How to remove wall paper from a ceiling

Updated February 21, 2017

Wallpaper can improve the look of any room, but is difficult to remove. This is especially true when the wallpaper is on the ceiling. Removing wallpaper from a ceiling requires using some specialised products from a DIY centre to loosen the wallpaper. Removing wallpaper from a ceiling can be quite messy so it should be considered as a weekend project and not be hurried.

Put plastic sheeting down to cover the floor and any furniture that can not be removed from the room or area where the wall paper is going to be removed. Put on the rubber gloves. Put on goggles to protect the eyes.

Pour some liquid fabric softener into a spray bottle. Get up on the step ladder and spray the wall paper on the ceiling starting at one end. Spray the fabric softener onto the wallpaper until all of the wall paper has been moistened.

Put the paint bucket down on the plastic sheeting. Pour in 13.5 litres (3 gallons) of hot water. Add a bottle of wallpaper remover, 59 ml (1/4 cup) of liquid fabric softener and 2 tbsp. of baking soda. Mix the water using the wooden stick.

Get up on the stepladder and break the surface of the wallpaper with the perforation tool. Apply the mixture from the paint bucket to the wall paper using a paint brush. Paint over all of the wallpaper on the ceiling. Return to where you first started painting the wallpaper with the wallpaper remover on the ceiling and repeat the painting process.

Wait 15 minutes. Scrape each strip of wallpaper with the broad knife, starting from one side of the strip and moving to the other side. Scrape the wall paper as you move around the ceiling in the same manner as when you painted on the wallpaper remover. Remove each strip of wallpaper as it comes loose and toss it down onto the plastic sheeting. Continue doing this until all of the wallpaper has been removed from the ceiling. Discard the broad knife.

Apply the wallpaper remover to the ceiling with the paint brush in a similar manner as when you painted over the wallpaper. Wait a few minutes. Take a sponge to the ceiling and remove any residual adhesive on the ceiling. Discard the sponge.

Mix 237 ml (1 cup) of white vinegar with 4.5 litres (1 gallon) of water in a paint bucket. Stir the mixture with the wooden stick. Apply the mixture to the ceiling with a clean sponge. Let the ceiling dry. Dispose of the wallpaper and the plastic sheeting.


Wear old clothes and hat that can be disposed of after the wallpaper has been removed.


Wallpaper remover can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic sheeting
  • Rubber gloves
  • Goggles
  • Stepladder
  • Liquid fabric softener
  • Spray bottle
  • Two paint buckets
  • Wooden stick
  • Hot water
  • Wall paper remover with reactive enzymes
  • Measuring cup
  • Baking soda
  • Perforation tool
  • Paint brush
  • Broad knife
  • 2 sponges
  • White vinegar
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About the Author

Marshal M. Rosenthal is a technology maven with more than 15 years of editorial experience. A graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography with a Bachelor of Arts in photographic arts, his editorial work has appeared both domestically as well as internationally in publications such as "Home Theater," "Electronic House," "eGear," "Computer and Video Games" and "Digitrends."