9 Best Wallpaper Removers

Updated: Jul. 12, 2024

Removing wallpaper is a messy, tedious task, but the right tools and products can make it a little easier.

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Wagner 725 Wallpaper Steamer Ecomm Homedepot.comVIA MERCHANT

Stripping wallpaper is a wet, messy, tedious task. But with a little time, patience and the right tools, it’s something a DIYer can do successfully. Although time-consuming, the process of removing wallpaper is relatively straightforward: Soak the paper backing to reactivate the glue holding it to the wall, then scrape off the paper and leftover glue.

When buying tools to help remove wallpaper, first decide the method you’ll use to reactivate the glue. Then determine how to prepare the wallpaper so the water soaks through, and what you’ll use to scrape everything off the wall. Ahead, see nine best tools for removing wallpaper.

Best Concentrated Wallpaper Removal Solution

Piranha Concentrate Wallpaper Remover

The Piranha Concentrate Wallpaper Remover covers a lot of area. It’s concentrated, so one 32-ounce bottle will make five gallons of wallpaper removal solution once mixed with water. The company’s spec sheet indicates that will cover about 75 square feet of wallpaper, making it an economical choice.

Best Ready-to-Use Wallpaper Remover Solution

WP Chomp's World's Best Wallpaper Stripper

If you’d rather skip the mixing part, WP Chomp’s World’s Best Wallpaper Stripper is ready to go right out of the bottle. The company claims its formula contains more active ingredients than other wallpaper removers, so it will work on more types of glue.

Several Amazon reviewers reported success with this product after water alone didn’t work. One reviewer described their wallpaper coming off “like soft butter.” Bonus: It’s citrus scented.

Best Putty Knife

Anvil Flexible Putty Knife's

Putty knives are easy to manipulate and slide behind wallpaper backing as you scrape it off the wall. The Anvil Flexible Putty Knife’s thin, flexible blade makes it less likely to create gouges in your wall.

It comes in various sizes. Decide if you’re more comfortable with a six-inch blade, which professionals often reach for, or the three-inch blade. The latter isn’t so small that you’ll be scraping all day, but isn’t so wide that it feels overwhelmingly large for a beginner.

Best Putty Knife for Tight Spots

Husky 1.5-inch Flexible Putty Knife

If you have a small spot to the side of a door or under a built-in cabinet, a large putty knife won’t work. The Husky 1.5-inch Flexible Putty Knife features a flexible blade to avoid damaging the wall, and a smaller edge to scrape wallpaper backing and glue from those tricky areas.

Best Wallpaper Scraper

WP Chomp Wallpaper Scraping Tool

Dedicated wallpaper scraping tools come with sharp blades to remove the wallpaper and longer handles than a typical putty knife. The WP Chomp Wallpaper Scraping Tool comes with a replaceable blade that can be sharpened. The blade is set at an angle to scrape wallpaper easier while making it less likely to damage the wall.

Best Wallpaper Scorer

WP Chomp Wallpaper Scorer

If you try soaking your wallpaper and find the solution isn’t getting through to the backing, it’s time for a wallpaper scorer.

The WP Chomp Wallpaper Scorer features two rotating stainless steel scoring wheels on a pivoting arm to poke holes in the wallpaper as you run it across the wall. The holes let the wallpaper remover solution reach the backing. The pivoting arm makes it easy to run the tool back and forth across the wall without worrying about holding it at a particular angle.

Best Wallpaper Steamer

Wagner 725 Steamer

The Wagner 725 Steamer features a 1.3-gallon reservoir, a 24-foot reach (including the 12-foot hose) and two hours of runtime. Two steam plates come with: 8- x 11-in. for large areas and 3- x 6-in. plate for smaller ones.

One reviewer on The Home Depot’s web site railed about previous “nightmare” wallpaper removal projects while noting this steamer made the process go more smoothly. “If your time is valuable I would strongly recommend this product. It saved me a lot of time and hard work,” they write.

Best Budget Wallpaper Steamer

Gymax 1500 Watt wallpaper steamer

The Gymax 1500 Watt wallpaper steamer offers a one-gallon reservoir, 20 feet of reach with a 10-foot hose, and three hours of runtime. There’s one 8- x 11-in. plate included. It’s extremely light, only four pounds when empty.

Best Wallpaper Steamer to Rent

Earlex SteamMaster

If you don’t want to buy a wallpaper steamer, you can rent the Earlex SteamMaster at The Home Depot. This steamer offers a 1.9-gallon capacity with up to three hours of runtime. Its 16-foot hose gives you 32 feet of reach. Check with your local The Home Depot store before heading out to rent it.

