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Earlex Wallpaper Stripper

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    13 Reviews
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      15.10.2013 19:51
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      I love my Earlex.

      I hate decorating, I am a revamping dodger. If my house is clean and neat then I am happy. As much as I try to dodge decorating at least one or two rooms each year need freshening up, if I am lucky then all that is needed is a coat of paint, this time I am unlucky as it is the bedroom wallpaper that needs stripping.

      It was with a heavy heart that I dug my trusty old Earlex 2kw wallpaper stripper out the cupboard; I then placed it in the bedroom for me to trip over and glare at for a few weeks while I found a million other easier and distracting things to do. In the end it was inevitable that I would be getting steamy with the stripper once Mr H was back at work.(Redundant all Summer and we still did not decorate)

      My Earlex Stripper (model number SS75) is very old; I think it cost about £15.00 on some sort of offer in B&Q many years ago. The box gave up the ghost long ago and the instructions went the way of all useful pieces of paper. Happily for me the instructions are also stuck to the side of the Stripper.

      The instructions are as follows, 1) Fill stripper to max level using a jug and then plug in using the supplied cord that looks identical to the old style kettle plug. 2) Wait 15 minutes for the stripper to warm up, this is roughly the amount of time I need for a coffee and an energy giving twix before starting. The stripper will then produce a continuous stream of steam for the next 90 minutes for you to strip the paper off with. 3) Once the steam has ran out you need to wait 2 minutes before refilling back to max this gives you enough time to eat another twix and have a coffee before the stripper is hot enough to go again. There are also a few safety warnings such as don't allow children and pets near the stripper, don't stand on the stripper, don't drag the stripper around by the lead and don't tip the stripper up.

      The steam is delivered to the wall via a long ridged plastic tube that is locked into the top of the water heating unit, at the end of the plastic tubing is a plastic plate; this is what you press against the wall. I find that for most wallpaper the plate only needs to be held to the wall for 10-15 seconds, this is long enough to loosen the paper so as a rub over with a scraper will remove the paper. Leave the plate any longer and the plaster may come away from the wall; it is all a case of trial and error some paper takes longer some takes less. I managed to strip a 12 x 8 foot wall in 45 minutes.

      The stripper has a safety cut out for when the water has boiled dry and there is also a pressure relieve valve on the water heating unit incase there is a pressure build up. In all the years I have used my stripper it has never had any issues.

      I have also stripped the dreaded Artex from walls and ceilings, it has taken considerably longer than paper but it was all removed in the end. Although the bathroom required replastering once I had finished.

      As with all D.I.Y devices common sense is required. The wallpaper stripper removes paper using steam, a lot of steam, so be aware of the possibility of burns from steam and scalding hot drips and dribbles of water. Another problem I have come across is the penetration of steam or dribbles of water into light switches and plug sockets, so I do advise caution around electricity. I also open all doors and windows in the room I stripping in as an extended period of use with the stripper results in a sauna like atmosphere.

      All things considered I love my Earlex Wallpaper Stripper it may be old but it is identical in every way to the new ones being sold; it makes a miserable job faster and easier and if it stopped working I would happily buy another one.

      Thank you for reading.

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        09.12.2012 18:48
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        A great steamer

        We have actually had two of these. My Dad bought one when I decided to decorate my bedroom at home almost five years ago now and as my partner is a painter and decorator he also has one. I used it a few weeks ago to strip our feature wall in the living room ready to put the new paper up.

        The stripper is exactly the same as the picture above and it can be picked up in hardware stores or even online for around the £25-£30 mark. Argos currently have it for £29.97 but it does look as though they have changed the colours slightly since we got both of ours. The lid is now a brighter blue and the cap is red. I do think the colour change of the cap is good as it does remind you that the steam is very hot and to be cautious if removing the cap. Otherwise the machine itself looks exactly the same.

        The machine comes in a cardboard box, ours is predominantly yellow in colour and you will need to piece together the stripper yourself but this is very quick and easy to do and is just the case of screwing the hose on and attaching the head.

        The stripper has a 4 litre capacity and you just need to fill this with regular, cool water from the tap. You then need to plug it in and wait for the water to reach boiling point and then you are ready to go. It is easy to tell when it is ready because the water will be bubbling and there will be steam beginning to come from the large plate at the tip.

        The idea of the stripper is that you hold the large plate over an area of wallpaper and the heat that is applied will help to dissolve the paste behind the wallpaper therefore making it come off more easily. The plate is about 30cm x 20cm so it is a really good size.

