If you have had an RV, camper, or travel trailer, for any amount of time you may have had to deal with peeling wallpaper. This is especially true for older campers, renovations, or those purchased on the secondary market.
When people are confronted with this issue, they are often left scratching their heads. Depending on the type of wallpaper you have, its age, its condition, etc., how you deal with it may vary. This can create confusion.
We are here to help. We’ve gathered the best ways to deal with trouble wallpaper and put them in one place.
How to remove wallpaper
You can probably guess the main ingredient you will use for this technique. You nailed it…Dawn Soap. In addition to the Dawn Soap, all you need is a spray bottle and water. When it comes to your spray bottle, be sure to use something quality.
For this mixture, simply fill your spray bottle with hot tap water, leaving enough room in the bottle to add the Dawn Soap and to agitate. How much soap you use depends on your spray bottle size. For a 16 oz. spray bottles, use approximately ⅔ teaspoon. Keep in mind, you may have to adjust this to fit your needs.
Once you’ve added the soap and sealed the spray bottle, agitate the bottle and make sure everything is mixed together well. Now that you have mixed everything up, start spraying down the wallpaper you are trying to remove. During this process, you may want to spray it on with several applications. The mixture needs time to soak in and saturate the paper. Once it is good and soaked, the wallpaper should come off the wall with very little effort.
You need to be able to have a bottle that can handle the volume and the slightly thicker mixture of Dawn and water. I prefer bottles that can also handle cleaners and chemicals, which expands their use when working with RV’s.
I like to use BAR5F spray bottles, and for the price, they can’t be beaten. They can handle more harsh cleaning and chemical solutions and offer a leakproof design.
This method is very similar to the Dawn Soap method above, however, it uses fabric softener instead.
Once again, you will need a spray bottle, fabric softener like Downy Ultra, and hot water. For this mixture, I like to use more Downy than what we used for the Dawn solution. Again, fill your spray bottle leaving enough room to add the Downy and to agitate. Then add approximately ⅓ cup of Downy, seal, and agitate.
Just like with the Dawn, start spraying down the wallpaper you are trying to remove using a series of applications. Allow the mixture to soak in, but not dry out, between each application. Once the wallpaper is saturated, start sliding it off the wall.
Using vinegar is another great way to remove wallpaper in your camper. For this mixture, be sure to use equal parts vinegar and hot water. Again, use your trusty spray bottle to apply this combination allowing it to soak in-between applications. Once the wallpaper is saturated, use a scraper or similar tool to remove the wallpaper.
Depending on how large of an area you have to remove, you can also use Formula 409. For smaller areas, I like to use a non-diluted mixture straight from the factory packaging. As will all, allow it to soak in and get really wet. For larger areas, you can mix the Formula 409 in a 1:1 ratio with hot water and then spray it on as described above. Use a scraper or similar tool to aid with removal.
This technique is the same as the Formula 409 Method above. For small areas, I like to use a non-diluted mixture straight from the factory packaging and for larger areas, I mix the Windex in a 1:1 ratio with hot water. Soak the wallpaper and use a scraper or similar tool to aid with removal.
Iron and Damp Washcloth
For this method, you are going to need a washcloth, water, and an iron. Take your washcloth, soak it in water, and wring it out. With your iron on high heat, place the washcloth between your iron and wallpaper and use the heat of the iron and the moisture from the washcloth to steam the wall. This will begin to melt the glue, allowing you to peel or scrape off the wallpaper.
If you want to avoid chemicals, spray bottles, and washcloths, you can always buy a wallpaper steamer. A wallpaper steamer can really be beneficial, especially if you have large areas of wallpaper to remove.
Our favorite is the Wagner Spraytech 715. This model performs really well, and for $50, it’s hard to beat. The only thing needed to use this tool is distilled water.
Once the steam starts rollings, you apply it to the wallpaper, soften the adhesive, and begin removing with your scraper or putty knife. The best part is you can work for an hour or so on one tank of distilled water.
- Allow every mixture to soak in really, really well. This is the key to removal.
- Once it is soaked in, you can use a scraper, putty knife, or something similar to aid in removal.
- An alternative to using a spray bottle is to mix your solutions in a bowl or bucket. Then simply soak a washcloth and use it to apply the mixture to the wallpaper.
- Sometimes there is an outer layer or skin, that can be removed prior to applying the solutions. If this is the case, they can sometimes be peeled off allowing access to the bare paper underneath. If you can do this, it makes things way easier.
Peeling or damaged wallpaper can be a pain for RV owners when we are trying to remodel or renovate. Fortunately, there are a number of effective solutions to aid in the removal of unsightly wallpaper. With a little time and a little elbow grease, you will be well on your way with your renovation project.