Guest Bath Update: Removing Wall Paper

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This post is long overdue.  One of the first things we accomplished after moving into our new house was to update the guest bathroom.  Being that Alex uses this as his bathroom (yes we have separate bathrooms and it is fabulous), I wanted to find a soothing look to match his style and work for guests.  First things first, in order to paint we had to remove the wall paper.  Here are a couple before pictures, of the sink area with medicine cabinet…

Guest Bath Vanity Before

The toilet cubby….

Guest Bath Toliet Before

And another angle from the door.

Guest Bath Room Before

We decided to use the same method of using fabric softener mixed with water to remove wallpaper in this room.  Step one in this method is to remove the top layer of the wall paper.

How to remove wall paper with fabric softener

Once the top layer is all removed, we started the harder part of spraying with our water & fabric softener mixture and peeling the glued on under layer off the walls.

Guest Bathroom Makeover in Progress

Finally, the blank walls came shiny through, with one little problem…

Wall paper free walls using fabric softener

It appears that the wall paper was in place before the crown moulding and wainscoting were installed.

Stubborn wall paper

Those pesky wall paper remnants were not going down without a fight.

Stubborn wall paper to remove

So on to the most tedious step, using a box cutter to slowly work my way around the room and cut out those last scraps of wall paper.  Many hand cramps and a stiff neck later, the wall paper will finally say goodbye.

Using a razor blade to remove edges of wall paper stuck under trim


Removing Wall Paper Using Fabric Softener

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If you have done any research on ways to remove wall paper using common household items, I’m sure you have seen people talking about using fabric softener.  I feel like I kept seeing it everywhere, so when we moved in and wanted to remove the wall paper accent piece over the fireplace we decided to try it out.  I really liked the idea of not having to use a harsh chemical to strip the wall paper, so I had my fingers crossed that this would work out.

Removing wall paper with fabric softener and water

So, how did it work?  Not bad at all.  After a little trial and error I found that mixing 1 part fabric softener to 4 parts warm water was the right ratio.  I started with a 50/50 ratio at first, and while it worked, it left a lot more fabric softener on the wall that was hard to fully wash off to start painting.

Remove wall paper with fabric softener and water

The one trick I discovered was that the fabric softener mixture was not penetrating the top layer of the wall paper.  So I quickly started pulling up the edges and with the top layer removed, the mixture could soak into the under layer and loosen the adhesive.

Removing wall paper

It was quite time consuming, but overall I was pretty happy with how fabric softener worked in removing the wall paper.

How to remove wall paper with fabric softener

As I worked my way along removing the top layer, I would spritz down the under layer and use my hand to rub it in.  Then just simply wait a minute or to for it to penetrate and the paper rolls off easily.

How to remove wall paper using fabric softener

The wall behind it left in perfect condition and smells great :)

Removing wall paper using fabric softener

I sped up towards the end by working larger areas, so that by the time I was done spraying the whole thing, the area I started with was ready to peel.

Remove wall paper using fabric softener

There you have it!  Fabric softener mixed with water is a great way to remove wall paper.  Now on to the wallpaper backsplash in the kitchen and the wallpapered guest bathroom!

Remove wall paper