Now that you’ve read up on the best wallpaper removers, you may want to keep these tips for removing wallpaper in mind.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Wallpaper Remover

Removing wallpaper can be an intimidating process. But the more prepared you are, the easier (and less frustrating) the task is. First, decide what method you prefer to use. If you’re using a steamer, consider ones with an ergonomic design, making it easy to hold in your hands to prevent fatigue. You can also select ones that rest on a ladder. Even with a steamer, you’ll still need a scraper tool to remove any leftover adhesive. And if you want to use a liquid remover, look for vinegar-based ones or a stripper specifically for removing wallpaper.

Types of Wallpaper Removers

Wallpaper remover solutions contain chemicals that break down wallpaper glue, making removing it easier. If you’d rather not use chemicals, use a wallpaper steamer, which breaks down the wallpaper with heat.

  • Solvents: These make breaking down the sticky advice between the wallpaper and the wall easy. Most come in spray and gel forms, which you can purchase online or at local home improvement stores.
  • Scrapers: These valuable tools are essential to any wallpaper removal process. Scrappers help clean the walls and remove excess product left on your walls. The blades need to stay in shape, so consider options, including removable blades that can be switched out once they start to dull.
  • Scorers: These create tiny holes in the wallpaper so that your removal products can penetrate better, ultimately speeding up the process. Scorers are hand-held tools that use light pressure to make the incisions and are best to use on stubborn wallpaper like vinyl-based materials.
  • Steamers: Steam is a miracle worker when removing wallpaper. The hot temperatures help melt the adhesive off walls without creating damage. While steamers are an excellent tool, you must work in smaller sections simultaneously.

Wallpaper Material

If your wallpaper facing is vinyl, you’ll likely need a wallpaper scorer to scratch the vinyl and let the remover solution or steam soak through. If it’s paper or another more fibrous material, wallpaper remover will likely soak through without scoring.

Chemicals vs. Heat

Both chemicals and heat get the job done regarding wallpaper removal and are both beneficial. Chemical removers are made with ingredients that can be harsh and strong, which releases the adhesive on the paper and wall. It can create a strong scent and might not be a preferred method for many. Steam is the best remedy if you prefer not to use harsh chemicals. Steaming helps the wallpaper release from the adhesive and can create a cleaner wall after the paper is removed. It also helps loosen the glue so you can easily swipe it away with a scrapper.

Safety

You’ll need to protect your eyes and skin from wallpaper remover solutions. When using a wallpaper steamer, it’s best to wear safety gloves and long sleeves and never touch the steamer’s plate.

Flexibility and Thinness

A scraper’s blade must be flexible, as it’s less likely to damage the wall. A thinner blade also gets behind wallpaper more easily than a thicker blade.

Capacity and Convenience

Steamers are bulky, but most hold 1 to 4 liters of water, so you don’t have to stop to refill constantly. Wallpaper steamers are usually easy to hold and move, but if you opt for one with a larger tank, it will be heavier and put more strain on your hands. Keep in mind that the steamer’s house is length as well. Some have longer makes, which can get tangled up in the process, making it harder to move around the area that you’re working with.

Consider the bottle’s contents if you’re using a chemical remover or spray. A larger container helps secure the solution and any other additives in one place. Bottles are also excellent for reaching tight and small corners.

Why You Should Trust Us

Amanda Keim-Morrison is a project manager, writer, website builder and creative problem solver with over 19 years of editorial experience covering many topics, including health reporting. Her diverse portfolio and problem-solving ideas helped her create this article on the best wallpaper removers. Our team of experts also contributed their best tips and tricks for removing wallpaper to this story.

How We Found the Best Wallpaper Removers

To find the best wallpaper removers, our team gathered a list of our own experiences and added them to this story. We shared our favorite tools and tricks that make the process easier. From there, we did your research and considered the bestselling wallpaper remover tools to complete this list. Lastly, we considered customer reviews to ensure these products are worth the money. We regularly update this story with new products and the most accurate pricing information.

FAQs

What is the best wallpaper remover?

Steamers are the best tools for removing wallpaper. The condensation and heat help release the glue binding the paper to the wall and lift it without damaging it. Water, vinegar, fabric softeners and liquid removers are also excellent tools for removing wallpaper.

What do professionals remove wallpaper with?

Most professionals turn to steamers since it’s the fastest and least damaging method. Some do use traditional methods like liquid removers to get the wallpaper off the walls. If you use this method, having an orbital palm sander on hand is crucial to breaking down the glue left on the wall effectively.

Does vinegar dissolve wallpaper glue?

While vinegar seems like a light hitter against wallpaper glue, it’s one of the top methods for removing paper. But don’t just use vinegar. Mix it with dish soap and baking soda to get the most adhesive off the walls.