Posted on: 02.08.2023 Posted by: Редакция Comments: 0

If unprimed, drywall has an outer layer of paper that adheres firmly to the wallpaper above it. Removing wallpaper from unprimed drywall can cause significant damage and leave behind sticky residue if not done correctly. And the older the wallpaper, the more important proper removal becomes.

Here’s how to remove wallpaper from unprimed drywall in 9 steps:

  1. Prepare the room.
  2. Create tears in the wallpaper.
  3. Mix a cleaning solution.
  4. Spray, sponge, or wipe the cleaning solution onto the walls.
  5. Use a steam cleaner.
  6. Peel off the wallpaper.
  7. Clean off any remaining adhesive from the wall.
  8. Allow the walls to dry.
  9. Repair any damage to the drywall.

Keep reading to learn more about the steps you need to follow to remove wallpaper from unprimed drywall. This article discusses proper methods for removing wallpaper, ensuring minimal damage and allowing you to prepare the drywall for future wallpaper or paint.

1. Prepare the room

Removing wallpaper can get messy, so make sure to clear furniture out of the way and cover the floor with drop cloths. You should also cover outlets, vents, and light switches with painter’s tape. Since the wallpaper removal process involves getting wet, it’s advisable to turn off the power to the room for safety until you finish.

2. Create tears in the wallpaper

First, create tears in the wallpaper by cutting circles with a plastic tool or lightly scoring it with a tool like the WP Chomp Wallpaper Scorer available on This helps loosen the wallpaper adhesive without damaging the underlying drywall. Note that you may cause damage at this step if using sharper cutting tools like knives.

Scoring or tearing is especially important if you have vinyl wallpaper, which repels water. A water-based cleaning solution needs to penetrate the adhesive layer for the wallpaper to peel off.

3. Mix a cleaning solution

You can use one of many different formulas to dissolve the wallpaper adhesive, as long as it’s gentle. Some are too harsh for the drywall and cause damage.

A recommended solution includes hot water, dish soap, and a tablespoon of baking soda. However, if this doesn’t work or your drywall is very old, you may want to add white vinegar to the mixture, about one cup per gallon of solution.

Another solution uses fabric softener and water at a ratio of 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of fabric softener to 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) of water. In any case, make sure the water is hot, as that’s the key.

Commercial wallpaper removers are an option, but they tend to damage the drywall more than these homemade methods. If you’re not concerned about damage to the drywall, try the World’s Best WP Chomp World’s Best Wallpaper Stripper, available on Amazon. This stripper is incredibly effective at removing stubborn wallpaper.

4. Spray, sponge, or wipe the cleaning solution onto the walls

You can apply the solution using various methods, including a spray bottle, sponge, or microfiber cloth. One particularly effective tool is the power sprayer, which thoroughly wets the walls with pressure.

If using a power sprayer, make sure to first use safety goggles to protect your eyes. This YunTuo Safety Glasses 2-Pack (available on Amazon) is a cost-effective way to prevent injuries.

Coat the walls in sections rather than spraying the entire wall at once, then let the formula sit for 15 minutes or so.

You’ll know the solution is working when you see bubbles forming under the wallpaper, indicating that the adhesive is loosening. Expect parts of the wallpaper to come loose and fall to the floor at this point.

5. Use a steam cleaner

If you’re concerned about using a cleaning solution on your walls, you can also use a steam cleaner to loosen the adhesive. A steam steamer is a better option if you have very old drywall that’s prone to damage.

To use a steam steamer, fill it with water, plug it in, and allow it time to heat up. Then apply steam to the scored or torn wallpaper and hover over the paper for 1-2 minutes before scraping it off in sections.

Depending on the wall section you’re working on, you may use a large or small steam plate. Try to purchase a wallpaper steamer that comes with both a small and large plate so you can use one device for everything, like the Wagner Spraytech Wallpaper Steamer available on Amazon.

6. Peel off the wallpaper

There are many different types of wallpaper, most with two layers. The outer layer typically consists of fabric, vinyl, bamboo, or paper, and the inner layer is made of paper or similar material. You’ll need to remove both.

Find a corner of the wallpaper where it’s easiest to peel it off from the wall and start peeling. Ideally, the wallpaper should come off smoothly and cleanly. But if it doesn’t, proceed with caution and don’t force the wallpaper off too hard. Forcing it can cause tears in the drywall.

Sometimes the wallpaper comes off in sheets from the wall, but sometimes you’ll need to peel off small sections of the wall at a time. Don’t leave the backing on, even if it appears to be in good condition. Your new wallpaper will adhere best if you start fresh.

7. Remove any remaining adhesive from the wall

You can remove any remaining adhesive from the wall by carefully scraping it off with a plastic putty knife and wiping it away with a damp cloth. If the adhesive is stubborn and won’t come off, try reapplying the cleaning solution and allowing it to sit again before continuing to scrape and wipe away the adhesive.

8. Allow the walls to dry

Once you’ve removed the wallpaper and adhesive from the walls, it’s time to clean them up and let them air dry for at least 24 hours. At this point, the wall should feel smooth to the touch. If it doesn’t, go back to the previous steps and try again to dissolve, scrape, and wipe away the adhesive.

9. Repair any damage to the drywall

Even if you’ve done everything as recommended, you may find yourself with a damaged drywall that needs to be repaired before you can add a coat of paint. You can fix minor imperfections by sanding the area, or you can use a paint roller and primer to cover up the damage.

If priming damaged areas, you’ll need to apply two coats, letting the first one dry before adding the second. Then, sand the spot to ensure it’s even.

At this point, the wall is now ready for brand new wallpaper or a fresh coat of paint. Just make sure to prime the entire wall before doing either, as failing to do so will make it difficult to keep the drywall looking nice when you want to make a change next time.

Final Thoughts

Removing wallpaper from unprimed drywall can be a challenge, so be patient as you follow these steps to remove it carefully. Remember that you can always go through the process multiple times if it doesn’t work on the first try. And if you decide to apply new wallpaper, make sure to prime the walls first to make future removal easier.

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