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D'franco Painting & Wallpaper – Elgin, Geneva, St. Charles, Chicagoland

Do you have wallpaper in your home or office? Are you ready for a change in how your home looks and feels? Then this blog post is ready for you.

Today, we are talking about wallpaper removal. In the Chicagoland area, there are a lot of homes and business locations that have wallpaper on their walls. If you do a YouTube search, you will find there are many ways people will tell you how to remove wallpaper. Sometimes you need a steamer to remove wallpaper from your walls. From our experience, however we have found that the majority of the time hot water will remove wallpaper. The paint and home improvement stores have many chemical options to remove wallpaper, but today I will go into why you should use hot water to remove wallpaper.

wallpaper being removed in a living room

wallpaper being removed in a living room

Why hot water to remove wallpaper?

Although this may seem simple, it gets lost somehow- hot water cleans better than cold water. When you use the hottest water possible on walls with wallpaper it will cause almost a steam affect to the paper. The paper will “wilt”- get soft, allow the water and moisture to get in the wallpaper, then work in to the wallpaper adhesive which will force the paper to be peeled away from the wall.

Why you should use hot water to remove wallpaper

after the paper has been soaking for a while, it will just come off the wall

To go a step further you can use some environmentally safe solutions that will actually make water wetter- allowing for the water to actually permeate better!

safe and simple wallpaper removal solution

safe and simple wallpaper removal solution

What are the steps to removing wallpaper with water?

Our process of removing wallpaper is pretty straight forward.

  1. get a clean bucket, have access to hot water, have access to a toilet to flush down dirt water, have a good sponge that you can get walls wet and clean with
  2. make sure that you have a work light in darker rooms
  3. be careful when working around traditional light bulbs- water to hot light bulb may cause the bulbs to shatter
  4. use a putty knife or a 5 in 1 tool, try to scrape or peel away as much wallpaper as you can- with no water. Wallpaper is typically made in layers. Most residential wallpapers have two layers, the top one will more times than not peel away from the wall. The wallpaper backing- which has the adhesive portion, is what we need to get wet. Commercial wallpaper will usually peel off completely, meaning you can just wash the adhesive from the wall.
  5. Anyway- back to the water…place the hottest water you can stand in the bucket.
 bucket of hot water with safe and simple

our bucket of hot water with safe and simple

6.get the sponge wet- ring it out so it is damp, not dripping wet

hot water is critical to wallpaper removal

hot water is critical to wallpaper removal

7. apply the water to the wall. allow to sit for 5- 10 minutes, repeat it twice! After 20-30 minutes the wallpaper should be at a point that it should peel away from the wall with little effort.

peel wallpaper off after it starts to bubble

after the paper is wet- it will start to bubble, it is ready to peel it off

wallpaper beginning to peel from wall

here is the wallpaper as it is beginning to peel from the wall


8. once the wallpaper is removed – you will need to wash the glue from the walls. You will see the walls nice and clean- shiny when wet- no glue!

clean wall no residue

here is a wall that is clean- not residue

clean walls after wallpaper is removed

the wall are nice and clean after wallpaper is removed and cleaned

Removing wallpaper is job that most people hate. If the wallpaper was installed correctly, the wallpaper will be relatively easy to remove. Look at it this way- if you have wallpaper on your walls- do you really want it to just come right off? Wallpaper provides not just a great look and feel, but is also a very effective product to keep walls in good appearance for many years, compared to some annual locations that have to provide annual painting applications.

You can watch a quick video on this we shot for this blog post:


Let us know if this helps with your wallpaper removal project! If you have questions we would love to hear them so we can better help you love the space you’re in!

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