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How to remove wallpaper using a steam iron

Removing wallpaper doesn't have to be a dreaded home-improvement job. A steam iron is an effective way to remove wallpaper. The high heat produced by the steam iron softens the wallpaper facing, glue and backing. A steam iron must be used properly in wallpaper removal. Not only can the steam cause injury or burns, if applied improperly, it can damage the wall behind the wallpaper.

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  1. Perforate the wallpaper with a wallpaper scoring tool. Run the scoring tool along the wallpaper using a circular motion. These tiny holes will allow the steam to penetrate the wallpaper, making it peel off easily.

  2. Fill the steam iron with water, and let it heat up. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for use since this may vary among models.

  3. Start at the top of the wall and in a corner, and work your way down. Hold the steam iron plate onto a section of wallpaper for 15 to 20 seconds.

  4. Remove the steam iron, and scrape that section of wallpaper with a wallpaper scraper. When using the scraper, take care not to press too hard or you can damage the wall. Apply more steam and continue scraping until the wallpaper, backing, and glue have been removed from that section.

  5. Continue this process along the entire wall until all the wallpaper has been removed. To speed up the process, hold the steamer on a section with one hand and scrape the section you just steamed with the other hand.

  6. Wash the walls with a sponge and warm water once all the wallpaper has been removed. This will get rid of any remaining residue on the walls.

  7. Tip

    Lay a dust sheet on the floor for easier cleanup.


    Wear a long-sleeved shirt and rubber gloves to prevent burns from the steam or hot, dripping water. Turn off the power to the room where you are working, and cover electrical sockets with duct tape. Don't hold the steam iron on any one section of the wall for more than 30 seconds at a time. Applying too much steam can soften and damage the drywall.

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Things You'll Need

  • Wallpaper scoring tool
  • Steam iron
  • Wallpaper scraper
  • Sponge

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.

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