Old Wallpaper Glue

burt4750March 10, 2013

Help!! I have stripped an old wallpaper border in my hallway and am having a heck of a time removing the remaining glue on the sheetrock walls. I have tried wallpaper remover (straight concentrate - no water added), straight vinegar, Goo Gone, Dawn and hot water,sanding, and plain old hot water. My only choices left - it seems - are fabric softener or TSP. I am stumped!! I have even spoken to a paint store person and they were of no help. This glue, when scraped off, resembles latex rubber in that it is stretchy! I know the wall was sized before the border was hung (approximately 20 years ago).

Does anyone have any other suggestions. I have sprayed and scraped for HOURS and have only gotten the glue off of one wall that is about 8 feet wide!


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Try ammonia in a garden sprayer. Protect the floors and wear a respirator.Crack a window too. Ammonia will break down a lot of things that nothing else would touch.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 11:17AM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Sand it and or scrape it off( paste or adhesive) with a wall paper razor scraper. Or just skim over it.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 5:14AM
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Here's a crazy suggestion, but it might work.

It sounds almost like what you're dealing with is rubber cement or one of its kin (who knows what great ideas pop into the mind of DIYers). If so, you should be able to buy a rubber-cement pick-up at at art store. This is a small square of gummy rubber that grabs rubber cement and lifts it off surfaces. It works on some contact cements, too. You should be able to rub it over the walls and remove the adhesive.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 5:55PM
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In defense of DIYer's I doubt that's what it was. My 1937 center hall colonial's center hall was done with this type of paste and they were NOT DIYer's. I don't have any suggestions since I picked mine off piece by tiny piece. You have my thoughts and good luck. It's a nightmare but worth it in the end.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 9:15PM
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TSP is really pretty amazing stuff. Yes, I know it's toxic to fish, but so are many other things we do. I dispose of mine by pouring it into the yard, rather than direct to wastewater. I use it as rarely as possible, but sometimes only it will do.

Sizing, I've determined, is only dilute wallpaper paste, which TSP is very effective for. If the stuff you're finding is not water soluble, then it's maybe something that went over the sizing.

I also use "tincture of time" a lot. Spray water, let sit, scrape or wipe; spray water, let sit, scrape or wipe.

Finally, I have one odd solution for some things... I paint over them (usually with latex), and once the paint is dry but before it's fully cured, it's easy to scrape or cut a lumpy substrate away. I use this for old, very hard paint drips and edges, for example, which come away sometimes like butter once a new bit of paint is put over top. If this glue of yours is lumpy, it might work.

Karin L

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 3:44PM
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I was looking for a way to remove old glue left on a wall under a border I took down and I found this thread. I just wanted to add my solution.

After having tried TSP, vinegar, acetone, paint thinner etc I was thinking that a foam that would set and dissolve the glue was needed.Then I remembered that my wife used to use Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom foam to clean the shower. However I made her stopped when I discovered that it was degrading the silicone caulk.

So I spayed the sticky glue residue with it. Let it set for 5 minutes and bingo! - it all came off with minimal scrubbing with a terry rag. I will probably give it a wipe with vinegar before painting to neutralize any detergent residue.

Hope this helps someone!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 4:07PM
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