        The handle of the plate is easy to hold and although it is just hard plastic it isnt difficult to grasp and it doesnt hurt your hand in any way. I usually hold the plate on the wall for about 10 seconds and then move the plate along to the next section, as this is heating up I then scrape off the wallpaper from the initial area.

        I find that the wallpaper comes off really easily with this stripper regardless of how long it has been up. For example, the wallpaper in my room at my parents had been there at least 10 years whilst the wallpaper in our living room had been there just a year. A lot of the paper you can just pull off but this often leaves the base of the paper on the wall so it is best to use a scraper. However, when my partner went off to work the other day I realised he hadnt left me a scraper but no worry I used my old NUS student card and the wallpaper came off very easily!

        The stripper claims to run for 70 minutes from a full 4 litres and I do believe this is correct. Last time I used it I didnt fill it right up but it was going for at least an hour which allowed me to remove all of the wallpaper from a wall around 5m long but I did combine this with TV watching so I am sure if you actually put some effort in you will be able to get more done!

        The stripper is safe to use - the hose does not get too hot so if you are using it with children or pets about there isnt too much to worry about but of course, caution when using a tool like this is always advised and the cap should never be removed whilst the water inside is still hot.

        I plugged the stripper in in the hallway and it reached the end of the wall JUST but this was with pulling on the hose quite a bit - but that is just me being lazy. The length of cord and hose is over 3.5m so it does have a good length and will easily reach walls around the room.

        When not in use if there is any water left in the stripper it is important to empty it out and then it will fit back in the cardboard box it came in if you take it all apart however if you leave it all connected it will fit back in the box but the lid wont shut which isnt too big a deal if you have somewhere to put it where it doesnt really matter if the lid is on properly.

        Overall, I am pleased with this stripper. We have used it numerous times and it is simple to put up and get working and it performs well every time it is used. It is also compact enough to be transported if need be like my partner often needs to for work.

        Earlex seems to be the most popular brand of wallpaper stripper and to be honest I can see why. I have nothing wrong to say about this stripper, for a low price it does what it promises. It is easy to use and has a good running time without needing to be refilled. It makes the mundane task of stripping the wallpaper an awful lot quicker and easier and it doesnt harm the walls in any way or use any chemicals as it is of course using simple plain water.

        If you are thinking of decorating and have some wallpaper to strip then I would definitely recommend this stripper. Yes, the initial cost is much higher than some wallpaper remover in a bottle but it is honestly about 10x as quicker and over time the stripper is more than likely to pay for itself. I think for around £30 you really cant go wrong with this choice.

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          05.10.2012 18:17
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          good if you need something like this

          Wallpaper is sticky stuff, its why it stays up for so long. This is great... apart from when you want to try and redecorate, as you have to remove all of the old wallpaper before placement of new wallpaper or painting the walls. There are various methods of doing this, such as slowly peeling them, or even using an iron (as in for clothes), and holding it away from the wall paper and blowing steam. This is a device that does the same thing, but is specific to doing wallpaper.

          The product is around 30 quid, and comes with 4 main parts, a box, a power supply, a hose, and a handle thing. You simply plug in the box with the charger, and fill with water. The box bit has an electrical heat, like that in your electric kettle. When the water is boiling, the steam runs down the hose, andout the handle bit (but not onto your hands, it sort of funnels the steam onto the wall). When this happens, it melts the glue of the wallpaper, making it easy to remove until it cools down again. To be fair, it works very well, it can make a job that would normally takw hours not take very long at all. However, there are problems.

          Firstly, for 30 quid, I can't help think its a bit dear for something that only does one thing, and its not exactly something that you do everyday. If you are a builder/decorater or something, then that is different, but for a general home owner, it is a bit hard to justify.

          Secondly, it does get through water quickly, and I found that it can take 2-3 fills (and its a big container) to completely do a standard size room.

          Secondly, as the hose is connected by a valve, not some form of trigger, you have to steam the wall, turn the valve, remove wallpaper, bend down and turn valve again, and then do next wallpaper. It is easy with 2 (1 steams, other removes), but I can't help but think a trigger where by pulling the trigger shoots out a jet of stream couldn't have been easier?

          Overall then, I give this 3/5 stars. It has a very niche use, but it fulfills that use very well. I have not given it 4 or 5 because it could be improved, and isn't that useful to everyone.

