Back in September I removed an old layer of wallpaper from the office. I searched the web and talked to friends with wallpaper removal experience and to use a spray bottle solution of fabric softener and water.
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The solution worked. The wallpaper came down. The house smelled great!
However, there were some drawbacks. This horrible housewife learned some things from the office project.
- The wallpaper is probably almost 30 years old. There was no paint under it. That old adhesive really didn’t want to come off of the wall.
- The solution got everywhere. The entire house smelled great but the floors got a little slippery. I put down plastic in the office but walking from the office to the other rooms tracked fabric softener everywhere.
- Sometimes it took a lot of fabric softener solution to break up the adhesive. The walls got really wet.
- The mess was ridiculous.
So after waiting a couple of months, I decided that I really wanted to take the wallpaper down in the kitchen in time for Thanksgiving dinner.
The Horrible Housewife: Wallpaper removal tips
The kitchen had two layers of old floral wallpaper almost everywhere on the kitchen walls. To my surprise, the tricky areas above the cupboards had three layers! The walls in the kitchen are old linoleum, unlike the carpeted office. I was not looking forward to slipping and sliding up and down ladders from fabric softener mist.
While talking about my dread of the wallpaper to my cousin, she asked if I was going to use a steamer. Nobody mentioned using a steamer to me when I did the office! Lucky for me, my husband got me a garment steamer for Christmas one year. I love it as much as i hate ironing.
Once I used it to remove the wallpaper, my love for it grew by leaps and bounds.
Using the steamer to dampen and soften the wallpaper made the work go much faster with much less mess!
I didn’t even need to use the scorer or the scraper. I ended up getting a two inch putty knife. It was more comfortable for me to grip.
After little sections I would sweep up the wallpaper bits. They were damp from the steam but dried quickly.
Four simple Steps
- Step one: Use the steamer to dampen and soften the old wallpaper.
- Step two: Peel off as much by hand as you can
- Step three: use the putty knife to gently scrap off the adhesive and bits of paper still on the wall.
- Step four: sweep up the mess!
The painting took far longer but I did save time and money by purchasing a top quality paint and primer combo. Most of the walls only needed one coat of paint!