Removing wallpaper: All of the methods on test

Removing wallpaper feels like a never-ending task: it is often one of the more unpleasant jobs when renovating. But it cannot be avoided: if you want to put on new wallpaper, the old wallpaper needs to be removed first.

If several layers of wallpapers are stuck on top of each other, the durability of the wallpaper is prone to fail. Edges and corners loosen faster. The surface texture of the old wallpaper can also affect the appearance of the new wallpaper.

But how can wallpaper be removed easily? You can read here about the best way to loosen old wallpaper, what methods there are and what advantages and disadvantages they have.

Removing wallpaper: Tips, devices and household remedies


No matter which method you choose: prepare the room. Cover the floor with dust sheets so that the wallpaper scraps do not stick to the floor. Ideally temporarily move your furniture to another room or to the middle of the room so that you have enough room to manoeuvre around and can work safely without damaging your furniture.

Removing wallpaper with a scraper

If you want to scrape off your old wallpaper, you need a scraper. With this you can start at the places where the wallpaper is already peeling off - and scrape. To do this, apply the scraper and slide it under the wallpaper.

The advantage of this method is that you only need one tool: a scraper. However, this method is exhausting, time-consuming and you only remove small pieces of wallpaper from the wall at a time. There is a risk that you will damage the wall surface too. This is particularly annoying if you want to apply a smooth wallpaper afterwards as the unevenness of the wall will become apparent.

Using liquid wallpaper stripper to soak the paper

Liquid wallpaper strippers consist of surfactants and water. Surfactants act as solubilisers and help substances to dissolve in a solvent. This enables substances that do not normally mix to combine.

If you want to use a liquid wallpaper stripper to remove your wallpaper, you must take some protective measures as a first step: Open the window and ensure good ventilation. If possible, wear gloves to protect your skin. Then apply the wallpaper stripper to the wallpaper. You can use a sponge, a brush or a spray bottle to do this. After a reaction time of at least 15 minutes, you can test whether the wallpaper is ready to be removed. You may have to repeat the process until the wallpaper stripper removes the glue properly. Then remove the wallpaper from the wall. Anything that cannot be peeled off must be removed with a scraper.

In contrast to scraping only, soaked wallpaper is naturally easier to remove. Wallpaper stripper concentrates are often cheap, made by well-known brands and are available in every DIY store. However, chemicals are used with this process which can be dangerous if they are not handled correctly and safety precautions are not taken. Wallpaper stripper concentrates do not work equally well with every paste: you may be lucky and one or two attempts are enough to remove the wallpaper easily. But it can also happen that the wallpaper stripper does not dissolve the adhesive layer well and you still have to scrape a lot. The soaking process is also very time-consuming. More attention must also be paid to the floor: applying the liquid may cause the wallpaper stripper to splash or run down the wallpaper.

Removing old wallpaper with detergent and water

A well-known household remedy can also be used as a wallpaper stripper: washing-up liquid. If you want to avoid using the more aggressive surfactants in wallpaper strippers, you can soak the wallpaper with water or washing-up liquid dissolved in water. Washing-up liquid also contain surfactants, but these are processed differently, as washing-up liquid must be safe for contact with skin.

For this method, we recommend that you use warm water. This penetrates the wallpaper better. You can apply the water or detergent with a sponge, a wide brush or a pump sprayer. If you spray it on, you can then brush over it again with a wallpaper brush. Then you work the water into the perforations made by the wallpaper scorer and it reaches the paste and does not just sit on the surface.

Let the wallpaper soak and repeat this process. Peel off the wallpaper and scrape with a scraper where necessary.

The ideal thing about this of course is that in most cases you have the materials already at home. It is also cheaper than buying a wallpaper stripper concentrate and carries far less potential risk due to the less aggressive surfactants. Soaked wallpaper is easier to remove than just scraping it off directly.

However, here too, the time required is enormous. Due to the weaker surfactants, the detergent must be applied several times. More water is used, which means that it can run down the wallpaper. The wallpaper remnants can, depending on their condition and paper content, become so soft that they dissolve. This problem can occur particularly with woodchip wallpaper, which consists primarily of paper layers.

Step 1: If necessary, perforate wallpaper with a hedgehog roller

Step 1: If necessary, perforate wallpaper with a hedgehog roller

Step 2: Prepare warm water with detergent

Step 2: Prepare warm water with detergent

Step 3: Soak wallpaper with a sponge

Step 3: Soak wallpaper with a sponge

Removing the wallpaper with a steam wallpaper remover

If soaking and scraping off the wallpaper are too laborious and tedious for you, steam wallpaper removers are the ideal solution. With this electronic helper, wallpaper stripping is much more fun. The steam wallpaper remover works with hot steam. This soaks into the wallpaper and loosens the adhesive. The wallpaper can then be pulled off and removed easily.

The advantages of removing with steam are obvious: no chemicals are used, which is cheap and good for the environment. It's also much faster - there are no long soaking times with this method. You also avoid large puddles of water on the floor. Ultimately, it makes work easier because large pieces, if not entire strips, of wallpaper can be removed from the wall.

You will find all the steps and information on how to remove wallpaper with steam here.

Loosening wallpaper: Our summary

Removing old wallpaper is often laborious work. Users who have the time and only have one room or a few places they want to re-paper can make their lives easier with the well-known home remedies or wallpaper removers.

For those who want to renovate an entire house or apartment after moving, a steam wallpaper remover can be worthwhile. Especially if you have to remove wallpaper on large areas, you can save time and effort with the steam wallpaper remover. So old wallpapers are quickly history and you can start wallpapering your walls in no time.