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          03.10.2012 01:12
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          A handy decorating tool.

          ~ Earlex Wallpaper Stripper ~

          When I moved into my old house eight years ago the first thing I noticed was the dreadful wallpaper throughout every room, the worse by far was the hallway, stairs and landing. The paper here was the floral bumpy paintable type paper that had been painted and painted and painted, the top coat was gloss, someone had thought it a good idea to gloss the whole walls! The mind boggles! Well I knew all the paper would need stripping and as it was a big house, it was going to be a big job. At the time I had two small children the youngest being one years old so I wanted it to be done as quick as possible, it was then that my mum said you need a wallpaper stripper, and of course she was right.
          My mum needed one too to strip two of the bedrooms in her house so she said she would buy it and then I could have it as soon as she was done. I had to move all my furniture into the house before re-decorating anyway so by my mum having it first it gave me time to sort everything out.
          As my mum bought the stripper I had no say as to what one was bought and nor did I have the uhemm, pleasure of putting it together so I can't comment on that part, however my mum said that the stripper had cost around £30 and was very easy to use. She managed to strip the two bedrooms in a day so it must have been effective!

          I was very optermistic that the stripping of the wallpaper in my own house would be a doddle so I gladly took the machine and set about using it as soon as I got home. I started in the living room where there was a half and half style with border decor and it got through this room quick enough.
          The machine simply needed filling with tap water, the adaptor plug needed to be put in and plugged into the wall and then I had to wait for the water to warm up, a bit like a kettle.
          You can reduce the amount of time it takes by filling wih hot water instead.
          After that it is ready to use. The 4litre unit gives about 70 minutes of stream.

          To use the stripper (after doing all above) you hold the steamer plate to the wall where the continueous steam jet steams the paper, thus making it easier to remove the paper. It did make easy work of the living room and every other room, the biggest test for me was going to be the thick gloss painted paper in the hallway, on the stairs and on the landing and it was here that the machine did struggle. I found that the steam was making the glossy paint bubble and go sticky and stringy yet it wasn't having any effect on the paper itself so I found the need to score the paper with a stanley blade, I marked the walls with lots of deep lines and then tried the stripper again and I found that this time the steam did make a massive difference, the steam penetrated through the score lines and I was then able to get a metal scraper inbetween the lines and lift the paper off with ease.
          Whilst this part of the house did require some additional help, the stripper did make it a lot more easier so I was very pleased with this.

          After moving a few years later I moved to a house that had fan shaped artex in the kitchen/diner, and needless to say I hated it. With a passion. It was after chipping off a whole chunk of artex back to the plaster that I remembered the wallpaper stripper and popped to my mums to borrow it yet again.
          I had read that it was going to be a very messy job so I went around collecting old sheets off everyone in my family and laid them around the floor in the dining room as this is where I was going to start.
          As I did with the wallpaper removal I did exactly the same for the artex and found that the steam from the stripper softened the artex before turning it into a mushy mess. I carried on with a roll of kitchen paper, and a metal scraper and managed to remove the lot in two days. I was pleased to be rid of the artex but the resulting mess was quite huge. I had splats of soggy artex on the floor and the old sheets were covered.
          It did work however and made it a not too hard job, it was quicker than chipping away at it so I was pleased.

          2000 watts.
          Boiler capacity 4 litres.
          Steam time 70mins.
          Hose length 3.65m.
          Cool touch hose.
          Includes a large translucent lightweight steam plate.

          Thanks for reading :o) x

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          07.04.2012 21:21
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          a great little stripper

          ==Earlex Warrior Wallpaper Stripper==


          Having just recently moved into a new house which is covered from top to bottom in all sorts of hideous wallpaper it was obvious that we needed to invest in a wallpaper stripper. Now being a regular at B&Q this is where we purchased this Earlex Warrior stripper from.

          At a few pence under the £30 region it was one of the cheaper ones available although not quite the cheapest. I thought this one looked the most straight forward to operate as well as being lightweight and needed no chemicals just water to use.

          Our first nightmare room to tackle was the kitchen and this along with the bathroom had this awful vinyl type waterproof wallpaper which I wasn't too sure would even be removed with using this steamer but it did state on the box that it would indeed shift it and having already put in a fairly decent effort with a sponge and scraper and seemingly gotten nowhere I decided anything was worth a go.

