A letter in my inbox this week sent me into hyper memory mode. For a few minutes I re-lived that day, back when wallpaper was all the rage; when I decided to paper our dining room in a lovely orange and yellow floral stripe. I know. But it was right in vogue at the time.
Anyway, it took me all of one Saturday to get the job done, but I did it and it looked fantastic. The next morning I rushed in to admire my handiwork only to find every lovely floral square inch of paper on the floor.
I raced to the home improvement store to get the strongest, heavy-dutiest, waterproof, wallpaper paste I could find. This was not going to get the better of me. I was determined to make that paper stick both now and for all eternity. While I had no intention of ever removing it, I do feel bad for the people who bought the place. Orange and yellow floral stripes are not exactly a timeless decorator look.
Dear Mary: Is there any easy and quick way to remove wallpaper and the paste from bathroom walls? Mickey
Dear Mickey: The answer to your question depends on how the wallpaper was applied. If it was pre-pasted paper, it should come off quite easily. However, I’m going to guess that since this is a bathroom and a bathroom can get hot and humid, your wallpaper was applied with heavy-duty paste, which could present a big challenge.
Perform a test using a strong solution of white vinegar and water (say, 2 cups of vinegar to a quart of hot water) in a spray bottle. Spray this on a small section of wallpaper and really saturate it well. This will soften most pastes so you can easily scrape the paper and backing from the wall. Work in small areas, removing the paper and paste completely, then moving on to another small area. But again it depends on the type of glue that was used and how old the wallpaper is.
If a strong vinegar solution doesn’t work or you find it just too tedious, a wallpaper steamer like this Wagner 1-Gallon Wallpaper Steamer may do the trick. If this is a one-off kind of job and you don’t see any point in owning a wallpaper steamer, you should be able to rent a steamer from a tool rental company in your area.
If you want to get this job done quickly with minimal mess, I’d spend a few bucks for a product called DIF Wallpaper Stripper by Zinsser. DIF comes as a concentrated liquid, a gel and also a fast-acting spray. You can find DIF at stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s and online.