Skip to Content

Do Fabric Softener And Vinegar Remove Wallpaper Easily? [And How To]

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Looking for an easy way to remove wallpaper? You may have heard that using fabric softener and vinegar can do the trick. But if you're not sure if they really work or how to use them, keep reading. We did research on the topic and have information to share.

You can easily remove wallpaper by using fabric softener and vinegar. Combine 1/4 cup fabric softener with 3/4 cup hot water, and equal parts white vinegar and hot water. 

The vinegar and fabric softener break down the materials of the wallpaper adhesive, making it a quick fix for removing them from your walls. In addition, the steam of the hot water helps loosen the glue, making it easier to peel. 

Removing wallpaper may seem as easy as tearing open your wrapped presents unless you have a big room to tackle. Stay with us as we guide you through steps that can make the process easier and more effective, and see if it's applicable to the wallpaper you currently have. 

master-removes-old-wallpaper-wall-repair, Do Fabric Softener & Vinegar Remove Wallpaper Easily [& How To]?

How To Easily Remove Wallpaper

Taking off wallpaper can be intimidating. We are here to help you do it the right way quickly. To start, you will need tools and materials that are mostly available around the house.

white-vinegar-on-wooden-table-top

Gathering Your Materials

Here are some things you will need for this task:

  • 5-inch putty knife
  • Scoring tool
  • Old rag/garden sprayer/pump sprayer/foam roller (whichever is available around the house)
  • Hot water
  • White vinegar
  • Fabric softener
  • Scraping tool
  • Painter's tape and plastic sheet
  • Trash bin

Preparing The Room

This step is crucial so you will have a smooth workflow while working on this task. Begin by placing plastic sheeting on the floor and securing it with painter's tape.

For walls with outlets, consider turning off the breakers to prevent electric shocks while the removal process takes place. Secure them with painter's tape afterward so no water can get in once you spray the area.

Prepping The Wallpaper

You can perform the steps below to make your job easier in the long run.

Prying Off The Wallpaper

handyman-putting-wallpaper-on-wall

Pry the wallpaper off  using a putty knife on the edges. After this, you can try peeling it slowly.

Scoring The Wallpaper

Score the surface lightly with a scoring tool to help the mixture penetrate the wallpaper faster.

You can get this wallpaper-scoring tool on Amazon.

Pre-Removal Procedure

After you have done the prepping stage, you can get ready for the removal process by doing these steps:

Preparing The Mixture

Fill your bucket or water sprayer with hot water, vinegar, or fabric softener. Hot water helps the adhesive backing reactivate and makes the wallpaper come off quickly.

Creating The Mixture

Here is the ratio that works best for removing wallpaper: Mix 1/4 cup fabric softener to 3/4 cup hot water and 1/2 cup vinegar to 1/2 cup hot water.

Applying The Mixture

Apply the mixture to the area and through the slits by wetting it thoroughly using the rag or sprayer to ensure it fully penetrates the wallpaper.

Waiting Time

Soak the wallpaper for 10-15 minutes to ensure it gets all soaked up with the mixture.

Removal Process

Scrape off the wallpaper using a scraping tool or putty knife. For areas that are not peeling off, you can respray them.

Click here for this wallpaper scraping tool on Amazon.

Watch this video on quickly removing the wallpaper from your walls if you want to do it the fun way!

Best Fabric Softener To Remove Wallpaper

There is no specific brand of fabric softener that works best for wallpaper removal. Any cheap brand of fabric softener will do as long a you will follow the suggested ratio with hot water, which is the essential ingredient.

What Kind Of Vinegar Removes Wallpaper?

Using any brand of distilled white vinegar works. It has the desired acetic acid component that can easily break down the glue from the wallpaper.

What Can I Use Instead Of A Wallpaper Scraper?

You can opt to use or rent a wallpaper steamer. It can be helpful to loosen the glue more when the scraper doesn't do the trick. If it doesn't work, you can use a specially formulated wallpaper stripper.

Check out this wallpaper stripper from Amazon.

How Do I Remove Wallpaper Without A Scoring Tool?

fabric-softener-washing-machine-pour-hand

If there is no available scoring tool at hand, you can use a fork and run it across the wallpaper, making sure it pokes holes in the paper so it can help penetrate the mixture into the adhesive.

How Do You Get Stubborn Wallpaper Off The Wall?

As your last resort for hard-to-remove spots, you can go for a wallpaper steamer. It can easily remove the adhesive by loosening the glue, helping you remove the wallpaper easily without any chemicals.

What Should You Do After Removing Wallpaper?

Make sure to follow these steps, as they will help you prepare for new wallpaper or painting your walls afterward.

  • Cleaning the wall: Wipe the walls with detergent and warm water using a sponge or rag to remove the remaining glue from the wallpaper.

  • Drying time: Completely let the wall dry for one to two days, as this will help the sandpaper do its job for sanding.

  • Sanding the wall: Sand the wall after it dries to ensure you don't leave any glue residue. Follow this with a damp towel to prepare a clean wall for painting.

The Drawbacks

These fabric softener and vinegar mixtures only apply to peelable types of wallpaper. Find out which types you have in your home by reading through the next section.

Types Of Wallpaper Material

Here is a list of materials that are commonly used as wallpaper:

Fabric

Fabric wallpaper is made from natural fibers like linen, cotton, or wool. It is made from natural fibers, making it environmentally friendly and biodegradable. This type is highly durable and easy to clean.

Vinyl

A durable and low-maintenance wall covering that is made from PVC, it is best used for high-traffic areas like bathrooms and kitchens with its durability and ease of cleaning. Vinyl wallpaper, however, can also be expensive and is not always easy to remove.

Paper

Paper wallpaper is available in various colors and styles and is relatively easy to install. In addition, it is often less expensive than other types, making it an excellent option for those on a budget.

Paper is not as durable as vinyl or fabric wallpaper, though, and it can be more challenging to remove.

Types of Wallpaper Adhesive 

Knowing the different types of material used in wallpaper and the three main types of wallpaper applications below should help you figure out how to remove old wallpaper and replace it with the best one for your walls.

  • Self-Adhesive Type: A type of removable wallpaper that has an adhesive backing, it's ideal for people who are renting or those who like to change decor often. Self-adhesive wallpaper, on the other hand, may not stick well to textured walls.

  • Pre-Pasted: This application style is quick and easy. You only need to add water, and it is ready to apply. But this type does not last as long as other types.

  • Non-Pasted: This type of wallpaper does not have paste on its backing. Often made from natural materials like bamboo, grasscloth, or fabric, it can be applied directly to walls using water or a paste.

In Closing

master-removes-old-wallpaper-wall-repair

Fabric softener and vinegar can be used to remove wallpaper, although neither method is flawless.

If you decide to go the fabric softener route, make sure you have a lot of ventilation in your home (open all the windows!) and be prepared for the process to take a few days. If you choose vinegar, again—ventilate well.

We hope this post has been helpful! If you have any personal tips, please share them in the comments.

For more insights, you can check out these related posts:

Can You Paint Over Wallpaper With Any Type Of Paint? [A Detailed Guide]

Does Wallpaper Last Longer Than Paint?