          Setting up this steamer to use was really simple and is just a case of filling up the water tank, which has a good sized 4 litre capacity, and plugging the mains power cable into the wall. The power cable has a good length at 2 meters which was fine for the kitchen although wasn't that great for working in the bathroom. This was made easier however by the length of the hose which is a 3.65 meter length and enabled me not to need an extension lead.

          Once plugged in and filled up you have to wait around 10 minutes for the stripper to heat up the water in the tank and thus to pass steam down through the hose and into the head of the stripper. The hose doesn't get hot which is a good thing and although I thought I would be quite dangerous when using the item it felt safe even when standing on my step ladder..

          You know when the stripper is ready to use as the noise gets a little bubbly sounding and bits of water start spurting out of the plastic plate where the nozzle is attached. This soon subsides and the steam flows thick and fast from the hose. The flat plate is then pressed up against the wallpaper and kept in place for a mere few seconds and moved away in order to then start using a wallpaper scraper to remove the wallpaper.

          The vinyl wallpaper was not an easy task even with this steamer although that said it was a lot easier using it than using a sponge. The heat from the steamer seemed to make the top layer of the vinyl wallpaper stretchy and rather rubbery and this enabled me to pull of large chunks of the stuff rather then the little teeny pieces I had been removing when using the sponge. The under layer of actual wallpaper would then need a further going over with the steamer and this then changes colour from the light beige to a dark beige indicating that it is nice and moist and easy to peel away.

          Although a thankless task it is somewhat therapeutic in doing the job and using this steamer did make for a much quicker turn around time. I found that I was able to complete a good few walls of a medium sized room before the water in the tank would be used up and it would need unplugging and refilling again. The small area on the tank which is where the water goes in is sealed by a rubber type plug which seals tightly when the steam is pumping out of the machine and loosens when the stripper cools down. It is easy to fill up and easy to use and well worth the money I paid for it.

          It has taken off a good deal of different types of paper in our house already although there is still a long way to go! I have to admit that I really didn't' hold out much hope for it removing the waterproof vinyl but to my surprise it did work really well although the regular wallpaper came off much easier. I had also heard bad things about these strippers that the plaster will come away from your walls if they are not in great condition and this did worry me a bit too however I found that if you don't over soak the walls then this shouldn't be too much of a problem and for us it didn't happen at all.

          Really I can't find a single fault with this Earlex Warrior Wallpaper Stripper. It did exactly what it needed to do and at a very reasonable price as well. I can't recommend it enough and if it can strip that vinyl then I think it can probably tackle anything. For this reason I feel that a top score of 5 out of 5 stars and an exceptionally high recommendation is well deserved.



          I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you

          Many thanks for taking the time to read.

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            19.10.2010 19:42
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            Recommended a s it is good value.

            Removing wallpaper is never my favourite task but these reasonably priced wallpaper stripper from Earlex certainly makes life a lot easier and at £29.99 in Homebase it was a good purchase.

            It certainly creates a lot of steam and it is quite a noisy device to work with but it has proven quite effective at removing wallpaper that has been painted over without too much effort although do not expect perfect results in one mere application as some of the stubborn areas certainly needed a lot of steam applying but we got there in the end.

            There was very little assembly needed, the main water container needed to be linked up to the hose and plastic pad which you hold onto the wall while the steam is released, screw in the four wheels and then all we had to do was to fill it with cold water and plug it in.

            The base unit is an opaque white colour and there is a grey top with a carry handle and there is a screw top cap which you remove to add the water, the hose itself has a good range so the unit can remain on the ground while you deal with any high areas and in all when you factor ion the plug flex you have a 19ft range.

            There are two steam plates which differ in size and they are easy to change and there is also a scraper provided with the kit however to be honest a standard homebase scraper was much more efficient. It holds 4.5 litres of water at a time which is about an hours worth of steam. Once switched on it took about ten minutes of gurgling and puffing like a little pug dog before steam started to come through in fact the whole squat design of the thing makes me think of a pug.

            If you leave it on the device does cut out when the water runs out which is a nice safety feature. Certainly for the money this is a no hrills product that gets teh job done. It is important to wear safety gloves while using it to protect your hands.

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              17.09.2010 17:18
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              A great little piece of kit that you will wonder how you managed without.

              I decided after watching a decorating programme to decorate our spare room. it's the only room that we haven't done anything to and I felt it was in need of some TLC.
              First though there were several layers of welded on wallpaper to remove.
              My first port of call was to my mums to borrow her wallpaper steamer.

              The steamer I am reviewing is the Earlex Wallpaper Stripper.

