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How to remove wallpaper using items you already have at home

Ready to replace your wallpaper? Here's how to remove it and start from scratch.

by Alesandra Dubin / / Source: TODAY
Friends beginning to remove wallpaper
If you're looking for a new look, here's how to get back to blank walls (without ruining them).Getty Images stock

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The project of removing old wallpaper is a daunting one — but it's something you can totally tackle on your own. Here's how.

Prepare the room

Before you get started, set up your work space. That includes covering the area with drop cloths and removing all the switch plates and outlet covers from the walls. Then make sure you cut the power to the room. One idea is to bring in a halogen work lamp and a long extension cord if you'll be working in the evening. Next, use a wallpaper scorer to make holes in the paper that will allow your solution of choice to soak in.

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Remove wallpaper with vinegar

There's an all-natural, chemical-free and inexpensive way to remove wallpaper — and it makes use of ingredients you already have at home: You can mix equal parts vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle, according to Cecil Snider, a paint and wallpaper expert of Cecil Snider Painting Company in Shreveport, Louisiana. Apply the mixture to your wallpaper and and allow it to sit and soak for 15 minutes. The acetic acid in the vinegar should work as a solvent to dissolve the paste.

Remove wallpaper with fabric softener

Another approach that uses an ingredient you already have at home is the fabric softener method, and it's pretty much what it sounds like. Mix the softener with equal parts warm water and distribute it on the walls using a sponge, spray bottle or paint roller. Let it sit for 20 minutes before scraping, Snider confirmed to TODAY Home.

Remove wallpaper with a putty knife and finish the project

No matter whether you use a commercially available wallpaper-removal solution or something you have at home, remove the paper by starting at a bottom corner and pulling a piece upward. Aid the process by using a wide putty knife until it's all gone.

"Sometimes it will just peel off like a banana, and other times you will have to scrape it off the wall more forcefully," said Snider, noting that too much scraping could damage the sheet rock beneath the paper.

To finish, mix a tablespoon of dish detergent with hot water in a bucket, and scrub the walls with a sponge to clean them. Rinse with water and a dry towel … and you're done!

Hang new wallpaper over the existing wallpaper

You can even hang new wallpaper over the old wall covering. First apply a layer of oil-based primer, such as Kilz Original, with a paint roller over the existing paper. Skim float (or lightly cover) the seams of the old wallpaper with a thin coat of sheet rock in order to conceal the lines. Then just apply the new wallpaper directly on top.

"We're doing this more and more lately in homes to avoid tearing up the existing sheet rock," Snider said. However, he does warn that this technique works best if the existing wallpaper is laid tightly, and not peeling away at the corners.

This story originally appeared on Oct. 14, 2016.

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