How to Remove Wallpaper the Easy Way With Helpful Tips and Tricks

Giving your house the upgrade it deserves is an exciting experience! Whether it’s a little room revamp or a complete change in your decor and theme. That is until you realise that you need to remove the wallpaper that’s been hanging out on your walls for years… If you’re ready to trade your out-of-date wall design for something a bit more fresh and fun, the first step is learning how to remove wallpaper easily and effectively. Fortunately, you won’t need to hire a professional. We’ve put together this easy step-by-step guide to help you DIY your wallpaper removal. We’ve brought together all of the expert decorating experience and knowledge we have at Hovia to write up the ultimate wallpaper removal guide. It’s got everything you need to know about the process for your specific wall and wallpaper situation.

Find it all below!

The tools and materials you’ll need

Before you start removing the wallpaper, gather this equipment to make sure the job is done expertly:


• Plastic sheets

• Masking tape

• Cloth or rag

• Rubber gloves

• Bin bags

• Dust sheets


• Step ladder

• Putty knife or paint scraper

• Sponge

• Soapy water

• Bucket

• Scissors

• Spray bottle

Safety equipment

• Protective clothing such as overalls

• Safety goggles

• Mask

Determine your wall and wallpaper type

First, you need to figure out what type of wall and wallpaper you’re working with.

Types of wall

Before you begin ripping off wallpaper, we recommend figuring out what type of wall you’ve got lying underneath. Most homes will usually have either plaster or drywall. Be careful if you have drywall, as it can become damaged if it gets too wet. It’s best to not over-soak the wall you’re working on.

Types of wallpaper

What type of wallpaper are you working with? Use your putty knife or scraper to loosen a corner of the paper and try peeling it off…

Strippable wallpaper — If the wallpaper comes right off.

Peelable wallpaper — If it peels but leaves a paper backing and is a little bit trickier to remove.

Traditional wallpaper — If the wallpaper doesn’t seem to budge. (You’ll need to remove it with a chemical stripper.)

How to prepare your walls for wallpaper removal

Prepare the room

Before you begin removing your wallpaper, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got all the right tools and materials. You’ll need –

• Move any furniture out of the way

This could get messy! So it’s best to work in stages. Move as much furniture as you can out of the room. Or, move it away from the walls into the center of the room. Cover your furniture with a protective plastic sheet to stop it getting wet or dusty.

• Take everything off the walls and ceilings

Take everything off the walls, including vents. Mask any openings with your masking tape and plastic sheet. If you’re able to, turn off the electricity in the room and remove the faceplates from sockets or switches. This will allow you to remove any paper that’s stuck behind them. If that’s not possible, make sure that any electric sockets are covered to prevent any moisture from the water getting into the electrics.

• Protect the floor

To protect your floor from getting wet or collecting dust, cover all floors and skirting boards with plastic sheets. Once you’ve done that, securely fix it in place with the masking tape and test that the sheet doesn’t move or pull when stepped on. If it does, just apply a bit more masking tape until it’s sturdy.

How to remove different types of wallpaper

Now that you’ve figured out which wallpaper type you’re dealing with, find the mini guide below that matches yours. Whether it’s strippable, traditional, peelable, anaglypta, or vinyl.

How to remove strippable wallpaper

Using your puffy knife or paint scraper, lift a corner of the paper and use your hands to peel it from the wall. You want to avoid ripping the paper, so pull as closely as you can. If the paper does rip, loosen another corner and start the process again. Repeat around the room until all the walls are free of wallpaper!

• Clean the walls

Once you have removed the paper, wipe the walls with soap and warm water to remove any leftover residue. Allow the walls to air dry overnight. Ideally, let them dry for at least 24 hours before you paint them or apply new wallpaper.

How to remove traditional wallpaper

Removing traditional wallpaper can be a little bit trickier. To make it easier for the wallpaper to come away from the wall, combine hot water and wallpaper stripper (as per its instructions), then pour the solution into your spray bottle.

• Apply the solution and scrape

Working in small sections of around three feet by three feet, apply the solution to the wall and let it sit for a few minutes. Using your putty knife or paint scraper, peel off the wallpaper slowly. Work your way up the wall, and use the step ladder if necessary. Make sure not to apply too much pressure, so that you don’t make grooves or cuts in the wall as you scrape. For stubborn areas, try using a wallpaper scoring tool before applying some more solution to give the wallpaper a helping hand.

• Clean the walls

To remove any residue, wipe down the walls with soap and water. If you find that you can’t get rid of the stubborn glue that’s left behind, check out our guide to easily removing wallpaper glue.

How to remove peelable wallpaper

To start, peel off the top layer of the wallpaper and then loosen the corner with a putty knife and pull the wallpaper off the backing. To remove any paper that’s left behind, it’s the same method that we used for removing traditional wallpaper.

How to remove different types of textured wallpaper

Woodchip wallpaper

Woodchip wallpaper contains small chips of wood to give the effect of a textured finish.

1. Score the wallpaper

First, score the wallpaper before trying to remove it. This simply means making small holes in the paper. A professional tool will score evenly and consistently and won’t damage the walls underneath as a normal pair of scissors or a knife would. After you’ve done that, it’s worth sponging down the surface of the wall so that some water can start to soak in. Add some soap, too, if you want to loosen the glue.

