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How To

How To Remove Wallpaper // Simple How To Strip Wallpaper Guide

14 June 2021


Welcome to FEATHR’S simple How-To Remove Wallpaper guide! Do you need to strip off old wallpaper before you can transform your space with your new fab wall covering? It’s important to remove old wallpaper from your walls before hanging your new wallpaper design so you can avoid frustrating creases and bubbles – it really is worth spending the time stripping and preparing your walls correctly to get a great finish. 

But we know it is a tedious job to remove wallpaper but with the correct tools, preparation and a little elbow grease we can guide you through the process of removing your old wallpaper, ready to hang your new luxury wallpaper!  If you have any questions on how to remove wallpaper, please get in touch with our customer support team at [email protected] who will be happy to help you! 

So read on for your how-to remove wallpaper guide, leaving behind walls that are smooth and clean and ready for a fresh new wallpaper!


Prepare the materials you will need to strip wallpaper

First things first – removing wallpaper can get messy so your safety is paramount when stripping a wall. No matter which method you will use to remove wallpaper, make sure you are well protected. Cover up with protective clothing, wear gloves and use safety goggles at all times when stripping wallpaper. Any products used to remove wallpaper should be kept in a safe place.


Before you start removing wallpaper  – prepare your space

You are now well protected but make sure your space is well prepped and protected too before you start to remove wallpaper. 

Before you strip your walls, either remove furniture from your room or , if this is not possible, group your furniture into the middle of the space. Cover with dust sheets to protect them from any products or dampness that might occur when you remove wallpaper.  Protect your floor space with plastic sheets taped in place and protect your light sockets or switches against spills with plastic.

Have a supply of large trash bags ready to collect all the wallpaper you are removing.


When removing wallpaper – cut the electricity!

Depending on the type of wallpaper you are stripping, it might be a messy and damp experience!  As water and steam should never come into contact with electricity, always cut the electricity before you start removing wallpaper. 

You may also need to remove or loosen the faceplates of socket or light switches to be able to strip wallpaper behind them.  Again, make sure the electrical circuit is off before you start.  

This of course might make your room a little dark so plan to remove wallpaper during daylight hours or have a battery powered light source ready.  Alternatively, to give you a light whilst removing wallpaper, use an extension cable to connect a lamp to a power source in another room.


Before stripping wallpaper – how can I identify the wallpaper material?

Different types of wallpaper materials will require different methods when you are removing them so identifying your wallpaper is key before you start.

Use a large putty knife or spatula to loosen a corner of wallpaper and do a ‘tear-off’ test to try to peel the wallpaper away from the wall. 

  • If your wallpaper comes away completely from the wall you have strippable wallpaper (phew!) which is made with a material designed to be easy to remove.


  • Old wallpapers were made with different materials compared to todays modern wall coverings . If your wallpaper won’t come away from the wall at all, you have a traditional wallpaper.  Or, if you can remove the top layer of your wallpaper (which may have a vinyl feel), but it leaves a paper backing behind on the wall,  you are dealing with a peelable wallpaper.  Both of these types of wallpaper will need a little elbow grease to remove!



How to remove strippable wallpaper

When you remove strippable wallpaper, this should be a quick and easy job!  Most modern wallpaper is made of non woven material which is designed for easy application and easy removal in complete strips.

Tools required to remove strippable wallpaper –

  • Ladder – make sure you can access all you wallpaper
  • Putty knife/spatula
  • Soap and water to clean your walls after removing wallpaper.

To start removing wallpaper made with this material, use your putty knife to loosen a bottom corner, then hold the wallpaper with both hands and pull gently but firmly.  

Hold the wallpaper as close to the wall as possible to avoid ripping the wallpaper as you are removing it. Each wallpaper strip should be easily removed.

Put the wallpaper you have removed directly into a bag then continue around the room until all the wallpaper is stripped. Once all the wallpaper has been removed, remove any residue by cleaning your walls with soap and water.  Allow to dry throughly. 


How to remove traditional wallpaper

Removing traditional wallpaper is going to be a more time consuming task which requires different materials. 

Old wallpaper is usually made with paper which will require soaking with a wallpaper stripping solution.  This can be found easily in any home improvement store.

Tools required to remove traditional wallpaper –

  • Ladder – make sure you can access all you wallpaper
  • Protective gear to keep you safe while working with chemical products
  • Wallpaper stripper and spray bottle/large paint brush for application
  • Putty knife/spatula
  • Scoring tool
  • Soap and water to clean your walls after removing wallpaper.

When you are ready to start stripping your wallpaper, mix your wallpaper solution according to the instructions.  Apply it to a section of your wall working from top to bottom. Let the solution sit on your wall according to the instructions. Put your putty knife/spatula under the seam of your wallpaper and gently start to separate the wallpaper from the wall. When that section is complete, start the process again with the next section.

Whilst you are stripping wallpaper, be careful not to damage or gouge holes in the wall underneath as you work. Once all the wallpaper has been removed, clean your walls with soap and water and allow it to dry thoroughly.



Using a scoring tool to help strip traditional wallpaper

If it is proving difficult to remove your traditional wallpaper – either the solution is not absorbing into the wallpaper or the wallpaper is not coming away from the wall correctly – you will need to use a scoring tool on your wallpaper before applying the wallpaper solution.

Use the tool consistently over the wallpaper and it will roughen the surface to allow the solution to penetrate the wallpaper.  Avoid using a knife or scissors to perforate your wallpaper as it is very hard not to damage the walls underneath.


How to remove peelable wallpaper

Start removing your wallpaper by stripping away the top layer by using your spatula to loosen a small section of wallpaper. This will allow you start peeling the top layer away from its backing. 

Once you have removed the top layer, and you are still left with the backing paper on your wall, follow the method above for stripping traditional wallpaper to remove the paper backing.


How to remove stubborn wallpaper when these methods don’t work

Electric wallpaper streamers can be very useful for removing wallpaper over large surface areas, or stubborn wallpapers that refuse to be stripped using other methods! Before you strip wallpaper using an electric steamer, make sure you are fully protected against the stream.

When you are ready to start removing the wallpaper, hold the steamer against the wallpaper, allowing it to loosen the glue. Ease your putty knife under the area you have steamed and ease the wallpaper away from the wall.  If it still proves difficult to remove your wallpaper, use the scoring tool to help the steam penetrate the wallpaper. 

Once all the wallpaper has been removed, clean your walls with soap and water and allow it to dry thoroughly.



After removing wallpaper – what next?

Now have stripped and prepared your walls, allow the space to dry throughly for 2-3 days.  And then for the best bit – hang your new luxury wallpaper following our simple How To wallpaper guide. Move your furniture back into your space and then sit back and admire your fabulous new interior!

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