Between the last house we lived in and this house, we’ve had our share of wallpaper removal experiences and it’s become pretty obvious that no two wallpapers in no two rooms are the same. Our attempts to remove wallpaper in our bathroom at the old house took weeks experimenting with just about every wallpaper removal technique we could find and we still wound up spending most of our time scraping wallpaper fragments off of the dry wall with a razor blade and had some fairly significant damage to the wall board. Needless to say, it wasn’t a positive experience.

Last week, though, we had some great luck getting the wallpaper border off of our bedroom walls. Even though our success is probably due more to the prep work completed before the wallpaper was hung, we thought we’d share our method for removal in case it helps anyone else. As a reference, the border we were removing was strippable wallpaper that was hung on a painted plastered wall.


  • Tiling sponge (the kind with a scrubbing surface on one side)
  • Painters tool or putty knife
  • Spray Bottle
  • Vinegar
  • Paper Towels
  • Water
Wallpaper Removal - Step 1 Step 1: Remove the top (vinyl-like) layer of the wallpaper. This leaves behind a second tissue-paper-like layer on the wall.
Wallpaper Removal - Step 2 Step 2: Fill the spray bottle with a vinegar and water solution. I didn’t measure the mix that we used, but I would guess it was about 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Spray the tissue paper layer left on the wall with the vinegar and water solution. Make sure that it is wet enough to completely soak through the tissue paper in all places. Use the paper towels to wipe up whatever runs down the wall.
Wallpaper Removal - Step 3 Step 3: Give the vinegar & water solution a few minutes to soak into the paper on the wall. Then use the putty knife (or painters tool) to scrape it off the wall. If there are any stubborn sections, try spraying them again with the water & vinegar mixture to help loosen the glue.
Wallpaper Removal - Step 4 Step 4: With all of the tissue paper layer scraped off of the wall, spray it down one more time with the vinegar and water solution and scrub any remaining glue off using the large tiling sponge. We found that the kind with a coarser scrubbing side worked really well to remove any small remnants of paper or glue left on the wall after the scraping was complete.

When it was all said and done, we had a few spots where a little of the paint had come off with the wallpaper, but it was nothing major. With another coat or two of paint, you won’t even be able to tell there was ever a border there!

Filed Under: Home Improvement,Painting

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2 thoughts on “How To: Remove Strippable Wallpaper

  1. kathy says:

    I’m with you as far as the peeling off the vinyl layer step, but then I prefer a wallpaper steamer. No smell, and it removes all the glue.

  2. Sarah says:

    That’s a good idea. We tried a wallpaper steamer also and didn’t have much success. We were using a handheld Black and Decker one, though, and not one of the professional grade ones you can rent. Maybe that makes a difference. I’d love it if we could get the steamer to do more than just get the wall wet, though – the smell of vinegar does get a little over-powering!

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