The following homemade wallpaper remover recipes can help you save some money and scrape off that ugly wallpaper in no time. They’re liquid wallpaper removers that loosen the old paper.
You can easily buy a commercial, chemical-based wallpaper remover. But they’re all expensive and toxic. In today’s article, I will teach you how to make a wallpaper remover with non-toxic ingredients.
These recipes include common ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, dish detergent, and more. I will also teach you how to remove wallpaper with a steamer cleaner for walls, so let’s get started.
What’s the Best Homemade Wallpaper Remover?
Some of the best homemade wallpaper removers include white vinegar, fabric softener, dish soap, and dish detergent. However, you can also use lemon juice and steam. The recipes below can help you take off that stubborn old wallpaper with great ease, so make sure to take notes!
A Detailed Guide on How to Remove Old Wallpaper.
How Do Homemade Wallpaper Removers Work?
Just like commercial wallpaper removers, homemade ones include a base or acid that works as a catalyst for a chemical reaction with the water known as hydrolysis.
This chemical reaction breaks down the glue. Wallpaper glue is sensitive to both bases and acids, which is why it responds effectively to products that contain a base or acid as an active ingredient.
The wallpaper removers enter the wallpaper’s surface layer, accessing the backing to break down and dissolve the glue. The chemical reaction happens when either a basic/acidic wallpaper remover comes in touch with the glue. It’s not nuclear science but a simple process.
Water is introduced to the glue in the presence of a base or acid, which enables water to break some of the molecular bonds in the glue. Water is then mixed into some of the molecules that make up the glue. The glue is like a brick wall. It won’t break apart because mortar keeps all the bricks together.
The remover breaks down the “brick wall” by dissolving the “mortar in between the bricks”. If nothing is keeping all the molecules together, the wall turns into a pile of bricks (individual molecules).
Now, let’s learn how to remove wallpaper in 6 different natural ways.
6 Non-Toxic & Effective Homemade Wallpaper Removers
Wallpaper removal isn’t a fun project. However, you can make things easier and less time-consuming by utilizing the right products. Here’s a list of 6 non-toxic and effective wallpaper removers.
1. White Vinegar
The first recipe includes common components you probably already have in your kitchen. White vinegar is a popular cleaning agent that has the power to make wallpaper glue dissolve quickly.
It has the chemical properties to help break down the adhesive, making it perfect equipment to remove wallpaper. Just gather the next ingredients and follow the instructions provided below.
- Warm water
- White vinegar
Utilize a scoring tool to make small perforations in the wall covering. If it’s already peeling, you can peel off the surface layer of paper.
Then, combine in a bucket or spray bottle equal parts of water and vinegar. Apply or spray the combo to the walls and let soak for about 15 minutes.
Finally, scrape the wall covering with the equipment of your choice. Once you’re done, utilize the same solution to go over the walls for the second time.
This will help you clean your dirty walls and remove any residue. The best part? This vinegar homemade wallpaper remover will also deodorize your home.
It’s a powerful all-purpose cleaner that will act as a natural mold killer as well, especially when combined with other ingredients like baking soda.
2. Fabric Softener
A fabric softener can and will break down wallpaper adhesive and make it easy to remove the wallpaper. Therefore, if you don’t have white vinegar on hand, utilize laundry softener instead.
- Hot water
- Fabric softener
Utilize a scoring tool to make tiny holes in the wall covering. Combine 75% hot water and 25% laundry softener in a spray bottle.
This technique performs better by focusing on tiny spots and slowly working your way across the whole wall. Saturate the wall covering with this mixture and let it soak for a while. Then, utilize a putty knife to remove the wall covering.
3. Fabric Softener and Dish Soap
If you’re looking for a super easy yet super effective wallpaper remover, look no further than this recipe. It’s a powerful mix of fabric softener and dish soap that’s perfect for stubborn wallpapers.
- 3 parts hot water
- 1 tablespoon fabric softener
- 1 part dish soap
Add a small amount of dish soap to the water. Utilize this mix to saturate smaller parts of your wallpaper and start peeling the wallpaper.
If it’s stubborn, mix dish soap, fabric softener, and warm water in a spray bottle. Then, utilizing your mix, saturate the wallpaper glue for easier removal.
You can also utilize this mix as a homemade carpet glue remover. Just apply it to the glue, let it sit for a while, and utilize a plastic scraper to remove stubborn pieces.
4. Dish Detergent
Dish detergent is very useful for removing grease from your dishes. However, did you know that it’s also a very effective homemade wallpaper remover?
