How To Remove Wallpaper: 4 Step Guide

How To Remove WallpaperRemoving wallpaper can be an intimidating prospect, and with good reason.  Depending on the circumstances, some old wallpaper comes off easily, but that’s not something you’ll discover until the process is well underway.  It’s best to approach the task well prepared for every eventuality.

If the wall behind the wallpaper was primed or painted, it will likely make the removal process much simpler.  If, on the other hand, the paper was applied to unpainted drywall, the task is going to be considerably more involved.

Check The Wall Condition It Was Applied To

Your best bet is to begin by removing a small section of paper and then checking to see if the wall behind has been primed or painted.

If it’s unpainted drywall, you’ll need to proceed carefully so as not to tear the paper backing from the wall.

Gather Your Wallpaper Removal Tools

Prior to beginning the project, you’ll need to obtain some wallpaper stripper. This is a liquid solution that you will spray on the wall.

wallpaper stripping solution

And if you don’t already have these on hand, you will also need to pick up:

Step 1: Start In The Corner

Starting in a corner, pull a piece of wallpaper away from the wall.  It may peel away easily in one piece, or you may be able to remove it in several sections, leaving only a trace of glue residue behind.

If so, you can apply wallpaper removal solution at this point, but you should take care to remove as much of the paper as you can while it is still dry; excess moisture runs the risk of damaging the wall.

Step 2: Apply Removal Solution

Apply the paper removal solution using a squirt bottle or a garden sprayer. Begin by spraying the wall at the top and move in approximately four foot sections.  Saturate the wall with a fine mist, but again, don’t get too carried away.

Step 3: Scrape

Then, using a scraper, scrape away the remnants and glue residue.  Take care not to nick the wet drywall with your scraper.  Continue until you have removed all wallpaper and glue.

For stubborn residue, sand it away with a piece of sandpaper.  This may require several pieces, because glue tends to quickly diminish the sandpaper’s effectiveness.

Step 4: Score (optional)

For particularly difficult pieces and residue, it may be necessary to employ a scoring tool.

Score the wallpaper and then apply more removal solution, allowing it to seep through the paper and loosen the residue beneath.

Use a scoring tool only as a last resort, since it’s very easy to damage the drywall underneath.


If you plan to paint the wall rather than hanging new paper, you must prime the walls so that the paint will properly adhere to the treated surface.

Final Thoughts

Removing wallpaper can be a challenging undertaking, so take your time and follow these simple steps.  And remember, if in doubt, it’s better to engage the services of a professional rather than to regret the outcome (and potentially extra cost) later.