How to Remove Wallpaper Primer

Homeowners use wallpaper primer when they have stains, mold or wallpaper paste residue on their walls or when they are wallpapering drywall, plaster or defective walls. Wallpaper primer is generally acrylic or water-based, and it can be removed easily. Wallpaper primers improve the wallpaper’s ability to adhere to the wall, but they also make it easier to eventually remove the wallpaper. Wallpaper generally comes off the walls easily during the removal process. Wallpaper primer can stick to the walls, however, and removing it requires a few extra steps.

Wallpaper primer helps protect the walls from wallpaper paste.
  1. Fill a spray bottle with warm water and several drops of mild liquid dishwashing detergent. The dishwashing detergent will help break down the primer.

  2. Spray the walls with the mixture. Be careful not to spray the outlets or carpet. Let the mixture sit on the primer for several minutes.

  3. Scrape away the primer with a putty knife. Work from the top of the walls to the bottom. Be careful not to use a sharp putty knife, as it may damage the walls. If you cannot remove the primer, soak the walls again with the soap mixture and try again.

  4. Wipe down the walls with a paper towel until they are completely dry.

  5. Lightly sand the walls if primer is still visible.

  6. Spray the walls with water once the primer is completely removed. Wipe the walls down with clean cloths to remove the sawdust.

About the Author

Kaye Wagner has been working in the fields of journalism and public relations since 2006 and is a recipient of a National Hearst Award. She is particularly interested in home-and-garden projects, as well as beauty and fashion writing. An avid traveler, she also writes travel reviews and guides. Wagner earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brigham Young University.