How to remove wallpaper adhesive off of plaster walls

Updated February 21, 2017

You may think the hardest part is over when you remove wallpaper from plaster walls, only to discover you need to tackle the adhesive. Wallpaper glue bonds quickly and effectively to plaster walls, so removing it requires loosening the adhesive enough to wipe it from the wall without harming the surface. Remove wallpaper glue from a plaster wall the same as you would drywall, with a combination of soap and water and physical effort.

Fill a large spray bottle with warm water. Pour 2 tsp of mild liquid dish soap into the bottle. Replace the lid and shake the bottle to distribute the soap.

Lay towels or sheets on the floor under the plaster walls to catch any water runoff.

Spray the wallpaper adhesive with the soapy water. Allow the liquid to loosen the glue for 10 to 15 minutes.

Fill a bucket with warm water. Wet a cloth with the water. Starting at the top of the plaster wall, begin wiping the adhesive from the surface. Dunk the cloth into the bucket of water to remove the adhesive as you continue wiping down the wall.

Respray areas of hard-to-remove adhesive with additional soapy water and allow it to remain on the walls for another 10 minutes. Rinse the adhesive and all the soap from the walls with the wet cloth. Dry the walls with clean cloths.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray bottle
  • 2 tsp mild liquid dish soap
  • Towels
  • Bucket
  • Cloths
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About the Author

Constance Barker, located in the hills of southern Ohio, is the owner and writer of several financial, credit report and travel websites. She started writing in 1999 for private clients and began creating website content in 2004. She gained expertise in home improvement after she and her husband built their home themselves.