              *The Stripper*
              Well basically the wallpaper stripper is just like a large kettle. it's made of sturdy plastic and is oblong in shape with a small opening on the top for the water it also has a handle.
              The water tank holds up to 4 litres of water and will give you approximately 70 minuets of steaming time before you need to add more.

              The hose is 5.5 meters long and is a "cool touch" hose. This is nice because steaming is a very hot job! The length of the hose is nice too because you don't have to keep the water tank right beside you, or keep moving it along.

              The steamer has a 2000w element in it.
              You also get a large plastic steam plate. This is just a large square of plastic which is 20 x 28 cm. . It is what the hose attaches to via a small screw -in connection. This also has a handle on it.


              *Using The Stripper*
              Using the stripper is easy. You need to fill up the water tank , its marked so you know when to stop. You then screw one end of the hose to the water tank and the other end screws to the steam plate. Its simply then a case of plugging the machine in.
              Once the element heats the water, this is really quick by the way, you will see steam coming from a hole in the steam paddle. You then hold this flat against the wall and slowly move it across the area you need to strip. The wall paper will virtually fall of the wall.

              Once you get a system going you can steam with one hand and strip the paper with the other making the job really quick.
              When the water gets low you just need to top it up. You will know when this need doing because it starts to splutter a bit.

              A couple of things to remember though,
              The steam is obviously very hot so care needs to be taken at all times.
              You do get a certain amount of water dripping down, this is also very hot.

              So, do I recommend the Earlex Steamer? Yes!!! It makes a rotten job very easy.

              This particular steamer can be found on Amazon for £26.00

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                31.08.2010 10:50
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                What I spent Bank Holiday Monday doing...

                Without giving much thought to the matter I could list a hundred and one other things I'd rather be doing on a Bank Holiday Monday than stripping wallpaper in my home, however this is what I found myself doing yesterday - needs must and all that and as my wife and I are currently on a mission to update and redecorate our home this mind-numbingly boring and tedious task needed to be done. Having recently updated our spare room it was time to move onto the hallway and once again were faced with the ordeal of scraping and teasing the wallpaper off the wall. For our last bout of decorating we borrowed a wallpaper stripper from a friend but this time we were prepared as we had bought our very own from B&Q on one of our frequent visits there.

                The Earlex Wallpaper stripper ended up finding a new home with us and for a couple of pennies under £25.00 seemed a reasonable buy. To be honest there wasn't that much choice available to us and figuring that any old wallpaper stripper would do we pretty much picked up the first one which we laid our eyes on. I'm sure that the majority of readers of this review will be aware of what a wallpaper stripper is, however if you are fortunate enough never to had to have the 'pleasure' of using one I will briefly describe what one is and what they do:

                Essentially a wallpaper stripper comprises a water tank with a long hose and translucent steam plate attached to the end. Water which is added to the tank is heated up to boiling temperature and the steam that is generated inside the tank is forced through the hose and out of the end, the plastic plate is designed to be held against a wallpapered wall and the hot steam melts the paste which originally held the wallpaper up in the first place. The wallpaper is then easily removed with a scraper or knife, or, in my case finger nails (note to self: buy a scraper...) and makes the job a lot easier than it used to be when I was a child when my parents made do with a sponge and soapy water.

                Sounds straightforward enough? They're not that difficult to fathom out but in terms of decorating they are an absolute necessity which makes a tedious job slightly more bearable.

                Why the Earlex?

                Now that I have covered the basics on what a wallpaper stripper actually is (personally 'steamer' sounds a more appropriate name to me but what do I know?) it's worth mentioning the various features that the Earlex offers for, if like me, you want to spend your free time stripping wallpaper.

                As pictured above, there's nothing particularly eye-catching about the machine itself, the water tank is a generic off-white/grey colour and the hose is black with an off-white steam plate at the end of it. There is a bright yellow valve which requires unscrewing to allow you to add water to the body of the tank which is then heated up by the 2000 watt element when turned on via the mains cable. The water tank has a maximum capacity of 5 litres which easily gives around an hour and half of continuous steam so should cut down on the amount of times the water needs replenishing whilst you are in the middle of stripping and when filled to capacity takes around 10 minutes to get to the optimum temperature for generating steam.

                The supplied mains cable measures 2 meters in length (which is a bit stingy in my opinion and could have done with being longer) but the hose itself is more generous at just over 3 and a half meters. Once the water has reached boiling temperature and the steam begins jutting out of the plate you are then able to begin removing your wallpaper with relative ease.

