How to Easily Remove Wallpaper with a Clothes Steamer

Can you use a clothes steamer to remove wallpaper? This may sound completely crazy, but you absolutely can! It provides steam with enough volume and temperature to do a great job of removing wallpaper.

If that’s all you have lying around, let’s show you how it’s done! A clothes steamer emits hot steam that softens the wallpaper adhesive, making it easier to peel off. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of removing wallpaper with a clothes steamer to achieve a smooth and clean surface for your next home improvement project.

Always remember that using a clothes steamer on wallpaper is not it’s intended use. Industrial steamers and chemicals are available for this task. That being said… clothes steamers work surpisingly well!

If you have the choice, use a stand-up clothes steamer since it usualy provides more steam and power.

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Tools

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So get all your tools ready before you start steaming. Scrapers, step-ladders,  plastic sheets on the ground and a bucket to through in the peeled wallpaper if you’d like. You might also want to include a spray bottle of water for extra moisture.

Step 2: Prepare the Space

Empty out the room and working area to avoid tripping or slipping. Also consider switching off the electricity to the room since you’ll be working with liquids near power points.

Step 3: Test a Small Area

Before steaming the entire wall, it’s crucial to test a small area first. Choose an inconspicuous spot, and using the clothes steamer, apply steam to the wallpaper for about 30 seconds. This step helps you determine how long it takes for the steam to penetrate the wallpaper and how easily it peels off.

Step 4: Fill the Clothes Steamer

Fill the clothes steamer with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Plug it in and allow it to heat up fully. This typically takes a few minutes.

Step 5: Start Steaming

Once the clothes steamer is heated, begin steaming the wallpaper from the top of the wall and work your way down. Hold the steamer against the wallpaper for about 20-30 seconds to allow the steam to penetrate the adhesive.

Step 6: Scrape the Wallpaper

As you steam each section, the wallpaper adhesive will start to loosen. Take your scraper or putty knife and gently slide it under the softened wallpaper, starting from the bottom of the section you steamed. Carefully lift the wallpaper, and it should come off relatively easily. If it resists, steam the area again for a few more seconds.

Step 7: Don’t rush the Process

Even with the right tools, it can take longer than expected. The steam and moisture has to penetrate the paper as well as the adhesive before it can take an effect. Try to be mothodical and remove the wallpaper in sections as opposed to attempting the entire wall in one fell swoop.

Rushing will leave the sticky leftover residue of the wallpaper adhesive on the wall, so working in sections will avoid having to go back and redo the entire wall.

Step 8: Use the Spray Bottle

In cases where the wallpaper is stubborn or if there are multiple layers, you can use the spray bottle to apply some water on the wallpaper before steaming. This extra moisture will help the steam penetrate the layers better and speed up the removal process.

Step 9: Dispose of the Wallpaper

As you remove sections of wallpaper, place them in a trash bag or container for easy disposal. Keep your work area tidy to avoid any tripping hazards.

Step 10: Cleaning Up the Mess

When you’re done. There will be loads off wet, sticky, gluey sheets of wallpaper trampled all over the floor. This can feel like a huge mess, no matter how neat you intent to keep it. Simply work your way from one side to the other and clean the area. The most important thing is that you clean the walls adequately. Otherwise there will be glue left on the walls. More steaming or a warm wet sponge with some chemicals will help in the process.