We hate wallpaper.
Hate is a strong word. But I can honestly say that we hate wallpaper.
Our first house was covered in it, and our second house was too.
And not just any old wallpaper…ugly (ugly!) wallpaper. Some of it with layers of smoke-stains on it. It is a lot of work to get that gunk off the walls!!
We moved into a home that had wallpaper covered in smoke stains in about 75% of the house. We were able to peel the wallpaper off easily, but the backing and glue remained.
What We Did
For about half of the walls, we used a mixture of fabric softener and water to soak the walls before scrubbing the glue off. I hadn’t realized how chemically-strong fabric softener was, and everyone who worked on our home ended up catching a respiratory illness. I doubt it was coincidental.
There had to be a better way.
Thankfully, a friend lent us a wall steamer. If you can get your hands on one, I would definitely suggest using it. It gets the most glue off the first time around. Steam the patch of wall really well and use a putty knife to scrape the backing (and/or wallpaper too) off the wall. Get as much of the glue off with your putty knife while the wall is still hot.
The Method For Vinegar Washing
My Mom figured out this method, and it worked so well I wanted to share it.
The last step is to fill a bucket with hot water (as hot as you can manage) and pour about a cup of white vinegar into the water. It is best to have one bucket, one scouring pad, and one rag washcloth per person. You will be throwing each scouring pad and washcloth away afterwards.
Soak a patch of wall really well with the vinegary water. And by really well, I mean really well. I would often soak really glue-y patch twice. After a minute or so, use a scouring pad with a wrung-out washcloth behind it to scrub the glue off the walls. The washcloth helps ensure that water doesn’t run down your arms.
If the glue isn’t coming off easily, you probably didn’t soak the wall well enough.
If there are big chunks left, you can use the putty knife to crape some more, but if not, you can use a wrung-out washcloth, and wipe the remaining glue off the walls. This may take a few rinses to get all the glue off.
Repeat for remaining patches of walls.
The bucket will get grimy and slimy pretty fast, so be prepared to dump lots of buckets of gooey mess somewhere. Don’t dump on the grass as vinegar kills grass. I also would not suggest dumping down any household drains, as the water can be pretty thick and nasty. I would be afraid of the drains clogging once the water cooled.
Ask friends and family to help.
There is no way we could have finished our walls on time without friends and family helping us. Besides the companionship, the work will go so much faster with others helping. Beg, borrow, feed generously and do whatever it takes to have someone or multiple someones help you!!
This is the method that worked best for us. How do you best remove wallpaper and wallpaper glue?
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