Wallpaper Steamer: How to Use, Heat Up Time, and What to Look For

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 18, 2022
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What is a wallpaper steamer? It’s a tool that uses high-pressure steam to remove wallpaper from walls. This method is a great alternative to chemical strippers that can be harmful to you and the environment.

So, how does it work? Let’s find out.

What is a wallpaper steamer

Revolutionizing Wallpaper Removal with Advanced Technology

Wallpaper steamers are now available with electrical power, making the process of heating water and producing steam much easier and faster. The steamer heats the water to boiling point, and the added quantity of water evaporates and produces steam. The steam builds up pressure in the container and travels through a pipe to the plate, which is held against the wall. The plate is spiked to help the steam penetrate the wallpaper and reach the paste. The steamer heats up in a matter of minutes and maintains a high temperature throughout the process.

Improved Design and Functionality

The latest wallpaper steamers have a variety of features that improve their functionality and make them easier to use. Some of the key features include:

  • A long handle that allows you to reach high places without having to use a ladder
  • A flat plate that can be held against the wall for extended periods without causing fatigue
  • A reverse function that allows you to unstrip wallpaper
  • A seal that prevents steam from escaping and maintains pressure
  • A small opening that allows you to add water without having to turn off the steamer

Specific Steamers for Specific Needs

There are a number of different wallpaper steamers available, each with its own specific features and functions. Some of the most popular steamers include:

  • The Lua steamer, which is known for its high-pressure steam and powerful force
  • The Spiked steamer, which is designed to help prise paper from the wall
  • The Modified starch steamer, which is based on modified starch and is used to fix wallpaper to walls

The Hydrolysis Process

The wallpaper steamer uses hot steam to break down wallpaper paste, making it much easier to prise the paper from the wall. This process is known as ‘hydrolysis’, which is a chemical reaction that breaks down the paste by using water vapour or steam. The steamer produces hot steam that comes into contact with the wallpaper, and when the steam reaches the paste, it breaks down the chemical bonds that hold the paste together. This allows you to easily remove the wallpaper (here’s how to) from the wall.

The Highest Quality Wallpaper Removal

Wallpaper steamers are the most effective way to remove wallpaper, and they are now available with advanced technology that makes the process even easier and faster. With a variety of features and functions, you can choose the steamer that best suits your needs and get the highest quality wallpaper removal possible.

Using a Wallpaper Steamer: A Handy Guide

  • Protect the floor with dust sheets or plastic sheeting.
  • Tape the sheeting to the skirting board to keep it in place.
  • Remove any old wallpaper strips that have fallen off or are stubborn to remove using a scraper or a knife.
  • Score the wallpaper with a scoring tool to make it easier to remove.
  • Wear protective goggles and gloves to protect your eyes and hands.
  • Set up trestles and a stepladder to make the task easier.

Removing the Wallpaper

  • Start by gently scraping away a small piece of wallpaper with a scraper or a knife.
  • Once you have a starting point, place the wallpaper steamer plate against the wallpaper and wait for the steam to penetrate the plaster.
  • Carefully remove the wallpaper strips using a scraper or a wide knife.
  • Work in small sections and follow the same process until all the wallpaper is removed.
  • Use a sponge or microfiber cleaning cloths to wipe away any excess wallpaper paste.

Safety Tips

  • Be cautious when using the wallpaper steamer as it can get very hot.
  • Always wear protective goggles and gloves.
  • Keep children and pets away from the task area.
  • Make sure the wallpaper steamer is unplugged when not in use.

Extra Tips

  • Use a wallpaper tray to hold the wallpaper steamer plate and protect the floor from any hot water spills.
  • Have a bucket of cold water handy to dip the scraper or knife into to cool it down.
  • Follow the global editor-in-chief of Homes.com’s advice and use a Wagner Spraytech wallpaper steamer for the best possible results.

Using a wallpaper steamer may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and knowledge, it can be an easy and efficient way to remove wallpaper. Just remember to follow the safety tips and take your time to ensure the wallpaper is removed properly.

Getting Your Wallpaper Steamer Ready: How Long Does It Take to Heat Up?

When you’re ready to start removing that old wallpaper, you want to know how long it will take for your wallpaper steamer to heat up. The answer to this question depends on the model you have and the amount of water in the container. Typically, it can take anywhere from 5 to 12 minutes for the system to generate steam. A full container generates steam for around 85 minutes.

Preparing Your Work Area

Before you start, you need to prepare your work area. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Cover the floor with dust sheets or plastic sheeting to prevent damage from falling plaster and wallpaper strips.
  • Remove any furniture or trestles from the room.
  • Use a craft knife to score the wallpaper, making it easier to remove.
  • Remove any stubborn wallpaper strips with a scraper.

Safety Precautions

Removing wallpaper can be a messy and potentially dangerous task. Here are some safety precautions to follow:

  • Wear protective goggles and gloves to prevent burns and cuts.
  • Use a stepladder to reach high areas, but make sure it’s stable and secure.
  • Use a scraper to gently scrape away any stubborn wallpaper strips.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s guide for your specific model of wallpaper steamer.
  • Be extra cautious when removing old wallpaper that may have fallen off the wall.
  • Consult a professional if you’re not sure how to remove wallpaper safely.

Choosing the Right Wallpaper Steamer

When using a wallpaper steamer, safety should always be a top priority. Look for steamers that include safety features such as automatic shut-off, cool-touch handles, and safety valves. These features can help prevent accidents and ensure that you are able to use the steamer safely.

Consider the Size and Length of the Steamer

The size and length of the steamer are also important factors to consider. A longer hose will allow you to reach higher areas without having to move the steamer as often. Additionally, a larger water tank will allow you to work for a longer period of time without needing to refill the tank.

Look for Additional Accessories

Some wallpaper steamers come with additional accessories that can make the job easier and more efficient. Look for steamers that include a scraper or multiple blades for scraping away the wallpaper. Additionally, a cover for the steam plate can help prevent damage to the walls and ensure that the steam is evenly distributed.

Consider the Price

While it’s important to choose a good quality wallpaper steamer, it’s also important to consider the price. Wallpaper steamers can range in price from around $50 to over $200. Consider how often you will be using the steamer and how much you are willing to spend.

Read Reviews and Do Your Research

Before making a purchase, be sure to read reviews and do your research. Look for products that have good reviews and are designed for the type of wallpaper you will be removing. Additionally, consider the different uses and features of the steamers available to find the one that will work best for your needs.


So there you have it, a wallpaper steamer is a tool used to remove wallpaper. It heats up water to produce steam, which softens the wallpaper paste so you can easily peel it off the wall. Now you know all the ins and outs of wallpaper steamers, so go out and get yourself one!

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.