One of the most frustrating aspects of re-papering your walls is trying to remove wallpaper glue, once you’ve taken off the old paper. Although a lucky individual may find they don’t have a problem with the old glue, more often than not, you’re left with a sticky, slimy mess of old paste that refuses to come off.
Problem is, there isn’t one tried-and-true solution to removing the wallpaper glue, which probably stems from the varieties of glue available on the market, as well as how long the glue has been on the walls.
To help you find a solution to your sticky problem, here are several different ways how to remove wallpaper glue – try one, and if it doesn’t work right away, don’t get discouraged! It could take a few tries, but eventually it will come off.
Fabric Softener Method
Fill a spray bottle with a solution of water and fabric softener, and spray it over the troublesome glue areas. With a drop cloth on the floor, use a trowel or putty knife to scrape off the glue after it has become soft – be careful, since things can get somewhat messy. Then wipe the walls down with your solution and a sponge, to get rid of any residue.
If you’ve already removed the wallpaper and have sticky walls, grab a roll of tin foil and your household iron. Place the tinfoil over the glue, and iron the wall until the glue is very soft and warm. Use a rag or cloth to then wipe the now-runny glue off the walls.
Spray Bottle Method
Fill an old spray bottle with hot, soapy water, and spray it onto the wallpaper. Get the paper completely soaked, and let it sit for awhile. The paper should come off easily, and then you can use a trowel to scrape off the glue. Make sure you have a drop cloth on the floor where you’re working, since the glue scrapings can get rather messy.
From your local hardware store, hunt down some tri sodium phosphate, or TSP, which is what you might need to use to clean your walls before painting anyhow. Wear rubber gloves when you use this solution, since it is a chemical, but combining this with water should be enough to loosen the glue and allow you to wash it off. Use a sponge to put the solution on your walls, and have a second bucket of warm water to rinse the sponge out frequently – to make sure you’re not just moving the glue around on the wall.
Place a drop cloth on the floor, and combine about one cup of white vinegar to a gallon of hot water. Using either a sponge or a spray bottle, moisten sections of the wall and wait for the paste to get soft. Take a 4" putty knife and scrape off as much glue as you can, and follow up by washing the wall with your vinegar water and a sponge. After the wall has dried, get rid of any other small residue bits by sanding with light sandpaper.
If all else fails…
If you’ve tried these solutions and they didn’t work, here’s a final way to remove wallpaper glue that may take awhile – but is almost guaranteed to work. Take some masking tape, or even better, duct tape, and apply a strip over the section you need to remove the glue from. Press it down firmly… and lift off.
In the majority of cases, the glue will stick to the underside of the tape. If you’re doing a whole wall, this could take awhile… but for smaller problem sections, it’s worth a try.