Knock It Off

How to Remove Wallpaper the Easy Way!

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hey there! I'm monica 

I pride myself on making amazing style and design accessible for everyone, regardless of location, budget, or ability! My design philosophy is rooted in authenticity + attainability - If I can do it, you can too! My work has been featured in countless publications, but I take the most pride in homeowners that have been personally inspired by my DIY ideas and have tried something in their own homes!

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There are some DIY jobs that totally stink!  I mean, we love DIYing and there are lots of fun projects, but some of them make me want to jab my eyes out!  Stripping wallpaper used to be one of those jobs, but it’s not anymore thanks to having the perfect removal secret!
When we arrived at Teri’s house to start her makeover we knew that this wallpaper was one of the first jobs we had to tackle.  It was giving me flashbacks of when I moved into our very first home.  Every single room on the first floor was wallpapered- it took us forever to remove because we didn’t know how to do it right!!
Ready for our secret recipe???
Fabric softener and Water!  That’s all!
So we used roughly one part fabric softener to two parts water mix it right in the sprayer and you’re good to go!
Here’s how we tackle the job….
#1- Peel off as much of the outer layer as possible.  Sometimes wallpaper, especially the old stuff, has a plastic-like outer layer.  You’ll want to try and peel that off by hand first.  That way, the liquid solution can soak into the paper better.  Sometimes using a spackle knife helps too.
See here how the “beautiful” shiny palm tree part still remains… it almost looks like wall next to it, but don’t be tricked- it’s the paper and glue part of the wallpaper.  You’ve gotta get that off too!
#2 Spray the wall with your fabric softener solution and scrape it off.  Once the exterior layer is off, spray the wall with your solution, working in 3×3 sections.  It’s drippy and messy, so a drop cloth is probably a good idea.  Basically you spray the wall really well- it should saturate the paper.  Give it a minute or two to soak in, and then start scraping with your spackle knife.  It should peel right off.  If you have a stubborn spot, re-spray and give it a few minutes.
The best part of this process is that is smells amazing and we ended up with really soft hands! lol.
After we used our super simple process for removing the wallpaper, we were able to stencil on this beauty!  Doesn’t it look SO much better than the palm trees??
To check out the rest of this room, click HERE.
To watch this full episode of Knock It Off, click HERE
So do tell, have you ever had to remove wallpaper?  
Got any good nightmarish stories? 


The comments +

  1. Lisa says:

    We’re going to be removing some wallpaper this week so I’m so glad I found this! Questions – Is there a residue from the fabric softener left on the wall that you have to wash off before painting? Can you paint immediately after removing all the wallpaper or do you have to wait a day or two because the wall will maybe be wet? Thanks!

  2. shua87 says:

    Blech… wallpaper is the worst.

    Admittedly, my wife and I under estimated how difficult it really would be when we purchased our house. In the end, the solution we ended up with was very similar to yours. Pretty impressive what a little household fabric softener can do.

    Bathroom During:
    Bathroom After:



  3. Marnie says:

    Never heard of using fabric softener, wish I had….I used vinegar and water, same results but yours smelled much better!

  4. melanie says:

    I just watched this episode online and it brought tears to my eyes to see that woman so pleased at her Incredibly awesome new rooms you all created!!

  5. […] Let me just tell you, it was also a TON of work. After we removed the dated wallpaper (using this fab method, which made it so much easier than we anticipated), we stenciled a wall that made a huge statement. […]

  6. Martina says:

    Did you ever remove wallpaper in old houses painted with paint containing lead?
    I would like to remove the wallpaper in my daughter’s room, but it was probably put on the walls in the 70’s or 80’s and the house was built in the 20’s, when they used only paint with LEAD.
    Any advice?

  7. […] Seriously, I had taken down the top layer of the wallpaper, but didn’t know what to do next.  Then Jess and Monica posted about how to remove wallpaper the easy way!  Are you ready for the secret?  Fabric Softener.  That’s right, FABRIC SOFTENER!  Check out their how-to here. […]

  8. Teri Steele says:

    Great job. I love your new wallpapers. Last time I removed my old ones I used a steamer. It was easier. it took me 3 hours , though. I hope you are faster than me! Greetings!

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