Removing Wallpaper Glue - DIY & cheap - Need Advice

Todd&Copper

<font color=darkorchid>Sweet Chicken, that is one
Joined
Mar 10, 2006
The previous owners of my house decided on a country cross-stitch pattern wallpaper for the kitchen, which is not really DH and my taste. We decided to remove the paper and go with a warm golden color. The paper is a non-porous vinyl type. I have had very little trouble getting the vinyl layer off, but I need some kind of solvent for the underlying paper & glue. I have read about a water and fabric softener mixtuer, and a vinegar and water mixture. Anyone have any experience with either? I know there are commercial products available as well - anyone have opinions as to whether they are any better than the cheap-o methods?
TIA!
 

samanthacatangel

<font color=blue>I am filled with useless info. To
Joined
Apr 27, 2006
My best friend does interior design, and I called her when I had this problem. She told me to use a little Dawn dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle with hot water. Saturated the area, then I used a plastic scraper to take off the stuck on paper, and the glue came off with a sponge and the Dawn solution.

And TONS of elbow grease.

HTH, Samantha
 

Kies99

I Can has Cheezburger???
Joined
Nov 9, 2006
Dif is what you need (www.zinsser.com).

You can buy a cheap tool at any hardware store that is round and you roll it around the paper and it scores it. You then can buy some Dif Wallpaper Stripper (many different types: liquid, gell, etc...) and put that on. Give some time and it'll come right off. Not much elbow grease is needed at all.

Worked great for us and was not expensive.
 

PinballFamily

<font color=darkcoral>Yes, I have scrapping suppli
Joined
Sep 25, 2006
I've done this zillions of times - long story! Big old house...no money to hire out help...you get the picture.

I score the paper lightly with a box cutter or utility knife. Then warm/hot water from a trigger squirt bottle does the trick. I usually work on a series of 2 x 2 foot sections - squirt one area...wait a few minutes and reapply the water if the paper soaks the water up quickly and it starts to dry...then squirt the next section and let that soak while you're scraping the first section with a wallpaper removal scraper (usually a long-handled thing with a 2" or so razor blade). Sometimes if the wallpaper was really cheap(!) you can even just scrape the wet/moist wall with a regular putty knife and it falls right off. After a section or two, you'll figure out the proper timing so you don't really have to work hard to get the paper off.

Any really stuck on spots (and there's always a few), just re-hit with a squirt and wait a minute or two. Time is really your friend here - get a few patches going and you won't have to use much elbow grease at all - once the paper is saturated and has had time to absorb the water, it comes off easily.

It usually works like a breeze - the first times I tried the commercial removers and didn't really notice any difference. This is a lot cheaper, too. We do have plaster walls - not wallboard. Not sure if this makes a difference.
 

Todd&Copper

<font color=darkorchid>Sweet Chicken, that is one
Joined
Mar 10, 2006
Thanks everyone! I'll try the Dawn solution first, and if that doesn't work I'll get the commercial stuff.
Pinball - I first tried warm water and it isn't getting the glue off, but thanks for the suggestion!
 

WDWorld2003

DIS Veteran
DVC Gold
Joined
Jan 12, 2003
Last year I bought a Scunci steamer for around $40.00 at Target and it was great! After years of removing wallpaper with DIF, etc. the steamer was a dream and I didn't have to use so much elbow grease and no chemicals! It was still somewhat tedious but SO MUCH EASIER. Plus you can use the Scunci for other things after you finish the wallpaper removal job.
 

fourfoxesinpa

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 6, 2004
My son used this problem for his Science Fair project last year.

After he used the tool called the Paper Tiger (puts lots of tiny holes in the paper), he used different wetting agents to see which worked best.

He used (1) hot water & vinegar (2) DIF gel (3) plain hot water (4) Coke (5) hot water and Non-Ultra Joy dish detergent.

