How to Remove a Vinyl Wallpaper Border

A wallpaper border can be just as difficult to remove as an entire wall of wallpaper if the proper methods and products are not used. Whether the border is outdated, peeling or you just want to give the room a makeover, consider removing the wallpaper border. There are a couple of different methods that can be used to remove wallpaper borders. Wallpaper removal can be done with relative ease using either a steamer or a vinegar and water liquid solution.

Score the wallpaper border. Purchase a wallpaper scoring tool from most home improvement centres. Use the tool to puncture small holes in the wallpaper border. This will allow the moisture to penetrate the wallpaper backing and glue, making removal easier. The more holes you puncture, the easier the border will come down.

Fill the steamer with water. Read the manufacturer’s manual for specific instructions for operating the steamer as this will vary between models. Allow the steamer to heat up for the recommended amount of time.

Work from the bottom of the border toward the top. Start at one end of the wall and work your way toward the other end.

Hold the steamer plate onto a section of the wallpaper for about 15 seconds. Remove the steamer plate and scrape the wallpaper from the wall. Use a 2- or 4-inch putty knife or scraper for scraping the wallpaper. Scrape the wallpaper from the wall gently to avoid nicking the wall. Apply more heat from the steamer, if necessary, to remove the backing and adhesive.

Continue this process all along the entire border until all of the wallpaper, backing and adhesive is off. Wash the wall with a rag dampened with water to remove any residue.

Fill an empty spray bottle with equal parts hot water and distilled white vinegar. Score the wallpaper border as directed above.

Spray the vinegar and water mixture onto the wallpaper border. Work in small sections. Allow the vinegar mixture to soak into each section for about five minutes.

Scrape the wallpaper border from the wall using a 2- or 4-inch putty knife or scraper. Use caution when scraping so not to damage the wall. Apply more vinegar solution, if necessary, so that the wallpaper face, backing and adhesive are all removed from the wall.

Wash the wall with a damp rag to remove any residue.


Have a glass baking dish handy to set the steamer plate in while scraping. Wallpaper steamers are available for rent at most rental supply stores. A regular steamer will work for removing wallpaper as well. Protect your work area. Lay dust sheets on the floor and over furniture that cannot be easily removed from the room. Turn off the electricity to the room you are working in to avoid injury. Cover electrical sockets with duct tape. If using the vinegar and water method, the hotter the water the more effective this method will be. Change the bottle of water and vinegar as it becomes cool.


Use caution when working with a steamer. The extreme heat from the steam can cause burns and injury.

Things You'll Need

  • Wallpaper scoring tool
  • Steamer
  • Water
  • 2- or 4-inch putty knife or scraper
  • Rags
  • Empty spray bottle
  • Vinegar
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Kimbry Parker has been writing since 1998 and has published content on various websites. Parker has experience writing on a variety of topics such as health, parenting, home improvement and decorating. She is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication.