Vinegar + Water = Homemade Wallpaper Remover!

Once again I’ve discovered something useful that a simple mixture of vinegar and water can do.  It makes a super simple and super cheap homemade wallpaper remover!

For several years now I’ve been using a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water as an easy homemade all purpose cleaner. It’s my go-to method for lots of cleaning chores around the house.  In fact, I was using it so often that I started keeping a gallon-sized refill of 8 cups of vinegar mixed with 8 cups of water in the cupboard so I would have plenty on hand whenever I needed to refill my spray bottle.

How to make a gallon sized refill of a homemade vinegar and water cleaner

Well this week, in the midst of our bathroom remodeling project, we took a big mirror off the wall and discovered some remains of ugly old wallpaper.  And even though we’ll be covering that area again with a new mirror, I wanted that old wallpaper gone.  It was bad – so yucky – even a little moldy!

I first looked in our stash of supplies and tools, wondering if we still had a spray bottle of that DIF Wallpaper Remover stuff around that we had used years ago.  But nope, no luck.  I came up empty handed.  What to do?

Well you go to Google to find out how to make your own wallpaper remover!

And guess what the search results turned up?  You can make your own wallpaper remover by combining vinegar and water.  Oh happy day! I have a gallon of the stuff around here!

How to make a homemade wallpaper remover using vinegar and water

But would it work?  I first scored the paper a bit with one of those handy “Paper Tiger” tools (which I did manage to find in my box of old supplies, along with my hubby’s ancient and well used putty knife up there in the photo).  I poured some of my 50/50 vinegar and water mixture into a little spray bottle, sprayed it around on the wall, and then waited 15 minutes so it could soak in.

And when I started scraping, it came off with no problems!  Some spots needed an extra spray or two of the vinegar and water, but overall I made quick progress and this homemade solution worked great.

Now it’s true, I was not removing an entire room of wallpaper.  I was simply working on an area the size of a large mirror.  BUT – because the vinegar and water worked very efficiently on that area, I have every reason to believe it would work well for larger projects too.

This is the kind of homemade solution that I really love.  Those moments when you can use what you have, to make what you need.  Instead of having to run out to the store, I was able to stay home and finish my project.  It was early in the morning and I was in my grubby clothes and was just looking crappy in general. I did NOT want to run to the store . . . because whenever I run out to the store in that condition I will ALWAYS run into someone I know.  ALWAYS!  It’s like some weird law of nature or something.

Instead I could stay home at 6:30 in the morning and get the job done with my handy vinegar and water to the rescue.  In fact, I was so happy that it was working, I decided it would be a good idea to share here and I had better take a quick photo while I still had some old wallpaper on the walls to show you. 🙂

Here’s how to do it:

Homemade Wallpaper Remover

You Will Need:

  • White Distilled Vinegar
  • Water
  • Spray Bottle

Also helpful: Paper Tiger Wallpaper Removal Scoring Tool  *Affiliate Link

Begin by rolling the scoring tool around on the wallpaper.  This creates some lines on the wallpaper so the remover can soak in better.

Then combine equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle.  A good starting mixture might be to combine 1 cup of vinegar with 1 cup of water, although you can make this in whatever size you need for the size of the job you are working on.

Spray the vinegar and water mixture on the scored wallpaper.  Let it sit for 15 minutes to soak in.

Then start peeling and/or scraping with a putty knife or other scraping tool.  You should find that the wallpaper is rolling off better thanks to the vinegar and water.

Make your own homemade wallpaper remover using vinegar and water

 

A Few Other Uses for Vinegar and Water

The basic mixture of equal parts vinegar and water can be used for other things too.  I have yet to try some of these, but I’m ready with my gallon refill if I ever want to!

Microwave Cleaner:  I’ve done this several times and it works great!  Heat the vinegar and water mix in the microwave for a couple minutes, then let it sit there for a couple more minutes to steam. Then remove from the microwave and you can easily clean any gunk from the walls.
Read more here – – > Homemade Microwave Cleaner

Homemade microwave cleaner

Chalkboard Paint Wall Cleaner:  I don’t have any walls in my house that have been painted with chalkboard paint, but I saved an article out of my local newspaper a few years back where someone shared that vinegar and water was the solution that kept her wall from looking like a smeary, dirty mess.  So I’m ready if I ever need to clean a chalkboard wall!
Read more here – – > Cleaning Walls Painted With Chalkboard Paint

Sunburn Relief:   This article lists lots of uses for vinegar, but #36 on the list caught my eye that towels soaked in a 50/50 vinegar and water mix can be laid on your sunburned skin and give lots of relief.  As a fair skinned person prone to sunburns, I’m always looking for homemade ideas for sunburn relief.
Read more here – – > Uses For Vinegar

Skunk Odor Removal:  Not everyone agrees on the effectiveness of this one, but I’ve seen it around the internet as a repeated option for washing a dog that’s been sprayed by a skunk.  The acidity of the vinegar and water mix works much like the home remedy of tomato juice in neutralizing the skunk smell.
Read more here – – > Removing Skunk Odor

Fruit and Veggie Wash:  Vinegar and Water can also be a very frugal way to clean your fruits and vegetables, and again, it’s the acidity in the vinegar that helps to do the job.  You can use a 50/50 mix for this, but often times folks dilute it down a little bit more, for instance just putting a cup of vinegar in a sink of cold water and then soaking the fruit and veggies.
Read more here – – > Homemade Fruit and Vegetable Wash

All-Purpose Cleaner:  And of course, my favorite way to use vinegar and water, as a general all-purpose cleaner. One word of caution here is not to use vinegar and water on granite counter tops, as it is too acidic.
Read more here – – > My Favorite Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

homemade cleaner made with vinegar and water

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. Thankyou, saved a trip to walmart. I mixed 50-50 ,sprayed and wiped with a hot damp soapy washcloth, allowing several minutes to soak between applications. Scrapped with a soft pliable scrapper, pulled it off easily.

    1. I’m so glad this method worked well for you and like you said, saved you a trip to the store to buy something. It’s great when you can use what you have to make what you need and get the job done!

  2. Hello, thanks for the helpful article. I think many people are faced with the problem of removing the old wallpaper’s glue during the repair. From my own experience, I can say that using only water is not always effective. Special solutions can be much more effective, such as a solution of vinegar and water. I used a similar solution several times, then this solution allows you to remove even very old wallpapers. In more difficult situations, the old glue can be removed using steam and a special pump.

  3. I have been looking for the 7 things NOT TO CLEAN with your water and v vinegar but instead you kept telling me everything I CAN do with but never did find what I was looking for. Sad