How to Remove Construction Glue from Walls


Lisa asked: How do I remove glue from vinyl covered sheetrock? I purchased a mobile home. When the home was built, the builders left glue all over the vinyl covered sheet rock. The walls are white with yellow glue smeared in several places. I thought it would be easy to remove, but found it is adhered to the walls so strongly that scrubbing will damage the wall. Is there a possible solution to remove the glue without damaging the walls?

Construction-grade adhesives are designed to last, so removing them from walls without damaging your property can be extremely difficult.  If you’re in a new home with sloppy  adhesive application, it’s advisable to contact the builder or manufacturer as they are responsible for the cleanup.  If that is not an option, the following steps should improve the appearance of your walls.

You Will Need:

  • Adhesive remover (commonly found in home improvement or auto parts stores)
  • Paint brush (small enough to use with precision over the glue spots)
  • Straight edge or razor blade, preferably in a hand scraper
  • Cloth Scotch scrubbing pad
  • Soft cloth
  • Warm, soapy water

Steps to Remove the Glue:

  1. Spot test the adhesive in a hidden area to check for both color fastness and actual damage to the wall paper/paint/wall.  If it does not pass the spot check, do not continue with the remaining steps.
  2. Follow the directions on the adhesive remover before use, particularly for ventilation needs and the application process.  Most of the time, it can be safely applied with a paint brush.
  3. Using the brush, “paint” the adhesive remover directly onto the adhesive.
  4. Let it sit for the amount of time indicated on the adhesive packaging.
  5. Use the straight edge or razor blade to GENTLY scrape the glue off.  DO NOT gouge the walls.
  6. If the glue is thick, you may need to reapply.  If so, repeat steps 3-5 as necessary.
  7. If only traces of the glue remain, scrub very gently with a DRY Scotch scrubbing pad.  Adding water will damage the wallpaper.
  8. Once the glue has been removed, lightly dampen the soft cloth with warm, soapy water.  (Do not make the cloth wet or you will damage the wallpaper or drywall.)
  9. Pat or blot away any remaining adhesive remover with the damp cloth.
  10. Allow to air dry.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Always spot test in a hidden spot before attempting to clean your walls.  You may not have adhesive stuck to the back of your closet wall, but you can still test the walls for color fastness in there.
  • Never try to remove glue or adhesive from bare drywall or damaged wallpaper.  The process will quickly ruin the walls.  Drywall, also known as sheetrock, is quickly destroyed by moisture and the only way to fix it is to replace it.
  • If you damage the wall by gouging the wallpaper or drywall, do not apply any type of moisture to the spot.  Stop the removal process immediately.

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