Remove Painted Old Wallpaper - No Pain

detroit_burbMarch 31, 2011

I'm trying to prepare my sweet old bungalow for sale. Every room has been restored or updated and is beautiful except for the original yellow and black tiled bathroom and I want to clean it up so that the whole house will shine.

The previous owner got lazy after stripping what looks like 1950 textured paper from a small bathroom. He left the glue with bits of old paper, sealed it over with what appears to be a latex glue sealant, then covered all of this with a textured wallpaper and painted over that layer. When I bought the house eight years ago, the newly done texture looked fresh, now it's disgusting, and peeling in places. The best solution was to remove it.

The first layer came off fairly easily because it is modern paper, and there was a sealant under it.

It then took me about four hours to strip about three square feet of the sealed over glue plus bits of old paper. I came to gardenweb for ideas before considering caving and buying toxic latex paint remover. my baby's room is next door so I really didn't want to do that.

Experimenting with things around the house that previous posters suggested, along with some creativity, this is the best, cheapest, easiest method I came up with.

Mix cheapest fabric softener 1:3 with water and leave it in a container. Take bounty paper towel (or any thin cloth like j-cloth) and soak in the solution, squeeze out a little bit. Stick it on the wall. Cover with vapor barrier of your choice and gently flatten it out (I used aluminum foil, but any plastic will work). Go hang out with your kids for a while - at least 30 min, and ignore. Come back and gently scrape towards you with a wallpaper scraper (I paid $15 from ACE) a few times, sponge a little more fabric softer, gently scrape again and it's all gone clear down to the lovely pea green original paint!! Reuse the paper towel and the foil ad infinitum. I must stress that you only need to scrape gently. If it is not soft enough, leave on for longer until it works.

This was under five minutes hands on per square foot time spent, and the bathroom smells lovely. No toxins, no gloves needed, very little waste because the paper towel and foil are reused.

You can test for lead in a small area before you do this. If you suspect lead, it is not wise to dry sand any areas, and read up on safe practice, as well as local code regarding this.

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"No toxins"

You can drink fabric softener?

It is very unlikely to be non-toxic.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 10:22AM
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Sounds like a great idea. It's certainly non-caustic, and I bet it smells good too.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 9:35AM
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