Old Wallpaper Paste
(crossposted to the cleaning tips forum)
I live in a 1922 house with plaster walls. I am stripping wallpaper in one room. This paper was applied in the 80s, and whoever did it did not do a thorough job of stripping the older (early 70s vintage) wallpaper that was already there. I am faced with quite a bit of wall that has stripped relatively cleanly, and other parts where I have had to steam and scrape to get the old paper off. Sadly, it appears that she (I know who it was) did not use pre-pasted paper, and really slathered on the wallpaper paste under this older layer. Before I prep the surface for my new paper, I have to get the old paste off, and I already know it's going to be a chore.
My Wagner steamer has a squeegee head; I think that might work as a first pass, but what would you use to catch the pasty water as it rolls down the wall? I don't want it on the floor, which is a white oak hardwood in poor condition; my plan right now is to clean it gently and then cover it with a rug eventually.
What do you think? Or just a natural cleaner and a sponge and buckets and buckets of hot water?