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How to Remove Different Types of Wallpaper

Paint expert Mauro Henrique shows host Kevin O’Connor some methods for removing different types of wallpaper, and Kevin’s shocked at the results.

Paint expert Mauro Henrique shows Kevin O’Connor how to remove wallpaper easily. After going over a few different types of wallpaper, Mauro shows Kevin the removal methods and tools to use. Some types of wallpaper come off easier than others, but Mauro’s expertise makes short work of them all.

How to Remove Different Types of Wallpaper

The term “wallpaper” includes many, many types of wall finishings. Three of the most common wallpaper types today include peelable, strippable, and vinyl. The removal methods vary slightly depending on the type of wallpaper, but this guide will explain how to get the job done.

Determine the Type of Wallpaper

First, determine the type of wallpaper at hand. Take a putty knife and attempt to peel back a corner at one of the seams. If the corner peels back relatively easily, this is peelable wallpaper and removal should be straightforward. If the wallpaper doesn’t peel easily, it’s either strippable wallpaper or vinyl, both of which are slightly more difficult to remove.

Score the Wallpaper

The next step is to score the wallpaper. This step is unnecessary for peelable wallpaper, but it’s absolutely critical for strippable or vinyl. Grasp the scoring tool in hand and press the scoring wheels against the wallpaper surface. For strippable wallpaper, slight pressure is all that’s required. For vinyl wallpaper, a bit more effort may be necessary to poke through the wallpaper.

The idea here is to perforate the surface of the wallpaper so the solution sprayed on in the next step can get behind it and loosen the adhesive.

Spray the Surface with the Vinegar Solution

Mix a solution of white vinegar and warm water in a one-to-one ratio, and pour into a spray bottle. Apply a generous amount of the solution over the scored wallpaper and let the solution soak in for about 15 minutes.

Note: This is not necessary for peelable wallpaper, but it may be good to keep a bit of this solution on hand for the next step.

Peel the Wallpaper

After allowing the vinegar to do its job for 15 minutes, find a seam along the scored wallpaper’s edge. Use a putty knife to pry the edge up, and slowly start removing the wallpaper. If any of the wallpaper starts to stick, spray behind it with the vinegar solution and give it a few more minutes before peeling the stuck paper off the wall with the putty knife.

To remove any residual adhesive on the wall, regardless of the type of wallpaper, spray the adhesive with the solution, allow it to sit for a few minutes, and then remove the adhesive with a clean rag. Also, for multiple layers of wallpaper, it may be necessary to continue scoring, spraying, and peeling layer after layer. This can be a difficult task, particularly in older homes, so be patient and take your time.


Mauro talks through 3 major types of wallpaper and the tools to properly remove each type.

Mauro shows 3 types of wallpaper: Removable, Strippable, and Vinyl.

Mauro uses a putty knife to pry up the corner of the removable wallpaper and carefully pulls down the paper at an angle.

To remove the Strippable and Vinyl wallpaper, Mauro uses a scoring tool and presses it across the entire facing of the wallpaper to create tiny perforations. Once the wallpaper is sufficiently scored across each section, Mauro uses a spray bottle to apply a 1:1 mixture of hot water and white vinegar.

The hot water helps to loosen up the adhesive and the acid from the vinegar helps to dissolve it. Once the solution has set up for 10-15 minutes, Mauro uses a putty knife and begins peeling the wallpaper from the top corner down. Vinyl paper is often more difficult because of its vinyl seal that blocks out moisture; Be sure that the solution has fully saturated it. After the wallpaper is removed, you can go over the dry wall with a clean rag and the water/vinegar solution to remove any remaining adhesive from the wall.