                Thoughts

                I found this to be a reliable product which did exactly what I wanted and, more importantly, expected. Earlex is a brand who I hadn't heard of before purchasing this but the 2 year guarantee that comes as standard gave me reassurance that I was buying a reputable brand from a reputable DIY chain (B&Q). There were a couple of niggles which I found when using this though, most notably the short mains cable and if I were able to give any feedback to Earlex it would be to make this a little longer than 2 meters as I struggled to reach some areas in our hallway even with the longer-length hose and I would imagine that a lack of more than one or two plug sockets in a room could cause problems if this was to be used somewhere more spacious. My other niggle concerns the water tank itself, maybe I was spoiled using my friends stripper last time but as his sat on wheels and was easy to manoeuvre around, the fact that the Earlex doesn't come with wheels fitted means that it is static when filled with water and the risk of it overturning was slightly concerning. Saying that though for a sub £25.00 machine I may have expected a little too much and perhaps the higher priced wallpaper strippers available carry this feature more than the cheaper options, I'm no DIY expert so my knowledge on these things is very limited.

                Other than those two minor complaints the machine itself proved itself to be well worth the money spent, the 90 minute steaming time was very generous considering its price tag and certainly comparable to the (presumably higher priced) machine I borrowed before buying this. The plastic plate was just the right size to allow a good section of wall to be blasted with steam but not too large so that its intensity was lost or diluted and all in all it felt like a well made piece of electrical equipment. All the parts are made from robust plastic which feels good quality, there are no catches or sharp corners and the hose is reassuringly thick which is easy to manipulate and position into place.

                It is worth mentioning here that you should follow some sort of safety regime when using a steam stripper, it is boiling hot water you are dealing with so of course it could burn you if you are not careful, water and electrics don't mix so be careful around plug sockets and light switches and don't do what I did and have the water tank behind you, step back and trip over the stupid thing. I said I was no DIY enthusiast so you can imagine the 'fun' I had with a 3 meter long hose, a tank of boiling water and size 10 feet, fortunately this isn't a something which will have extensive use in our home after this batch of decorating and I can put away into our shed until next time it is needed.

                I bought our Earlex wallpaper stripper in store at B&Q but looking on the internet it appears that it can be found online too at Amazon (what don't they sell?) the cost varies but is generally around £25.00 which I think is a small price to pay for assistance it gives when removing wallpaper. As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, wallpaper stripping is a tedious chore at best and any help that I can get is greatly appreciated so this handy little machine from Earlex is well worth its weight in gold to me and does come highly recommended.

                I can't talk about the long term reliability of the machine as I have only owned it a short while, however the guarantee does give me some peace of mind that this has been built to last and other reviews seem to indicate that it is a reliable piece of kit. It isn't something that I think anyone would get a huge amount of use out on a regular basis anyway so to me is one of those things which is put away until the next lot of decorating needs to be done. I am confident that this will sit happily in our shed until next year when it will be dusted off and be used in another room and until then I won't have to think about wallpaper or decorating.

                All things considered I would recommend this to the occasional DIYer rather than someone who is a painter/decorator by trade as they may want to consider something that offers a little more in the way of features and a longer mains cable but for me and how often I will use this it is definitely well worth its price tag. If the cable had been longer I would have awarded a full five star rating but I am deducting one so the Earlex Wallpaper stripper comes out with an Excellent 4/5 star rating from me and is still recommended nevertheless. Thanks for reading my review.

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                  24.02.2010 18:47
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                  A fantastic British-brand steam wallpaper stripper, ideal for professional and novice decorator.

                  As a utter and complete novice in the world of DIY and home redecorating, the prospect of buying paint was a scary prospect - never mind stripping a wall, lining it and painting it!

                  However, after living in my home for a couple of years, I felt a few rooms needed redecorating and refreshing. With a bit of help from my builder boyfriend, we set about preparing the walls - with one step being stripping the wallpaper.

                  In the bad old days (and even today, if you've not the luxury of a steam wallpaper stripper), wallpaper had to be wet and softened using a sponge and bucket of water, and then manually shredded off the walls using a flat stripper - hard work and incredibly labour intensive.

