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How to Use a Wallpaper Stripper

woman using a wall paper stripper to remove wallpaper

If you’re one of those people who still swear-by using an old-fashioned scraper to remove your wallpaper, then we’ve got some news for you. It’s finally time to hang up that antique and take down the wallpaper in double-quick time using a wallpaper stripper. Life has moved on and these wondrous machines are the ‘new normal’ we’ve all heard so much about. 

Let’s explore the benefits of a wallpaper stripper and why you should hire a wallpaper stripper for the job:

For those of you who have been bitten by the redecorating bug, or are looking at that tired old wallpaper on your walls and want to refresh your home ready for the post-lockdown world, then removing it is going to be the first job on the to-do list. Before you reach for the scraper out of force of habit, we wanted to talk about the benefits of using a wallpaper stripper instead. So let’s do just that!

The Benefits of a Wallpaper Stripper

Whilst a wallpaper scraper may seem simpler, deceptively, it’s not. Sure it works straight out of the packaging, but it’s more time-consuming when it comes to the job at hand. If you’ve got a whole room to clear, then scoring all the wallpaper, soaking all the walls to loosen the paste and finally getting around to scraping the walls takes much longer than you think it does. A wallpaper stripper combines all of those steps in one hot, steamy package.

For those of you who are unclear, a wallpaper steamer, usually hired in most cases, consists of a tank for water with a hose that attaches to a hot plate. When plugged in, elements heat the water, which ultimately generates steam. The steam then flows through the hose onto the plate which, when held against the wall, dampens the wallpaper making it easier to remove in large chunks. Think of it as a large kettle, but instead of the steam disappearing into the air, it’s channelled into the hot, flat plate which disperses the steam across the wallpaper’s surface.

Technically, this is a chemical process called ‘hydrolysis’. In other words, the wallpaper paste (which is a compound) is broken-down through a reaction with water. The steam is the ideal catalyst for this, which is why a wallpaper stripper is so useful.

Once the wallpaper stripper is up to speed (or heat in this case), the progress you can make is really fast. As you’re heating one section, you can be stripping another area of the wallpaper. This, coupled with the large plate, means you can move at quite a pace. Once you get into a rhythm, you’ll be removing large areas of wallpaper quickly.

When to Use a Wallpaper Stripper

While it’s clear how much easier and faster a wallpaper stripper can be, there are some caveats based on the type of wallpaper you’re going to be removing. While there are about 10 different types of paper, including flock, vinyl, wood-chip, etc, each of them all breakdown into 2 basic categories; whether it’s porous or non-porous.

When using a wallpaper stripper, to maximise its effectiveness, you need to understand whether what you’re removing is porous or not. In other words, will the steam penetrate the paper and soften the paste so it can be removed. Porous wallpaper, like lining paper, can be removed quickly.

Non-porous paper-like washable wallpaper, standard/vinyl-coated paper or pulp paper doesn’t let the steam through so easily. This means you’ll need to score or perforate the paper beforehand to allow the steam through. Don’t go too deep though or you might damage the surface of the wall underneath.


Thank you for reading this month’s blog. To find out more about hiring a wallpaper stripper, get in touch with our team today. Give us a call on 020 8427 6604 or please feel free to fill in the enquiry form on our contact page today.