply too much liquid to the wall when removing the wallpaper.

Move any furniture into the centre of the room and cover it with dust sheets to give yourself enough space to work in. Turn off the power in the room and tape over all the sockets, in case water or steam gets into any electrical sockets or switches.


Stripping the wall

We would recommend you don’t wallpaper over wallpaper. So you’ll need to work out if the wallpaper you are trying to remove is strippable or not.



If you loosen a corner of your wallpaper and it peels away as a whole, your wallpaper is strippable. This will be a very straightforward and quick task if that’s the case!

All you’ll need to do is remove the wallpaper by hand and wash the remaining residue off the walls with soap and hot water.

Top tip: You may need to soak the walls to loosen the wallpaper adhesive if it’s a little stubborn.



The best way to remove wallpaper that is non-strippable, is with a scoring tool to allow the steam or solution to penetrate the sheets.

To create the solution, mix hot water with wallpaper stripper. Or, for a great wallpapering tip, a 1:1 solution ratio of hot water and unscented fabric softener will also do the job.

Apply the solution to one section of the wall using a clean sponge or paint roller. Leave for 10 minutes, then strip the wallpaper using a stripping knife.

Remember, if you have a drywall, don’t leave the wallpaper to soak for any longer than 10 minutes. You should also work in small sections to keep the wall as dry as possible.

Top tip: Don’t press too hard with the scoring tool in case it damages the plaster underneath. You could alternatively use a steam-powered stripper to loosen the wallpaper adhesive.


Clean the wall

Once the wallpaper has been removed, pick off any residual paste left behind. Continue to soak patches of the wall with your stripping solution, and gently lift the residue using a stripping knife.

Then, sand the entire area down – this is to ensure the walls are even, ready for its new wallpaper or paint.

Top tip: Once the paste has been completely lifted, wash the entire wall using hot soapy water, and dry using a clean towel or rag.


And that’s how to remove wallpaper! If you plan on re-wallpapering, then take a look at our ‘How to Hang Wallpaper’ guide to take you through it step-by-step.



Writer and expert