How To Easily Remove Old Wallpaper

Remove wallpaper with minimal fuss using our guide, complete with step-by-step instructions for both steamer and chemical stripping methods.
Written By: Edward Bailey | Updated:
How To Remove Wallpaper
Edward Bailey/DIY Works

When you are finally ready to begin removing old wallpaper, you have the choice of two removal methods, which include using a steam wallpaper stripper or a chemical solution.

The most popular method to remove wallpaper is using a wallpaper steamer, which consists of a tank, hose, and steam plate. To use this method, you boil the water in the tank and use the steam that travels through the hose to the plate to penetrate through the wallpaper.

This has the effect of loosening the wallpaper paste behind so that it can be easily stripped off. It’s the “go-to” method for removing stubborn wallpaper such as woodchip and is perfect for easily removing wallpaper in large areas or across multiple rooms.

The alternative method of removing wallpaper is using a chemical stripping solution, often in a ready-to-use formula. It works by dissolving the adhesive and doing most of the hard work for you. It’s a great method to use for small rooms or feature walls, and you can even make your own homemade solution with fabric conditioner.

Regardless of the method you wish to remove wallpaper, below is the process for both methods and extra information to make the removal go as smoothly as possible.

What Else Is Required?

Depending upon the method you use to remove the wallpaper will determine how much of the above you’ll require.

Preparation Before Removing Wallpaper

Before you begin removing old wallpaper, you’ll want to prepare the room beforehand.

The first bit of preparation is removing everything off the walls, such as decorative objects, vents, etc. You’ll also want to clear other things in the room, place everything in the centre, and then cover it with a dust sheet for protection. A top tip is also to cover areas of the floor that may make picking up the removed wallpaper difficult (i.e. carpet or rugs).

If you intend on using a wallpaper stripper, it’s also advised that you turn off the electricity in the room. This is because water or steam may enter the sockets or switches and potentially cause the electricity to trip. It’s also advised to protect any sockets or switches using masking tape and plastic sheeting.

How To Remove Wallpaper

Removing Wallpaper With A Steamer

  1. Score the wallpaper with a utility knife/scraper.
  2. Fill the steamer with water to its maximum level.
  3. Turn on the steamer and allow time for it to boil.
  4. Work from the top down because hot water will gravitate downwards and penetrate the wallpaper.
  5. Hold the steam plate tightly against the wall for at least 10 to 15 seconds (as shown in the photo).
  6. Move the steam plate to the next section to be steamed and begin to scrape off the steamed area.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you are complete.
How To Remove Wallpaper With A Steamer

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

(We posted a video onto our YouTube channel that shows us performing the above steps to remove wallpaper)

How To Remove Wallpaper Without A Steamer

  1. Score the wallpaper with a utility knife/scraper (as shown in the photo).
  2. Mix the stripping solution with hot water (the ratio required will be stated on the bottle).
  3. Spray the solution to the old wallpaper.
  4. Allow enough time for the solution to get to work.
  5. Use a short movement to remove wallpaper with the stripping knife or scraper.
  6. Apply more solution if it begins to get dry.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you are complete.
how to remove wallpaper without a steamer

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

(The stripping solution you use is entirely up to you, but we’ve had great success with the Bartoline Formula)

Cleaning The Wall Afterwards

Once you’ve finished removing the wallpaper, you may be left with small pieces of wallpaper and glue residue on the wall (as shown in the photo). Rather than leaving the wallpaper and glue on the wall, it’s advised that you remove it to smoothen out the wall’s surface to make it ready for further decorating that you have planned.

how to remove old wallpaper

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

The most efficient method of cleaning the walls is to use a broom and simply brush it. However, if there is any stubborn residue left on the wall, it’s recommended that you use a wallpaper stripper solution on the wall. Once everything is removed, you can use a sponge and water to finish the cleaning process.


Regardless of the method you choose to remove wallpaper, both are easy DIY tasks to achieve. Personally, we prefer to use a steamer as it’ll be able to remove all types of wallpaper, whereas sometimes a stripping solution may struggle. If you need further assistance on removing wallpaper, feel free to get in touch.

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