Thus, if you have stubborn wallpaper or wallpaper glue, just mix a cup of hot water with a tablespoon of dish detergent. Utilize a sponge to wipe down the walls.
Then, remove the remaining wallpaper glue or stubborn pieces of wallpaper. You can also utilize a putty knife or scraper for extra help and faster removal.
5. Lemon Juice and White Vinegar
The greatest thing about this lemon juice and white vinegar recipe is that it’s easy to clean up. So, aside from the chemicals in other ingredients such as fabric softeners and the price, the cleanup was my third biggest complaint with that homemade wallpaper remover method.
Lemon juice and white vinegar, on the other hand, don’t create a whole mess. And they help you clean! If you wipe the excess off before it’s dry, you won’t have anything to do at all. So, if you want to remove your wallpaper and clean your walls at the same time, this recipe is for you.
However, before you start the process, gather supplies like a spray bottle, a scraper, a wallpaper scraper tool, a putty knife, old debit cards, or a plastic tent stake (not the best tool). Make sure that your room is ready for a makeover (remove all furniture and protect the flooring).
- 2 cups water
- 1/3 cup of lemon juice
- 2 cups white vinegar
As you can notice, there’s a wide selection of wallpaper removal methods and solutions. However, what worked best for me is to take off the top layer of paper first.
It’s the thickest layer and comes off quite easily. What’s left behind is a slim, papery residue that’s stuck to the walls, especially in the places where the adhesive was applied.
It can be picked off by itself. However, it’s time-consuming. When you’re down to a thin layer, just apply the mixture. Begin with a partial wall or a smaller part to determine how fast you will be able to take the paper off. Saturate and let the mixture sit for a couple of minutes.
The mixture will enter the paper and start to dissolve the adhesive. When your wall covering is wet and slimy, get to work and start peeling it off by hand. Or utilize a scraper.
Keep in mind that this solution is acidic. Therefore, too much exposure will leave your hands feeling raw, so it’s better to utilize some kind of tool for the majority of the process.
If your wallpaper is peeling off in small pieces after letting the mixture soak, experiment with peeling the wallpaper immediately after spraying the mixture.
You can either rent a wallpaper steamer or utilize a conventional clothing steamer when everything else fails to work. Steam will break down the wallpaper paste.
However, you will want to slowly move the machine so that the steam has enough time to penetrate the wallpaper one place at a time and ensure successful removal.
Look out for bubbles in the wallpaper because when it bubbles up, the steam is definitely working. Now, grab a putty knife or scraper and peel the wallpaper away.
Learn More on How to Remove Wallpaper With a Wallpaper Steamer.
Homemade vs Commercial Wallpaper Removers
Commercial removers come as gels or solvents. They’re chemically basic or acidic. The active ingredients differ but common ones include acetic acid, enzymes, or sodium hydroxide.
As I already stated, commercial wallpaper removers work the same as homemade ones. The base or acid in the solution acts as a catalyst for hydrolysis (a chemical reaction that breaks down the adhesive).
Acids provide positively charged subatomic particles known as protons whereas bases accept them. The glue is base and acid-sensitive which explains why it responds to basic or acidic wallpaper removers.
Some wallpaper removers have enzymes that catalyze the destruction of glue without getting consumed in the process. Meaning, they speed up the chemical reaction. Enzymes are like locks whereas molecules are keys. Furthermore, enzymes only target molecules for which they’re made.
Pricing Guide on Different Wallpaper Removal Ways.
Pros and Cons of Homemade and Commercial Wallpaper Removers
Just like with everything else in the world, both homemade and commercial products have positive and negative sides. That being said, let’s take a closer look at their main pros and cons.
|Homemade||Non-toxic||Quicker results, especially if you opt for products with enzymes|
|Easy to make|
|No harsh chemicals|
|Easy to utilize|
|Possible flooring damage if not applied properly||Harmful chemicals|
|Strong vinegar odor if you opt for the white vinegar mixtures||Harsh smell|
Soak it All, Then Scrape it Off
Home improvement projects aren’t the most fun thing for a homeowner, especially ripping off stubborn wallpaper. However, the homemade wallpaper removers can help make things easier for you.
Therefore, consider the included recipes and tips on how to create a homemade wallpaper remover and how to remove old wallpaper successfully. They’re all chemical-free, cheap, and easy to utilize.
That being said, do you have any first-hand experience with any of the wallpaper removers mentioned in today’s article? If so, drop a comment below and share your tips and tricks to help other people.
Additionally, if you know someone who is about to start a DIY home improvement project, then please share this article on your social media profiles or pages to make their journey more enjoyable.