Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Remove Wallpaper


Strippable Papers
Learn how to remove strippable papers.
Learn how to remove strippable papers.
Publications International, Ltd.

­Though most strippable wall coverings are characterized by smooth, plasticlike textures (including viny­l, fabric-backed vinyl, or fabric-backed paper), the only way to find out if a covering is really strippable is to try peeling it off the wall. Here's how:

Step 1: Pry the paper up in an inconspicuous corner at the top of a wall with the tip of a utility knife.

Step 2: Grasp the tip of the corner and, keeping it as close to the wall as possible, try to pull it down the surface of the wall. Pulling it toward you and away from the wall increases the likelihood of tearing it. If a covering is strippable, it should peel away from the wall when you apply steady, moderate pressure. If not, you're probably dealing with a nonstrippable paper tha­t you will have to soak, steam, or dry-strip off the wall. Do not soak or use steam-stripping methods on drywall, though. The moisture can soften the wall's kraft-paper surface and its gypsum core. Instead, use a dry-strip method.­


More to Explore