How to Remove Vinyl Wallpaper: Tips and Techniques

How to Remove Vinyl Wallpaper?

To remove vinyl wallpaper, you will need a scoring tool, liquid fabric softener, wallpaper remover or scoring tool, a wall scraper, warm water, and a non-cellulose sponge.

First, use the scoring tool to roll over the wall, penetrating the water-resistant vinyl and reaching the glue.

Then, mix 1/4 cup liquid fabric softener with a gallon of hot water and heavily saturate one section of the wall at a time.

After waiting for 10 to 15 minutes, start peeling back the damp wallpaper from where it meets the ceiling.

Use the wall scraper to remove any pieces that don’t come off in one continuous strip.

Continue spraying the fabric softener solution and using the scraper for tougher areas.

Scrub away residual glue with warm water and a non-cellulose sponge.

In case of other glues, use hot water, liquid dish soap, baking soda, and vinegar to remove the adhesive.

Make sure to remove all adhesive to maintain the appearance of a fresh paint job.

And finally, cover the floors with a drop cloth for easier cleanup.

Key Points:

  • Use a scoring tool to roll over the wall and reach the glue of the vinyl wallpaper
  • Mix liquid fabric softener with hot water and saturate one section of the wall at a time
  • Peel back the damp wallpaper after waiting 10 to 15 minutes
  • Use a wall scraper to remove any pieces that don’t come off in one strip
  • Continue spraying fabric softener and using the scraper for tougher areas
  • Scrub residual glue with warm water and a non-cellulose sponge


Did You Know?

1. Did you know that vinyl wallpaper was actually first invented in the 1940s and gained popularity in the 1950s? It was initially developed as a more durable and moisture-resistant alternative to traditional wallpaper materials.

2. Removing vinyl wallpaper can be a tedious task, but here’s a fascinating fact: The process of removing it involves using a mixture of fabric softener and hot water. The fabric softener helps to loosen the adhesive, making the removal easier.

3. Vinyl wallpaper is resistant to moisture, but it’s not completely waterproof. If you’re looking to remove vinyl wallpaper in a bathroom or any other area prone to high humidity, it’s essential to seal the walls properly before applying a new type of wallpaper or paint.

4. Before attempting to remove vinyl wallpaper, it’s important to determine whether it was installed using a peel-and-stick method or with adhesive. Peel-and-stick vinyl wallpaper comes off more easily, as it is designed to be removable without leaving residue. On the other hand, adhesive-bound vinyl wallpaper requires a different removal process.

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5. Vinyl wallpaper is remarkably versatile and can be embossed with various patterns and textures. This not only adds a decorative element but also affects the ease of removal. Textured vinyl wallpaper can be more difficult to remove due to the added dimension and unevenness on the surface.

Gather The Necessary Tools

Before you start the process of removing vinyl wallpaper, it is essential to gather all the necessary tools to ensure a smooth and efficient experience.

To remove vinyl wallpaper, you will need:

  • Scoring tool – used to create small holes in the wallpaper, allowing the liquid fabric softener to penetrate easily.
  • Liquid fabric softener – helps to loosen the wallpaper adhesive, making it easier to remove.
  • Wallpaper remover or scoring tool – an alternative to the scoring tool, this product can help in breaking down the wallpaper adhesive.
  • Wall scraper – used to scrape off the wallpaper from the wall surface.
  • Warm water – helps to moisten and soften the wallpaper, facilitating its removal.
  • Non-cellulose sponge – useful for saturating the wallpaper with liquid fabric softener or warm water.
  • Drop cloth – protects the floor or furniture from any drips or spills.
  • For removing adhesive, you will need:
  • Hot water – helps to dissolve and remove the adhesive residue left on the wall.
  • Liquid dish soap – this can assist in breaking down stubborn adhesive.
  • Baking soda – can act as a gentle abrasive to help remove the adhesive.
  • Vinegar – its acidic properties can aid in dissolving adhesive residues.

Having all these tools ready will save you valuable time and effort during the removal process.

Pro tip: Begin by scoring the wallpaper with the scoring tool, then applying the liquid fabric softener or wallpaper remover. Allow it to sit for a few minutes to penetrate the adhesive. Use the wall scraper to gently peel off the wallpaper. If any adhesive residue remains, mix hot water, liquid dish soap, baking soda, and vinegar. Apply this mixture to the wall using a sponge and gently scrub away the adhesive.

