How hard is it to steam off wallpaper?

old wallpaper

It’s simple to steam off wallpaper. You’ll need a handheld wallpaper steamer. They’re as easy to operate as an iron. Hold the steamer wand on top of the paper for ten to thirty seconds, and the paper will lift off the wall easily in large sections.

Removing wallpaper from an entire room can feel like an enormous job, but once you get started, it’s strangely satisfying…kind of like tearing off a hangnail. It can be therapeutic.

The strips of paper peel off like a pat of butter sliding off a pancake, as long as you patiently hold the steamer onto the paper long enough for it to soften the wallpaper glue and make it easy to lift the paper with a putty knife or five in one tool.

Supplies List

Chemical Free Wallpaper Removal

There’s a few methods to take wallpaper off without using harsh chemicals.

  • Spraying the paper with a water and vinegar solution
  • Painting the paper with soap and warm water
  • Wallpaper steamer

Wallpaper Steamer vs. Soapy Water Method

The steamer is definitely faster and less sloshy. You don’t have to worry as much about dripping into your electrical outlets or getting your floors wet. The wallpaper steamer does get pretty hot. Definitely wear shoes. A few drips from the steamer can roll down and really hurt your feet.

How to Use a Wallpaper Steamer

Here’s the video I made about using a basic wallpaper steamer. If you like reading better, I’ve written it all out for you just below the video.

How Hard Is It to Steam Off Wallpaper?

Hi, it’s Kathleen from and today I’m going to show you my wallpaper steamer.

About a year ago, I was stripping wallpaper in this very room using a manual method of hot soapy water and I actually made a video about it. It does work. It’s a cool method. I don’t like gadgets. I’m intimidated by gadgets, even small electrics. I don’t – but my husband picked one of these up used and so I was like, “gotta try it!”

Wallpaper Steamer – Fast and Easy

It’s awesome. It’s much quicker than the manual method, as lovely as that is, and as necessary as it is sometimes. And if you want instructions on how to do that, please check out that video that I made with my son.

How to get it fired up and ready to work

But today I wanted to show you this handheld little steamer and how it works. It’s all ready to go. It’s been heating up. You plug it in until it heats up and starts steaming, and then you just get to work. So I’m going to show you how that works and what that looks like today.

I’m filling up my steam bucket for the wallpaper steamer here in my bathtub.

I filled up the tank with water and then this part just gets screwed back on here. I’ve got the water thing that connects to my paddle plugged in and then just turn around here on the back and the electric gets plugged in right there.

Steam Off Wallpaper Steps

The first step is to score the paper with a wallpaper scoring tool.

So just take a section, maybe two feet by two feet, and then just go ahead and rip your paper. It puts small holes in the wallpaper. That’s going to help the steam get behind it and the glue to release.

Okay, after you’ve got your paper good and scored, it’s time to take the steamer handle. It just kind of looks like an iron. You just set it down on the wall. In sections, for about 10 seconds at a time.

Give this steam a chance to get underneath the paper and start lifting and weakening the glue.

Okay, and then that has weakened the paper, and I’m gonna take my five-in-one tool, which is my favorite thing to scrape paper with, although you can use any kind of paint scraper,

And I’m just going to start lifting the paper off of this old plaster, and you can see it’s coming up just like butter.

If you’re interested in no-gadget way to get old wallpaper off, check out my post, How To Strip Wallpaper With Three Simple Tools.

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