How to Use a Wallpaper Stripper the Right Way

How to Use a Wallpaper Stripper

Last Updated on May 27, 2021

Using a wallpaper steamer or stripper for wallpaper removal may sound difficult considering the boiling water inside. Still, it is quite easy to know what you are doing. This article will teach you how to use a wallpaper stripper with step-by-step- instructions and some pro tips to help you along the way.

Getting Started

What Is a Wallpaper Stripper?

A wallpaper stripper is a steam stripping device. You use it to steam wallpaper, making it easier to remove. The heat and steam produced by the tool break down the paste used to keep the paper attached to the wall using a process called hydrolysis.

Simply put, a wallpaper steamer is like a large kettle with a flat plate that redirects the steam and heat to your wallpaper.

Get Prepared

Stripping wallpaper is a messy job, so it is essential to prepare the room before you begin using a steamer.

  • Remove or cover furniture with a dust sheet to prevent damage.
  • Cover your floors with dust sheets as well. Covering them will reduce clean-up time later.
  • Cover light switches and electrical sockets with plastic and tape to prevent damage and increase safety.
  • Lastly, we recommend using a scoring tool to prepare the wallpaper for steaming. Scoring the wallpaper will help it come off in larger strips.

Using a Wallpaper Stripper: Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Fill the Water Tank

To start, place your wallpaper steamer on a level surface and unscrew the cap on the tank. Next, fill the tank with clean, hot water up to the fill line. Take note of the fill line to not accidentally overfill it and reduce its steaming power.

Step 2: Power up Your Tool

Next, plug in your wallpaper steamer and switch the power on. Wait for the heat to build before moving on to the next step. Steam should visibly pour out of the steam plate when the hot water inside is sufficiently heated.

Step 3: Hold the Steam Plate on a Vertical Edge of Wallpaper

Starting close to the floor, hold the steam plate of your wallpaper stripper against a vertical edge of wallpaper for 10 to 15 seconds. Beginning on edge gives you more to work with as you pry the paper away from the wall in the next step. We also recommend you start at the bottom and work your way up to the ceiling because the heat and steam rise making the wallpaper above start to loosen. Some people prefer to wear gloves while operating their steamer because it can be pretty messy.

Step 4: Use a Stripping Knife or Scraper to Pry Paper off Wall

Now it is time to pry the paper from the wall using your putty or stripping knife. Use short, sharp bursts of motion to scrape the paper off of the wall while you try to keep the tool close to the wall and level for better leverage. Also, avoid gouging the plaster in your walls while you scrape and strip the paper since the plaster may be a bit fragile from the steam as well. If the wallpaper still resists coming off, reapply the steam plate for an additional 10 to 15 seconds and then try to remove the paper again. One sign that the wallpaper is ready to come off is that it will appear damp. Moving forward, adjust the time you hold the steam plate to the wall based on the first strip.

Step 5: Move to Next Section and Repeat

Once the first area is complete, move on to the next section of the wallpaper. Move up the strip of wallpaper with the steamer and scraper until you reach the ceiling. Then, move over to the next sheet or strip. Once you get the hang of the process, ideally, you will be able to hold the wallpaper steamer with one hand and the stripping knife with the other. Refill the water tank as needed. Repeat this process until you remove all of the wallpaper from your room.

Step 6: Clean up as You Go

After you are done using your wallpaper steamer unit and scraper, you will want to clean the walls. Begin by brushing the walls with a hard-bristled brush to remove loose bits of paper and excess glue. Then, wipe down the walls with clean water. Although water with a brush is enough to get the job done, you can also try a commercial wallpaper paste removal solution. This is to clean the walls’ surface completely.

How Do You Clean Walls After Removing Wallpaper?

After you are done using your wallpaper steamer unit and scraper, you will want to clean the walls. Begin by brushing the walls with a hard-bristled brush to remove loose bits of paper and excess glue. Then, wipe down the walls with clean water. While water and a brush are typically enough to get the job done, you can also try a commercial wallpaper paste removal solution. This is to clean the walls’ surface completely.

Does Vinegar and Fabric Softener Remove Wallpaper?

You may be interested to learn that using a wallpaper steamer isn’t the only way to remove old wallpaper. You probably already have the materials needed in your home to make a DIY wallpaper removal solution. One method preferred by DIY enthusiasts is as simple as using a mixture of vinegar and fabric softener with a sponge. However, we highly recommend you wear gloves since it is quite messy. In addition, you will not want the chemicals from the fabric softener on your hands for an extended time.

Wallpaper Removal Made Easy

Now that you know how to remove wallpaper using a stripper or steamer, what project will you tackle first? Just remember to take your time, prioritize safety while you work, and handle your tools carefully. Remember all of these, and you will be rid of your unwanted wallpaper in no time.

Let us know how it goes and what you think in the comments below.

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