Score The Vinyl Wallpaper

The first step in removing vinyl wallpaper is to score the surface. Using a wallpaper remover scoring tool, roll it over the wall in a back-and-forth motion. This technique helps to penetrate the water-resistant vinyl and reach the glue beneath the wallpaper. Scoring the vinyl wallpaper creates tiny perforations that allow the fabric softener mixture to seep behind the wallpaper, making it easier to remove.

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Apply Fabric Softener Mixture

The next step involves preparing a fabric softener mixture to aid in the removal of the vinyl wallpaper. To create the mixture, combine 1/4 cup of liquid fabric softener with a gallon of hot water in a bucket. Once the mixture is ready, proceed to heavily saturate one section of the wall at a time, starting from the top. It is crucial to work in sections to ensure that the fabric softener mixture does not dry out before you can remove the wallpaper.

Peel Back The Wallpaper

After allowing the fabric softener mixture to soak into the wallpaper for about 10 to 15 minutes, it’s time to start peeling back the damp wallpaper. Begin at the corner or the edge where the wallpaper meets the ceiling. Gently pull the wallpaper downward, keeping it at a low angle to avoid tearing it. If the wallpaper does not come off in one continuous strip, use a wall scraper to remove the smaller strips of paper. Take your time and be patient as you work your way across the wall, removing the entire vinyl wallpaper.

  • Allow fabric softener mixture to soak for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Start peeling from corner or edge
  • Pull downwards at a low angle to avoid tearing
  • Use a wall scraper for smaller strips of paper
  • Be patient while removing the entire vinyl wallpaper.

Use A Scraper For Stubborn Areas

Sometimes, you may encounter stubborn areas where the wallpaper is resistant to removal. In such cases, spraying additional fabric softener solution onto the wall and using a wall scraper can help with removing these tougher sections. With persistence, you will be able to remove every last bit of the vinyl wallpaper, resulting in a clean surface.

Remove Residual Glue

After successfully removing the wallpaper, you may notice residual glue left on the wall. To completely remove any leftover adhesive, scrub the wall with warm water and a non-cellulose sponge. The warm water will help dissolve and loosen the glue, while the non-cellulose sponge will be gentle on the wall surface.

For particularly stubborn glue, you can create a mixture of hot water, liquid dish soap, baking soda, and vinegar. Apply this mixture to the affected areas and scrub with a sponge or cloth until the glue comes off. Make sure to remove all adhesive to prevent any damage to the appearance of a fresh paint job.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is vinyl wallpaper hard to remove?

While vinyl wallpaper is not known for being particularly challenging to remove, it does require a bit more effort compared to strippable or temporary wallpaper. To effectively remove vinyl wallpaper, you’ll need to arm yourself with liquid fabric detergent, a wallpaper remover, or a scoring tool. Although the process may be a little more labor-intensive, with the right tools and techniques, you’ll be able to successfully remove vinyl wallpaper without too much trouble.

How do you remove vinyl painted wallpaper?

To remove vinyl painted wallpaper, begin by scoring the painted surface using a wallpaper scoring tool or a stiff wire brush. This will create small punctures on the outer layer of paint, allowing the removal solution to penetrate more effectively. Next, prepare a mixture of water, vinegar, and fabric softener in a spray bottle. Spray this solution liberally onto the wallpaper, allowing it to soak in for a few minutes. Finally, use a wallpaper stripper tool to gently peel off the softened wallpaper, taking care not to damage the underlying wall.

Can I paint over vinyl wallpaper?

Yes, you can paint over vinyl wallpaper with the right preparation. By selecting a paintable type of vinyl wallpaper and applying an oil-based primer, you can create a solid bond between the paint and the wallpaper. This will ensure a seamless and successful paint application, transforming the look of your walls.

Does vinyl wallpaper damage walls?

Vinyl wallpaper typically does not damage walls when properly applied and removed. However, there are a few factors to consider that might result in minor blemishes, especially on flat or matte painted surfaces. When removing vinyl wallpaper from these types of surfaces, there is a slight chance of the paint surface getting damaged due to the adhesive backing of the wallpaper. It is always recommended to follow proper removal techniques and be cautious to minimize any potential harm to the walls.

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