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How to Remove a Fabric Wall Covering

Fabric wall coverings are often used in rentals or in other situations where the permanence of wallpaper is not allowed or desired. Since the wall covering was applied as a temporary measure, removing it should go quite easily and not create much mess. Remove the fabric wall covering based on the way it was installed.

Starched Fabric

Fabric applied to a wall with laundry starch or a homemade mixture of water and cornstarch is easy to remove. Peel back an upper corner of the fabric and continue peeling it back across the width of the fabric panel and down the wall. If the fabric does not peel away easily, dampen the front of fabric using a damp sponge or spritz on a light mist of water using a spray bottle. When the starched fabric gets moist, peel it again. Once all the fabric is down, remove any remaining starch residue on the wall with a quick wipe-down with a clean damp sponge.


  • Be sure to let the wall dry completely before proceeding with any other decorating projects, such as painting or wallpapering.

Stapled or Tacked Fabric

Removing fabric applied to the wall with staples or tacks takes longer to remove, depending on how many staples or tacks are in the wall. Start at the top of the wall and gently pry away the staples or tacks using a flat-head screwdriver or a staple remover used by carpenters and upholsterers.


  • Keep a small cup handy to drop the staples or tacks in as you remove them.
  • Use caution when removing staples and tacks to prevent gouging the wall.
  • Some fabric is attached to walls with padding behind it. If your fabric feels soft and cushiony when pressed, it is probably padded. Use the same removal approach, but make sure the staple or tack is removed from all the layers.

Hook-and-Loop Strips

Fabric attached to a wall with hook-and-loop strips, commonly referred to by the brand name Velcro, is easy to remove. Simply peel away the fabric from the strips at the top and bottom of the wall. Other strips may secure the fabric at additional spots, so be sure to peel them all away. Removing the adhesive hook-and-loop strips from the wall is less complicated if they were applied using removable adhesive. If not, carefully peel back an edge of the strip and peel it off the wall. If adhesive remains on the wall, heat it with a hair dryer for 30 seconds and scrape the warm adhesive off with a putty knife.


  • Use the lowest heat setting on the hair dryer. Higher settings could cause paint to bubble.
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