After leaving the liquids on the wall for five minutes, he started scraping and the clear winner was the dish detergent. That paper pulled off in big pieces and took the backing paper with it. The others came off in little pain in the patooty pieces. We surmised it was because the dish detergent contains a surfactant that weaked the "tension" between the paper, glue and wall.

Warning...proud momma moment ahead - :goodvibes his project won him the Principal's Pride award.
 
  • hsmamato2

    <font color=magenta>Tink in Training-Good Girl,Bad
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2005
    My best friend does interior design, and I called her when I had this problem. She told me to use a little Dawn dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle with hot water. Saturated the area, then I used a plastic scraper to take off the stuck on paper, and the glue came off with a sponge and the Dawn solution.

    And TONS of elbow grease.

    HTH, Samantha
    3 weeks ago we used dishsoap and water in a spray bottle, spray,wait a minute, and scrape with putty knife,worked wonderfully!
     

    mickeyfan2

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 21, 2004
    Also get the scoring tool that you use in a circular motion. It helps the solution to get behind the paper. Good luck.
     

    jedijill

    Chiefs fan living in Bronco country
    Joined
    Jan 17, 2005
    Use liquid fabric softener liluted with water. Spray on and let it set.

    HTH

    Jill in KC
     

    samanthacatangel

    <font color=blue>I am filled with useless info. To
    Joined
    Apr 27, 2006
    If the top vinyl comes off, there would be no need to score it as it would damage the wall.

    I had one section where the wallpaper came off in three sections: top layer (vinyl), and then a thin layer of paper and a layer of glue. So, I peeled the top layer right off, and there was no need to score the other layers, just worked it as I outlined above.

    Another section I worked with wouldn't peel off, so I had to score the entire wallpaper with a wallpaper scorer, then saturate it with Dawn/water, and work each layer off. Just be careful, I did take a small piece out of the wall - so I learned how to putty, too.

    Samantha
     
  • mom*to*2*princesses

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 10, 2005
    We have a very old, large house and have removed wallpaper from almost every single room over the last 2 years. We use a steamer.

    Usually the process is:
    1. Peel off the top "finish" layer of the paper.
    2. Steam off the layer of remaining paper backing, using putty knives to get as much of the glue off as possible (sometimes we use a paper tiger to score this paper layer).
    3. Use a good sponge (like a Dobi) and a big bucket of water and just scrub the heck out of it. You have to go over it again and again to make sure you get all of the glue residue, and you need to change your water often.

    Our walls were mostly down to bare plaster, so I don't know how this works on drywall, but this is the process that we found to be best. It's not fast though... We did try the different wallpaper remover gels, but I really didn't notice much of benefit and I really hated putting all those chemicals on the walls. Maybe someone you know has a steamer that you can borrow?

    Good luck!
     

    Hollybh

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 24, 2006
    Easiest trick. My mom dies this for a living. She says to put some fabric softener or dish soap in the hottest water you can stand. Take a cloth and wipe it all over section of wall, small sections at a time. Should come off easily, maybe more difficult if the previous owner didn;t size their paper before putting it up.
     

    dogcarbon

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2006
    The Dif stuff never really worked for me.

    I have used hot, hot, hot water in a spray bottle after you take the top layer off. Then a scrapper.

    Also, I had one room that was just too difficult, had tried all the tricks, and I rented a steamer. Best money I ever spent on that steamer rental. And to keep the water mess minimal I used towels on the bottom of the walls/area I was working in.
     

    fourfoxesinpa

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 6, 2004
    And don't forget to wash down your walls when you're finished with TSP (Tri sodium phosphate) to clean off any traces of glue.

    Good luck.
     

    TheRatPack

    Under penalty of law this tag not to be removed
    Joined
    Sep 1, 2003
    Our house isn't that old, but we learned that whoever put up the wallpaper when it was built put it right on top of unpainted sheetrock :( There is no easy way to remove wallpaper from unprepped sheetrock, the top layer of sheetrock paper comes off with it. Luckily I wanted the textured look in that room, so we sealed the sheetrock once we were done, primed it and sprayed a knockdown texture on it.
     

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