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How to remove wallpaper

Trends change, which means knowing how to remove wallpaper that once represented the height of chic is imperative. But how to remove wallpaper easily isn’t the only thing you need to worry about. You also need to consider what method works best for your walls. For example, a steam or chemical peel?

Trends change, which means knowing how to remove wallpaper is an important skill to have. Removing wallpaper easily isn’t the only thing you need to worry about though, as you’ll also need to consider what method works best for your walls, whether that be a steam or chemical peel.

Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. In this guide, we’ll show you the easiest way to remove wallpaper so you can get your home ready for a refresh.

How to remove wallpaper

Before you get started, it’s time to prepare the area. This involves laying down dust sheets (polythene works best), placing masking tape on all your electrical sockets and moving out all your furniture (or pushing it all to the middle of your room).

Tools you’ll need for the job

How to remove wallpaperNext, you’ll need to gather the following items:

  • Bin bags
  • Cloths/old rags and sponges
  • Rubber gloves
  • Stripping knife/scraper
  • Stool/ladder
  • Ruler
  • Broom
  • Bucket
  • Safety goggles and overalls
  • Electric steamer/chemical peel

How to remove wallpaper with a steamer

The best way to remove wallpaper is to use an electric steamer. It’s also an eco-friendly alternative to chemical peels, which is why it’s so popular. Follow our step-by-step guide to get started.

Step 1: Peel off the paper by hand first

To save you some time, try peeling off the wallpaper by hand first. This will be easier with some wallpaper brands than others.

Step 2: Fill up your steamer

Put on your safety equipment and prepare your steamer by filling it with water from a jug. While it’s heating up, make sure you’ve put down a level heatproof plate or wooden plank for it to sit on.

Note: Do not leave it unattended and never refill it without letting it cool down first.

Step 3: Place the steam plate on the wall

Once your steamer is ready to go, place the plate on the bottom edge of the wallpaper. Wait for 5-10 seconds until the paper dampens, which means the steam has penetrated enough to loosen its grip on the wall. Try not to leave it on too long as you risk damaging the plaster. (A pop = cracking plaster, which is a bad sign).

Work up the wall in sections (as heat rises), pulling off the paper as you go and discarding it in your bucket. You can use your stripping knife to make this process easier, but be careful to avoid chipping the plaster.

Continue this step until the entire wall is paper-free

Don’t trust your DIY skills? Well, you can trust one of our tradespeople. Why not hire a local wallpaper removal expert your neighbours recommend to help you out?

Step 4: Clean the wall for a smooth finish

To remove wallpaper paste residue, which is commonly leftover, follow these steps:

  1. Use a stiff broom to brush the wall down
  2. Carefully use your scraper to remove any leftover wallpaper pieces
  3. Use a stripper solution to remove any residue
  4. Clean the wall using warm water and a sponge
  5. Leave to dry overnight
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Steaming the walls to remove wallpaper and paintBest way to remove wallpaper and paint

If you want to know how to remove painted wallpaper, use a chemical stripper to remove wallpaper paste as well as the paper. It also removes the paint as the chemicals are strong enough to penetrate all three layers.

  1. Put on your safety equipment
  2. Prepare the solution as per the manufacturer’s instructions
  3. Spray the solution onto the wall in sections and leave it to do its job
  4. Keep your stripping knife flat as you use it to loosen the wallpaper, paint and residue
  5. Repeat until your walls are clean

Top tip: Remember to regularly dispose of the wallpaper you’ve already removed to avoid is sticking to your dust sheets.

For non-chemical solutions, check out our how to remove wallpaper paste guide for some alternative methods.

How to remove woodchip wallpaper

The best way to remove woodchip wallpaper is to steam it and use your stripping knife at the same time. As woodchip often covers up old wallpaper or uneven walls, you’ll likely be faced with a few more layers of wallpaper to get through.

How to remove mould from wallpaper

How to remove wallpaper If your wallpaper is covered in mould, this could mean there’s an underlying issue with dampness you need to address. However, if you’ve treated the underlying cause and don’t want to fork out for redecorating fees, the best way to get rid of mould is to brush down your walls using a hard-bristled brush. Then, apply a mould wash concentrate with a sponge, rubbing gently. Leave to dry overnight.

Alternatively, hire your local wallpaper expert to replace or repair your wallpaper. We have several vetted tradespeople who your neighbours trust and recommend. Ask for a quote to see what they can do for you.

How to remove old wallpaper

The above methods will work when it comes to removing old wallpaper. However, you may need to apply a mould removal solution as well (depending on the condition of your walls).


What’s the cost to remove wallpaper and paint a room in the UK?

Our wallpaper removal cost guide had everything you need to know about how much removing wallpaper will cost. Find out about how much painting and decorating costs too.

Did you enjoy this content? If so, check out our blog for more how-tos, tips and home improvement inspiration. 

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