The following homemade wallpaper remover can help you save some money and scrape off that ugly wallpaper in no time. They are liquid wallpaper removers that loosen the old paper.
You can easily buy a commercial, chemical based wallpaper remover. But they are all expensive and toxic. In today’s article I will teach you how to make a wallpaper remover with non-toxic ingredients.
These recipes contain common ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, dish soap and more. I also want to teach you how to remove wallpaper with a steam cleaner for walls, so let’s get started.
What is the best homemade wallpaper remover?
Some of the best homemade wallpaper removers include white vinegar, fabric softener, dish soap and dish soap. However, you can also use lemon juice and steam. The recipes below can help you remove the stubborn old wallpaper with great ease, so be sure to take notes!
A detailed guide to removing old wallpaper.
How do homemade wallpaper removers work?
Like commercial wallpaper removers, homemade includes a base or acid that acts 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, and therefore it responds effectively to products that contain a base or acid as an active ingredient.
The wallpaper removers enter the surface layer of the wallpaper and gain access to the back to break down and dissolve the glue. The chemical reaction occurs when either an alkaline / acidic wallpaper remover comes in contact with the glue. It is not nuclear science, but a simple process.
Water is added to the glue in the presence of a base or acid, which allows 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. It does not break because mortar holds all the bricks together.
The remover breaks down “bricks” by dissolving “mortar between the bricks”. If nothing holds all the molecules together, the wall turns into a pile of bricks (individual molecules).
Let us now learn how to remove wallpaper in 6 different natural ways.
6 Non-toxic and effective homemade wallpaper removers
Removing wallpaper is not a fun project. However, you can make things easier and less time consuming by using the right products. Here is a list of 6 non-toxic and effective wallpaper removers.
1. White vinegar
The first recipe contains common components you probably already have in your kitchen. White vinegar is a popular cleanser that has the power to cause wallpaper glue to dissolve quickly.
It has the chemical properties to break down the adhesive, making it perfect equipment for removing wallpaper. Just gather the next ingredients and follow the instructions below.
Use a scoring tool to make small perforations in the wall cladding. If it is already peeling, you can remove the surface layer of paper.
Then combine equal parts water and vinegar in a bucket or spray bottle. Apply or spray the combo box on the walls and let it soak for approx. 15 minutes.
Finally, scrape the wall covering with the equipment you want. When you are done, use 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 is a powerful all-purpose cleaner that will also act as a natural mold killer, especially when combined with other ingredients like baking soda.
2. Rinse aid
A fabric softener can and will break down wallpaper adhesive and make it easy to remove the wallpaper. Therefore, if you do not have white vinegar on hand, use fabric softener instead.
- Hot water
- Rinse aid
Use a scoring tool to make small holes in the wall cladding. Combine 75% warm water and 25% rinse aid in a spray bottle.
This technique works better by focusing on tiny spots and slowly working your way across the wall. Saturate the wall covering with this mixture and let it soak for a while. Then use a spatula to remove the wall covering.
3. Rinse aid and dish soap
If you are looking for a super easy, yet super effective wallpaper remover, look no further than this recipe. It is a powerful blend of fabric softener and dish soap that is perfect for stubborn wallpaper.
- 3 parts hot water
- 1 tablespoon fabric softener
- 1 part dishwashing liquid
Add a small amount of dishwashing detergent to the water. Use this mixture to saturate smaller parts of your wallpaper and start peeling the wallpaper.
If it is stubborn, mix dishwashing liquid, rinse aid and hot water in a spray bottle. Then use your mixture to saturate the wallpaper glue for easier removal.
You can also use this mixture as a homemade carpet glue remover. Just apply it on the glue, let it sit for a while, and use a plastic scraper to remove stubborn pieces.
Dishwashing liquid is very useful for removing fat from your dishes. However, did you know that it is also a very effective homemade wallpaper remover?
So if you have stubborn wallpaper or wallpaper glue, just mix a cup of warm water with a tablespoon of dish soap. Use a sponge to wipe the walls off.
Then remove the remaining wallpaper glue or stubborn pieces of wallpaper. You can also use a spatula or scraper for extra help and faster removal.
5. Lemon juice and white vinegar
The great thing about this recipe for lemon juice and white vinegar is that it is easy to clean up. So apart from the chemicals in other ingredients, such as fabric softener and the price, the cleanup was my third biggest complaint about the homemade wallpaper remover method.
Lemon juice and white vinegar, on the other hand, do not create a whole mess. And they help you clean! If you wipe off excess before it dries, you have nothing 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.
Before starting the process, however, assemble supplies such as a spray bottle, a scraper, a wallpaper scraper tool, a spatula, old debit cards, or a plastic tent pole (not the best tool). Make sure your room is ready for a makeover (remove all furniture and protect the floor).
- 2 cups water
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 2 cups white vinegar
As you may notice, there is a wide variety of methods for removing wallpaper and solutions. What worked best for me, however, is to first take off the top layer of paper.
It is the thickest layer and comes off quite easily. What is left is a slender, paper-like residue that sticks to the walls, especially the places where the adhesive was applied.
It can be picked by itself. However, it is time consuming. When you are down on a thin layer, just apply the mixture. Start with a partial wall or a smaller section to determine how quickly you will be able to remove the paper. Saturate and let the mixture sit for a few minutes.
The mixture enters the paper and begins to dissolve the adhesive. Once your wall covering is wet and slimy, get to work and start peeling it off by hand. Or use a scraper.
Remember that this solution is acidic. Therefore, too much exposure will leave your hands raw, so it is better to use some kind of tool for the majority of the process.
If your wallpaper peels into small pieces after letting the mixture soak, you can experiment with peeling the wallpaper immediately after spraying the mixture.
You can either rent a wallpaper steamer or use a conventional clothes steamer when everything else does not work. Steam breaks down the wallpaper paste.
However, you will slowly move the machine so that the steam has enough time to penetrate the wallpaper one place at a time and ensure a successful removal.
Keep an eye out for bubbles in the wallpaper, because when it bubbles up, the steam definitely works. Now take a spatula or scraper and peel off the wallpaper.
Learn more about how to remove wallpaper with a wallpaper steamer.
Homemade vs commercial wallpaper removers
Commercial removers come as gels or solvents. They are chemically basic or acidic. The active ingredients are different but common include acetic acid, enzymes or sodium hydroxide.
As I have already said, 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 degrades the adhesive).
Acids supply positively charged subatomic particles known as protons, while bases accept them. The adhesive is base and acid sensitive, which explains why it reacts to alkaline or acidic wallpaper removers.
Some wallpaper removers have enzymes that catalyze the destruction of glue without being consumed in the process. This means that they speed up the chemical reaction. Enzymes are like locks, while molecules are keys. In addition, enzymes only target molecules for which they are made.
Price guide on different ways to remove wallpaper.
Advantages and disadvantages of homemade and commercial wallpaper removers
As with everything else in the world, both homemade and commercial products have positive and negative sides. That said, let’s take a closer look at their main pros and cons.
Soak it all, then scrape it off
Home improvement projects are not the most fun for a homeowner, especially to stubbornly tear wallpaper off. 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 successfully remove old wallpaper. They are all chemical free, cheap and easy to use.
That said, do you have any first hand experience with any of the wallpaper removers mentioned in today’s article? If so, leave a comment below and share your tips and tricks to help other people.
If you know someone who is starting a DIY home improvement project, you can share this article on your social media profiles or pages to make their journey more enjoyable.