                  ~*~* So what does it do? *~*~

                  The Earlex wallpaper stripper (I bought the SS76 model) consists of a hot water tank, attached by a stay-cool hose to a flat, A4-sized applicator plate through which the hot steam diffuses and is trapped under the plate. This plate - once the steam is generating - is held still and flush against the wallpaper destined for removal for approximately 30 seconds, softening and separating it ready for the plate to be removed and the paper either peeled off by hand or - for best results - pushed off the wall surface by a scraper. The steamplate is transparent, which means you can see each piece of wallpaper you are steaming and you can monitor the condensation building up in the steam plate.

                  The strippers are designed to remove wallpaper (even thick gauge, textured, old and multi-layers of paper), paint and Artex.

                  All Earlex wallpaper strippers are mains-powered, with a long power cable, 1.5m in length. The SS76 model has a 2000 watt heating element (basically like a giant kettle!) with 230 volt power, heating the 5 litre water tank. Any sort of water can be used to fill the tank, which is easily filled under a running tap through one water opening. The water tank is made of clear, thick plastic, through which you can easily see the water level - great as it enables you to monitor the water and ensure it does not boil dry.

                  There are a number of safety features in the Earlex - the hose stays cool throughout the steaming, there are tight seals (so no hot water or steam can escape once in use) and the element and water tank are completely sealed - so no chance of burns or clumsy spillages. The hose is also quite long (at 3.6m), so you are able to conveniently steam up to ceiling or picture rail height in most rooms with no issues at all.

                  My SS76 model is advertised as having a 90 minute steaming usage time, on a full 5 litre tank, which is fairly accurate and means you can strip large areas without having to refill and wait for the tank to steam again. The steamer takes about 15minutes, once turned on, for the water to start bubbling and plate to start steaming, which means you are ready to go in no time.

                  ~*~* Cost and where to buy *~*~

                  There are a number of Earlex models which can be purchased from a wide varity of retailers, including Homebase (where I bought mine) and Argos. Earlex also have their own website (www.earlex.co.uk) where you can buy products and accessories in the online shop and get advice and user manuals for all models, as well as being able to buy spare parts and register your purchase. The makers also provide great guarantees on the steamers - the SS76 has a 24 month guarantee which is great.

                  The models vary in price - my SS76 - which is ideal for most users I would say, cost a mere £29.99 - which has been a total bargain.

                  ~*~* How to use and results *~*~

                  I must admit, I was apprehensive about stripping - I didn't want to do a terrible job and the prospect being responsible for hot steam was a bit scary! However, I found the Earlex to be incredibly easy to use. The steamplate was easy to press against the wall and the wallpaper lifted away with fantastic ease, with really only gentle pushing using a wallpaper stripper needed. The room did become quite warm due to the steam produced, however there wasn't a huge amount of excess steam and condensation. Using a small stepladder, the steamer could be used on higher wall areas using the stay cool hose with no problem at all.

                  One issue I did find was that, if left on one area for a long length of time (say over 30seconds), condensation building up in the steam plate did dribble a little, as hot drips of water, out from under the steam plate, so be warned as you may get painfully dripped on!

                  ~*~* The verdict *~*~

                  Overall, I love my Earlex steamer (and as a girly-girl I never thought I'd see the day I'd get excited about DIY tools!). It is easy to use, makes light work of removing large areas of tough wallpaper and has been fantastic to use on numerous occasions with no let-up in performance. The SS76 has been a total bargain - £29.99 for a compact, simple and effective steamer - from a British-manufacturer with a 24 month guarantee is a fantastic deal for me.

                  I could not recommend this steamer -and this brand - highly enough. A high quality steamer, with a safe design, that makes light work of wallpaper stripping and DIY - what more could a girl want? :)

