LESLIE: Maria in Iowa needs some help with a wallpaper project. Tell us about it.
MARIA: Well, we’ve been in this house for about 3 years and the wallpaper has been up probably a total of 10 if not maybe more in the kitchen, in the bathroom and it’s on plaster walls.
MARIA: So how would I remove that?
LESLIE: Hmm. And …
MARIA: They’re in the plaster.
TOM: Yeah. Well, what you’re going to want to do is you’re going to have to score it, first of all. And there’s a tool called a PaperTiger that does that. You run it over the wall; put some very small holes in it. Then on top of that, you can use a wallpaper remover or you could use fabric softener. Fabric softener …
LESLIE: Fabric softener is surprisingly effective.
TOM: At breaking down the glues.
MARIA: Really? You use it full-strength or mixed with water?
LESLIE: The full-strength fabric softener. You sort of roll it on the wall with a paint roller and then you let it sit. I’m not sure for how long but you want to let it sit there and kind of saturate the wall. And that’s why the scoring is so important, because if it’s a vinyl wallpaper, it needs to get underneath that vinyl and get to the adhesive. And even if it’s paper, it’ll sort of just loosen up what’s there and then get to the adhesive. And then you’d be surprised at how easily it peels off the wall.
TOM: And the best part is your room smells lemony-fresh when you’re done.
MARIA: That’s great.
TOM: Maria, if you still have a problem getting it off, the final step is to rent a wallpaper steamer, which is a hand tool that’s got a plate on it that’s like, I don’t know, about 12×18. And you hold it up against the wall and it shoots high-temperature steam in there and that will also loosen the paper.
Look, there’s nothing easy about removing wallpaper; it’s a lot of work. Certainly a lot easier to put on than it is to take off but it’s worth it if you want to change the look of your room.
MARIA: Yes. Well thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Maria. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.