How to remove vinyl-coated wallpaper

Wallpaper removal is a job that is often necessary but left undone. The sheer thought of removing wallpaper is tiresome. Vinyl-coated wallpaper comes off rather easily. But once the vinyl coating is removed, the backing and glue residue are often left. Commercial wallpaper strippers are not always effective at removing vinyl-coated wallpaper. Remove it properly to get the job done without damaging your walls in the process.

Try to peel off the vinyl-coated wallpaper with your hands. Start in a top corner, along a seam or in a spot where the wallpaper is peeling. Pull the wallpaper off slowly with your hands. Use a putty knife to help you loosen the paper. Continue until you have removed as much of the wallpaper as possible. Sometimes some of the wallpaper backing will be left on the walls.

Fill a bucket with 2½ gallons of hot water. Add a capful of fabric softener.

Wet a 5-foot section of the wall with the fabric softener solution. Use a paint roller to apply the solution to the wall. Use a sponge in the corners.

Let it sit on the wall for about 10 minutes. Scrape the backing and glue residue from the walls with a 6-inch putty knife.

Continue this process of wetting the walls with the solution and then scraping until all of the backing and glue are gone. Wash the walls with a clean sponge and a fresh batch of the fabric softener solution to remove any remaining residue. Clean the walls with a rag and plain water and let them dry completely before painting or priming.


Turn off the power to the room in which you are working to avoid getting an electrical shock. Plug in a light from another light source and direct it into the room so that you can see what you are doing.

Things You'll Need

  • Putty knife
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Fabric softener
  • Paint roller
  • Sponge
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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.