2. Use a steamer

Next, grab your steamer and hold it to the wall for about 10 seconds. Move the scraper under the woodchip, lifting as you go. Keep going until you have removed all of the woodchips.

Anaglypta wallpaper

Anaglypta is a type of wallpaper that features a raised texture or pattern that can then be painted over. Removing anaglypta from a wall or ceiling is similar to removing any other wallpaper, except its strong adhesive can sometimes make the process a bit more time-consuming.

1. Score the surface

Similarly to woodchip wallpaper, you can score anaglypta with a putty knife, scraper or scoring tool. Be careful not to cut too deeply into the wall underneath, as you could end up creating a gouge.

2. Spray with a solution and scrape

Combine fabric softener or washing up liquid with warm water in a spray bottle, and spray the solution on the section you’re working on. Starting at the top of the wallpaper, work your way down and scrape off the anaglypta and repeat to remove all of it from the wall. Make sure to wear a mask so you don’t inhale any paint flakes that may come away.

3. Wipe clean

Once you’ve removed all the wallpaper and loosened the adhesive, wipe the wall clean with a damp cloth. If you’ve got a few stubborn spots, use a stiff bristle brush and put in some elbow grease.

Vinyl wallpaper

Vinyl-coated wallpaper has a decorative surface that’s been sprayed or coated with an acrylic type of vinyl or PVC. This type of wallpaper is suitable for most areas in the home and is usually strippable.

1. Lift the corners

To begin, start at the top corner of one wall and use a putty knife or wall scraper to loosen the edge of the paper. Grab the edge of the paper and pull downwards — the top vinyl layer will usually peel away quite easily and in large strips.

2. Apply wallpaper remover

For more stubborn areas, you may want to use wallpaper remover. Whether you buy it or opt to make your own solution, simply apply the remover to the paper with a cloth or brush until the layer begins to peel. Work in small sections. This will allow you to remove the wallpaper before the remover fully dries.

3. Use a scraper

Removing vinyl wallpaper can damage your walls if you aren’t careful, so make sure your scraper is positioned at a slight angle to avoid gouging the wall. Begin at the lower corner and scrape off the bottom layer of the wallpaper, making sure to wipe it clean after each pass.

4. Clean the walls

When the walls are clear of paper, wipe them down with soapy water to remove all traces of the cleaner and any adhesive or paste.

How to remove wallpaper glue

Removing wallpaper glue is simple and easy — if you know how to do it right. There’s a wide range of methods and solutions you can use, so we’ve broken things down in our simple step by step guide to removing wallpaper glue.

How to remove wallpaper with a steamer

For textured wallpaper that’s proving tough to remove, a steamer is your new best friend. Find out more about removing wallpaper with a steamer with our guide.

How to remove wallpaper without a steamer

No steamer? No problem. There are lots of things you can try to help remove your old wallpaper. From water solutions to handy tips and tricks, check out our guide to wallpaper removal without a steamer.

How to clean walls after removing wallpaper

The wallpaper is off! And now you’re ready to prepare your walls for a fresh coat of paint or brand-new wallpaper. But first, let’s make sure your walls are properly clean.

1. Mix a cleaning solution

Make a solution of washing up liquid, baking soda, and vinegar in a bucket of hot water. Stir well, then pour into a spray bottle that has a handy pump. This should be enough to clean up any glue residue.

2. Spray the wall

Once your solution is ready to go, spray the wall evenly and use a sponge to remove any dirt or glue that makes the wall uneven. You might want to wear rubber gloves to stop your skin becoming dry.

3. Scrape off any stubborn glue

Run your hand over the wall. Is it smooth? If not, you’ve still got some stubborn glue to get rid of. Use a putty knife to scrape off any glue. Or, if that still won’t do the trick, our guide to glue removal will help you with those hard-to-tackle areas.

4. Dry the wall

Once you’ve rinsed the wall with a sponge and water, dry the wall with a towel or cloth and let it air dry completely – either overnight or, ideally, for 24 hours.


How long does it take to strip wallpaper?

This will depend on the size of the room that you’re tackling, but it should take around a day to strip the walls of a small room. Some factors can make the process take longer, such as the age of the wallpaper you’re removing or the condition that it’s in.

How soon after removing wallpaper can I paint or repaper the walls?

Depending on the method you used and the condition of your wallpaper, you’ll usually have to wait anywhere between 4 to 24 hours after removing it before you can decorate the walls again. A quick way to check if your walls are dry after wallpaper removal is to run your hand across the wall. If it’s smooth and dry, you’re okay to get decorating.

Can wallpaper be recycled?

Unfortunately, wallpaper can’t be recycled. This is because of the glue or wallpaper paste that’s used. And, depending on how old the wallpaper is, there could be mold on it. It’s best to dispose of wallpaper with your general garbage.

Now that you’ve removed the old wallpaper you’re ready to redecorate

Want a modern wallpaper makeover for your newly blank walls? Our wide range of wallpaper will give your room a well-deserved upgrade. Or, if you’re looking for some more helpful suggestions, head over to our guides page to help you on your next wallpaper project.

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