Removing Wallpaper

A couple of months ago my father-in -law asked me if I would be willing to cosmetically renovate a home that he owns.  This house was built by his uncle, but has sat empty for several years.  The current plan is to use it for family to stay in when they visit, and that means making it a place they actually want to come to.  Most of the house is violently 70’s style; just wait till you see the different-wood-panel-style-on-every-wall that is in the living room.  I might be crazy for taking on a whole house (besides my own) but I’m definitely up for the challenge!

The first bedroom I decided to tackle had one wall covered in this lovely wallpaper.

Wallpaper Before 1

I have never taken down wallpaper before, but had heard that it was quite the undertaking.  I scoured Pinterest, and my own personal resources (a.k.a my mom) to find the most pain free way to remove wallpaper.  I decided I wanted to try a few different removal techniques and then share them here-detailing the pro’s an con’s of each.

Before getting too excited with my scraper I made sure to find a corner and checked to see if it would peel off in big pieces.  I was expecting the worst, but to my surprise pulling this off of the wall was the easiest part of the whole removal process! I found a corner, and started tugging.  It came off almost as easily as velcro!

Wallpaper Removal.jpg

And of course Opal was in the mix trying to “help” by shredding the downed wallpaper.

Wallpaper removal 2 .jpg

If you don’t luck out as I did you should still be able to remove the paper by following one of the glue removing processes below (just repeating it as many times as necessary).

When I was at the store grabbing supplies there three varieties of Zinnser wallpaper removal spray.  I picked the heaviest duty one because I figured that would handle a hard or easy job.  After the wallpaper was removed there was a lot of glue left behind, so I went to town spraying.  It was recommended to let it sit for 10 minutes, I got bored after five and started scraping.  Some elbow grease was required, it smelled horrible, and it coagulated with the glue to form a nasty gray/blue slime.


The evening after using this I broke out in hives, I’m not saying that this was the cause, but it certainly was the main suspect.

I had read somewhere in my studies that vinegar works well for these kinds of projects.  Let’s be honest though, vinegar works well for everything.  I probably should have  tested this before anything else since it was already in my pantry, but it just seemed like too simple of a solution.  In this case vinegar most definitely was the right tool to use for this project.  

To remove wallpaper glue with vinegar I poured some into a spray bottle.  Some people prefer to go 50/50 with water, and I’m sure it would be effective, but I’m not scared for straight vinegar so I just went for it.  I sprayed down just a small section of the wall.  Vinegar of course is runny so I had a paper towel in hand to catch any drippings/rub the vinegar around.  I didn’t even let it sit, immediately after spraying and scrubbing I started scraping.  The glue came off seriously 10X easier than with the specialty store bought solution.  It sill takes a bit of elbow grease, but I didn’t think twice about picking up that blue bottle.

I was so excited to see the vinegar working so effectively that I forgot to take pictures, whoops! The vinegar didn’t smell great, but it definitely didn’t stink as bad as the other stuff! There was still nasty slime that I had to wipe off of my scraper.  I actually cleaned off my scraper on the old wallpaper-it had a use after all!

After removing the wallpaper and glue the room didn’t look much better.  I headed over to the paint store and am currently working on that bedroom.  The moment I am finished I will reveal the dramatic before and after!

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