Tuesday, May 6, 2014

House Project: Removing Wall Paper without Chemicals

I'm not a big fan of chemicals and because of this we make *almost* all of our own cleaners.  I only say almost because I make cleaners as we use up the ones we had previously bought.  And some of those can last a loooooooong time.  We initially started this to save money but the more I did my research and the more we talked about starting a family, I really liked the idea of being chemical free.  In my eyes - if it saves money AND it is better for you, than why not do it??  Sure, it isn't always convenient.  Yeah, it takes a little bit more time.  But for us, it is worth it.  I'm hoping to share some of my favorite home made cleaners with you in the near future! 

The first room we decided to tackle (after a little bit of *ahem* discussion) when we moved in to our home was the larger bathroom.

Here is a before shot:

 Wall border and carpet had to go.  Taking out the carpet will be in another post.  This post is all about the wall paper.  :)  Speaking of, we also ended up having to redo our small bathroom at the same time (discovered a leak) where there was also wall paper:

So, trying to be as chemical free as we can, and with us trying to have a baby - I really did not want to use a chemical-ridden wall paper remover.  So I turned to the internet.  I came across a blog post with a recipe that I have since lost (thought I pinned it, even checked my browser history...no where to be found - sorry I can't give credit where credit is due).  And I just knew we had to give her recipe a try.  And I'm SO glad we did because it turns out the couple days spent removing wall paper would have been part of my first few weeks of pregnancy.  :)

Here is the recipe:

1/2 cup of Vinegar
3 cups of Hot Water

After a little bit of trial and error, we found this to be the best process:

1. Score the paper/border with a knife or paint scraper
2. Spray down a small area with the vinegar solution
3. Let it soak for a couple of minutes (but don't let it dry)
4. Spray a little more
5. Scrape away!

Look at Hubby hard at work!  :)

But the real question is, how did it work?  

For the large bathroom, the border was water resistant.  This presented a little bit of difficulty.  The areas that were sprayed and resprayed and sprayed again because we were trying to keep everything moist, came off rather easily.  Unfortunately for us, it also pulled off about 4 layers of textured paint (which led to DIY task 2 - mudding and retexturing...all Hubby).  Look at all of the pretty colors:

 So, that being said, I'm not sure it was any easier with our homemade solution than without it.  And a chemical remover might have actually made it easier.  For this job, I give our home recipe a D.

HOWEVER, the smaller bathroom is a MUCH different story!  The wall paper border in that room was not water resistant.  And the vinegar solution was amazing!  It almost wiped right off!  Check out the mess my mom and I made:

 I honestly think it worked just as well as any store-bought remover would have.

So, for regular old wall paper, I give this home recipe an A+!

And just for fun, here is a pic of the large bathroom wall sans wall paper but before any other improvements.  Pretty isn't it?  ;)

I have taken pictures for almost every step of our remodel.  So stay tuned for more!  And once we actually finish this large bathroom, even though we've slowly been at it for 4 months, I will post a final before and after.  I think you will love it! 


  1. What a helpful guide! I am very sensitive to chemical smells so this is a great read for me.

    1. Thankfully we don't have any wallpaper left to deal with. But my parents are looking for a place and if we have to remove wallpaper - this will be our method. So sick of toxic chemicals in everything we use. :P


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