Goodbye, Toile! Hello, Wall! {easiest ever wallpaper removal tips}

The time had come to say farewell to the foyer wallpaper, in our last house.

But the foyer walls were 9 FEET tall.
I recall getting the paper up there that high, and I've experienced that hanging wallpaper
is much easier than removing it.
However, we were staging our house to sell it and it had to go. Pronto.

I dreaded the project and tried to delay it as long as possible.
Then, after I explained the dilemma to my mom,
 she showed up with a bucket, vinegar, a sponge, and...A MOP!
A MOP?!?!?!

My mom, Suzanne, has been a DIYer, painter, handy-woman since before
the "word" DIY was invented, so I figured she had some ideas and experience
on how to remedy the problem.
She'd also had her own wallpapering business awhile back.

I nodded in polite yet insincere agreement, when she explained
how mopping the walls with hot vinegar water was the quickest way
to remove the especially thick, especially well-adhered covering.
But, I trusted her, so we began.

We didn't use this
(which leaves millions of little pock marks in your wall
that you'll have to fill with spackling and then sand smooth
if you press too hard--don't remind me of why I know this).

Or this (I always wonder what fumes I'd be breathing while working).

Or even this
(you can seriously gouge your wall when it's soft from being wetted).

We simply used these.

  1. Pour 1 cup of vinegar in the bucket, fill bucket 1/2 way with the hottest water that comes from your tap.
  2. Insert mop head, wring mop, then mop directly over wallpaper. Find the seam edges, and wetting one strip at a time, work in one direction around the room. (We worked together: mom would mop the next few strips while I peeled paper and wiped the walls clean.)
  3. You may have have to dampen the hand sponge to get the edges of the wallpaper along the ceilings, doorways, or molding, if the mop isn't reaching them well.
  4. Repeat this every few minutes for 15 minutes or so, lifting up the seam to check to see if the paper is ready to let go. The backing/glue should be gray or "clear" looking and very pliable.
  5. Start peeling from the top down.
  6. Use a large hand sponge to to wipe off the remaining tid bits of paper clinging to the wall.
  7. If the paper is still stuck, repeat steps 2. through 5.
  8. As the water gets cloudy, replace it with fresh vinegar and water.
  9. Wash all the walls with fresh, cool water. Let the walls dry at least 24 hours before attempting to paint them.

It's as simple as that!
And as chemical-free as that.

The whole foyer took us 1 1/2 hours.
THAT was a miracle. And to think that I'd dreaded it for months!

Here's the transformation from red and white toile to ready-for-showings wall.

Random decorating-for-Christmas picture of the rest of the foyer.

Hey, look at me! I'm MOPPING the wall!

See the light fixture above my head?
More about that below.

The original light fixture got replaced
with a $7 yard sale brass fixture that got spray painted in Oil-Rubbed Bronze.
I also painted directly over the yellowed doorbell cover so it would blend with the wall.
We mopped the floors well with Murphy's Oil Soap and water and had the carpets cleaned.

And here are the MLS pictures.

To read the post about all the paint colors used for staging our home,
click HERE.

And see another staged home's room transformed from drab to darling
by using this wallpaper removal technique HERE.

If you've been dreading taking down wallpaper,
dread it no longer!

Go... attack it!
It won't take as long as you think it will.
Change your space into something you love and enjoy!

{P.S. If you are in the Upstate of South Carolina and are thinking about selling your home,
I HIGHLY recommend the Realtor we used.
Our home sold in 9 days with multiple offers and above asking price.
Call The Haro Group immediately!}


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  1. Awesome tip!! I, too, know the pain that using that scoring tool and what it does to the wall...ugh!! Pinning!! Thanks so much!!

  2. You've shared some great tips here. I only have one border in my home, but it needs to be removed.....if I can get up the nerve to paint the room (myself). We'll see! :-)

  3. You have some great tips here! My husband and I are planning to move with in the year..( NY'ers going south)'. So I'm going to give your 31 days a try. I'm hoping your colors will work for me too!! Love them!!!

  4. What type of wallpaper were you removing? Vinyl?

    I tried your method on some vinyl wallpaper. It did not work. Previously, I had been spraying the wallpaper with a mixture of hot water/fabric softener. The hot water/vinegar mixture did work better than that, but I sure have not been able to pull down full sheets (or anything other than small bits) of paper.

    Any suggestions for me as to what I might be doing wrong?

    1. Hi Riley... yes, this was vinyl wallpaper. I think you must have to let the vinegar water soak the paper longer...? I wonder how old your paper is? Maybe your is the type of paper that needs the outer layer of vinyl peeled off first? Strange. This method has never not worked, LOL! ;)

  5. This is a great tutorial. We never put up any wallpaper in this house, and anything I do now is geared to that retirement sale and move. I do have wood paneling in the basement family room that probably needs to be removed or painted and that's just killing me. It's real wood...

    1. Hi Jennie!
      Just paint the paneling cream or white. If the real wood is dark and dates the house, and you are leaving anyway, paint it.
      We've got 60+ year old wainscoting and paneling in our bungalow.
      I'll be painting it so I can live with it :)

  6. Hi Leslie! I hope you don't mind but I'm stuck.... I saw your advice for colors which is neutrals. And I looked up bathrooms. Now You mentioned using what you have for staging. My question is for bathrooms and linen closets... Can I use some of my colored towels or do you recommend white? And what is the IN as far a painting molding? I have some wood and some white.

    And one more question... about my kitchen, I have wood cabinets which I painted mahogany 3 yrs ago. We're going to paint them again but this time I want them to appeal to the buyer what do you suggest? Thanks.

  7. must remember that tip...thanks xx

  8. I have a room in which even this method will not work. The PO's built an addition. They wallpapered without sizing the walls. Now we'll have to rip all the drywall off and start over. So like you, I'm dreading it. I know because I attempted to remove the paper once before. Instead it was removing the paper along with layers of drywall.

  9. Wow---but how did you get the vinegar smell out of the house---that must be a bit potent ???? When I moved to our condo I hired a guy to remove the wall paper. However I still have one bathroom that I may need to remove the wallpaper on at some point. ...for now I have left it alone!

  10. This is awesome info!! Any updates on your ebook?? Would love to clean my dishwasher using your recommendations!! Blessings!!

  11. You have inspired me! I was terrified of the wall paper we need to remove in the house we bought. I've put it off long enough.............I hope we can do a good job like yall did !! THANK YOU FOR THE TIPS

  12. Just finished removing our wallpaper in our new home and your tips worked wonders!! We had never done anything like this and it went a lot better than I expected (pulling down all full sheets of wallpaper!). We still need to perfect our technique but if the next room goes even half as good as the first I will be happy. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I love your project. My mom is the same. She is a handy-woman. She repairs and recovers everything.Thank you for sharing your story. Greetings!

  14. I've removed a lot of wallpaper and the easiest way is with a steamer!!!!


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