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How to Remove Wallpaper Without {Completely} Losing Your Mind


It can be so stunning when it goes on. Completely change the look of a room. Add so much color and texture and interest to a space.

But getting it off can be another story.

I spent the better part of a week in January removing wallpaper from our entire new investment property. There was a different type of wallpaper in every room except for the entry/living room/ hallway. Every bedroom had it. The bathroom. The kitchen.

Oh, the kitchen. That was the most painful.

But, I tell you friends,  this story could have been worse. A. LOT. WORSE.

If I didn’t have my new best-friend-secret-wallpaper-removal-weapon.

And, thanks to ‘her”, I now know how to remove wallpaper from an entire house without {completely} losing my mind.

how to remove wallpaper without losing your mind at thehappyhousie.com

A few weeks ago I shared the story of our new investment property with you. Maybe you remember some of the before pictures I shared?

There was a lot of wallpaper in those pics….

The Rental House before at The Happy Housie-35

The Rental House before at The Happy Housie-37

The Rental House before at The Happy Housie-32


Like, rooms and rooms full of wallpaper. Remember that?

Well, I knew we would have to tackle removing all that so I contacted HomeRight and asked them if I could do a product review of their SteamMachine Multi-Purpose Power Steamer as it is touted as excellent for removing wallpaper.

If you have ever removed wallpaper before, you may know that there are generally three parts to the removal process. Top layer, Under layer, and glue remnants.

The first part is to remove the top (pretty part) paper layer. Sometimes you get lucky and that rips off in nice big sheets….How to remove wallpaper without losing your mind at thehappyhousie.com-1Other times you are not so lucky.

And the wallpaper rips off in small chunks and you have to keep going for, like, three days in order to remove 6 square inches of paper.

Okay, maybe that is a little extreme… but you get the picture.

How to remove wallpaper without losing your mind at thehappyhousie.com-2

How to remove wallpaper without losing your mind at thehappyhousie.com-3

This is where you have to call on your inner strength to keep you going until that entire top layer has been sent into oblivion. Dig deep, my friends.

mentoringmonday1Wallpaper removal is deep stuff, you know.

Once we had managed to get our top layer of pretty wallpaper off throughout the whole house, it was time to tackle the stubborn under-layer.

This is step two in the process.

Enter my new best friend (not only because we spent so many hours together, but also because of how reliable and helpful she is – great qualities in a friend). I would like to introduce you to Ms. HomeRight Steam Machine Multi-Purpose Power Steamer…



Important: You’ll need to purchase the wall paper removal attachment too. I read the enclosed booklet and then followed the instructions for my new HomeRight SteamMachine to fill/heat etc.

Once the water was heated up, I started at the top of a section, and worked my way down, holding the steam paddle on each section for about 10 seconds. The instructions recommend longer (and the more saturated the paper is, the better), but I am impatient so I didn’t always hold it as long as I should have.

How to remove wallpaper without losing your mind at thehappyhousie.com-6

How to remove wallpaper without losing your mind at thehappyhousie.com-7

Anyhow… I worked my way down and watched for the little orange light to flash on. When it did, that meant it was time to let the steamer have a little rest (I was working her pretty hard). So, as she had a little rest I took my scraper and simply scraped off the under layer.

How to remove wallpaper without losing your mind at thehappyhousie.com-9

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This is the part where you hear the angels singing.


Like, it just scraped it right off.

Such a joy after so. many. hours. pulling off the top layer.


My best advice is to get a system going: steam from the top down, allow it to saturate, and then once the orange light goes on and the steamer needs a break, use that time wisely by scraping. Scrape, scrape, scrape away and then go ahead and re-steam again once the orange light goes off. The process becomes quite an art form after awhile.


Once the under layer was removed from each room, I washed down the walls (in some rooms I used TSP and a scrubby, in other rooms just warm slightly soapy water). The washing is the third step in this process and is to remove all the excess glue that may have been left behind on the walls. Best to get that nasty stuff off before priming and painting.


Have a wallpaper removal project that you need to tackle?

I totally recommend the HomeRight SteamMachine Multi-Purpose Power Steamer.  You’ll need the wall paper removal attachment too, but I totally believe it is the only thing that allowed me to retain part of my sanity during this at-times-painfully-slow-wallpaper-removal-procedure.




This is awesome! Pin it to remember it!

how I removed an entire house full of wallpaper without completely losing my mind using the Homeright Steam Machine at thehappyhousie.com

Next week I will be back with all the AFTERS!! So exciting to finish up a project…I can’t wait to share with you how it turned out (and our super thrifty budget).

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you click and buy then I will receive a small portion of the sale but it won’t cost you a cent more then it would have otherwise. So thanks for helping to add a little bit to my housie plans budget. Cheers!



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  1. Hello, just ran across your article about removing wallpaper. Looks easy enough, but suppose I want to put up new paper? If I remove the first layer, can I just paper over whats left on the wall without doing the other steps? Lol, I know I should do the other layer, but I am just curious what you think about it?
    Thanks, Carol

    1. Hello Carol,
      I think it is probably going to be best to clean off all the existing wallpaper – my concern would be that it won’t come off perfectly so you wouldn’t have a level surface to install your new paper on. Also if the second paper layer isn’t super adhered to the wall then it could compromise the quality of the attachment that the new wallpaper has to the wall and could possibly start peeling off? I know, it’s such a BIG job! I can understand wanting to skip a step:) Good luck with your project.

    1. Hi Denise,
      I used warm soapy water (dish soap, or I’ve even heard of using vinegar and water), to remove all the glue, but if it isn’t coming off nicely then there is also wallpaper remover you can purchase that should work or TSP. A good scrub of the walls, and I even used a gentle kitchen scrubby pad to help get off some tricky spots. Hope that helps!

    1. Hi Lauren!

      With our first rental property renovation I didn’t post much along the way – but I did do a final reveal with some details and budget – it is here: http://thehappyhousie.porch.com/rental-house-makeover-reveal-budget/.

      We also tackled a second investment property renovation this summer and I am about to begin sharing several of the projects and DIYs – I have them scheduled to start posting next week. There will be a lot more step-by-step posts in this series then in the last one. It’s hard to keep up with renovating and posting about renovating all at the same time! Lol:)


  2. Over 20 years ago I wallpapered on the wall leading upstairs. It is time for it to come down. Of course I am over 20 years older and not looking forward to it but it has to be done. I am going to have to look into a HomeRight Steam Machine. Thanks for the info.

    1. Hello Patty,
      It is a painful job no matter how you look at it… but at least the steam machine makes removing the second layer so much more bearable! Good luck with your big project:)

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