How to strip wallpaper


Before you begin any preparation or decoration work, it’s best to clear the room as much as you can. Move any items that need to stay into the centre of the room and cover them with dust sheets. Use dust sheets to protect the floor, too.

It’s also a wise move to soak the paper on the wall with hot water, as this makes it much easier to remove. You’ll find the water soaks in more easily if you cut the paper first by scoring it with the blade of a stripping knife, or you could run an orbital scorer over the surface. But make sure your stepladder is stable when you’re tackling the higher sections.

Step 1

Start by running an orbital scorer over the paper, taking care not to damage the plaster behind it. Fill a bucket with hot water, adding some liquid detergent and a handful of wallpaper paste to thicken it a little.


Step 2

Wet the wall with a large sponge, covering a few square metres at a time, and leave it to soak in for at least five minutes. Then slide the edge of a wide stripping knife under the paper at a seam to see if it’s ready to be stripped. It should come away in fairly large sections. If this doesn’t happen even after a long and thorough soak, you’ll need to use wallpaper stripper or a steam stripper.

Free how to guide No. 3.2

Step 3

Hold the stripper pad at the bottom of a length of wallpaper for a minute or so until the paper around it appears damp. Then move the pad up onto the next section while pulling off the damp paper below – loosening stubborn areas with a stripping knife. Strip each length from bottom to top, being really careful not to damage the plasterboard or plaster with the blade of your stripping knife.