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                    17.07.2004 00:03
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                    The plan was a simple one and the work required would probably take up two days of my weekend to fully decorate my son?s bedroom. This involved removing a paper border from the middle of three of the walls and painting over the existing paper, which was in good condition. The reality was rather different and has involved the removal from four walls, three layers of borders and two layers of paper each having had at least two colours of paint on them. This prompted the need for a steam wallpaper stripper and the Ealex has fitted the bill perfectly. In my local Homebase this was the mid priced product weighing in at £28. I chose it primarily because of the additional items it came with and it was the only one that came on wheels making it easy to move about and less likely to pull over if you try and work outside of its range. So what do you get for your money, well the most important thing is that it does work, it has taken about a day and a half to fully strip a 17x14 room without leaving my arms feeling like jelly and no nasty scours in the wall from some over enthusiastic scraping, if only the previous owners had been as diligent. The operation is easy and there is minimal assembly required, basically it is ready to go straight from the box just add hot or cold tap water. Components The base unit is square and made from white plastic through which you can see the water level from all four sides. A metal rim runs around the top and there is a carrying handle on the top. The water is poured in at the top of the unit by removing a large round screw top. The unit comes with a flexible hose and fully fitted plug and lead, which gives a range of about 19ft although it is not recommended to work with the unit fully extended. Two steam plates are provided, the main large one is again made from white plastic making it lightweight to use and a smaller black stripping plate is provided for corners and edges or for when yo
                    u want a concentrated blast of steam. Finally a 3 inch scraper with a roller is provided although I found this hard to use and instead opted for a standard scraper which I found much quicker to use. Assembly Assembly is easy, four corner protectors clip onto the metal rime and the four wheels need to be pushed into the base unit and required minimal force. The hose crews into both the base unit and the stripping plate and are easy to attach. Usage The unit holds a maximum of 4.5 litres, the literature claims that this will provide 70 minutes of steam however I found this to be on the conservative side and on one occasion enjoyed 90 minutes of steam from just over 4 litres. One tip is to use hot water as this reduces the time that it takes to heat up the water. After assembly simply add the water to the unit attach the hose and stripping plate and switch on at the plug. I found that with cold water steam was produced within about ten minutes of switching the unit on plenty of time to get the dustsheets in place. The steam provided is continuous and I found would stop within about 30 seconds of the unit being un-plugged. Safety Importantly the unit has an automatic safety cut out should all the water be used up, this prevents damage to the element. Safety gloves are required to protect hands from the steam and some drops do gather in the base of the stripping plate so care should be taken when working on ceilings. Other Uses The makers claim that the product can also be used to remove artex, floor tiles, sterilise soil and kill weeds and the box comes with a list of attachments that can be purchased to carry out these additional functions. Conclusions This is a good product that does the job it is designed for, easy to operate good value for money and effective at removing wallpaper even when it has been painted over. It does not remove the need for a scrapper b
                    ut it does make life just that little bit easier, now if it could only hang paper as well.

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                      13.09.2000 20:44
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                      Great, I have just finished stripping my hallway which was covered in the dreaded woodchip wallpaper, this machine has made life so much easier. (After spending 5 days stripping by hand a bathroom) At just £30.00 it is easy to use just fill the base with water wait 10/15 mins and away you go. If you are patient enough the paper will come right off in strips, only if you start at the top I hasten to add. It is a machine that is so easy to use their is no need to refer to the operators manual. I would recommend this to everyone, for £30 you get the job done in a fraction of the time and it is pleasurable to see the paper come away so easily.

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                      28.08.2000 01:49
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                      I have had many an unhappy hour stripping old wallpaper off my present house and previous houses. Damping the old wallpaper with a wet sponge is time consuming and no fun. Last weekend I treated myself to an Earlex steam wallpaper stripper from B & Q for £29.99. What a marvellous piece of equipment. Whereas the average room used to take me 2 days to strip using a damp sponge and scraper I completed my daughter’s bedroom in just 2 hours. The only problem I have now is that my wife knows how fast I can actually work. And I have been volunteered to decorate my mother in laws kitchen. The steam stripper is electric, on wheels and comes with a very long steam hose that gives you more than adequate reach, which is useful when trying to reach the top corners of a room. One you get going with the stripper (wallpaper) you soon develop a pattern of using the steamer on one section of wall then moving along whilst removing the now soft and easily removable paper with the other hand. This piece of equipment is a godsend I recommend anyone who is about to redecorate to invest in one of these. Over the years I’m sure it will save you hours of tedious sponging down.

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                        11.08.2000 01:03
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                        Spend just £30 on an Earlex wallpaper stripper & you will wonder why you ever used a bucket of water & a sponge. The Earlex stripper is an electric tool that makes stripping old wallpaper a piece of cake. just fill the base with water, switch on & wait approx 10 minutes for the steam to generate & away you go. It comes with a rectangular steam plate that you just hold to the wall, wait about 30 seconds for the paper to soften, then move to the next patch. I have found if you start at the top of the wall the soft paper you scrape will fall down making the bit below quicker to soften up! I can strip a 13' x 13' room in about 3/4 of an hour. There are various atatchments available to change the basic use of the machine, the sink unblocker was particularly effective. Don't bother going to the expense of hiring a machine as for £30, once purchased the machine is yours forever, you may find yourself loaning it to all & sundry!

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