How to Remove Adhesive from Drywall

What You'll Need
Large cloth or old newspapers
Safety glasses
Warm water
Soft scrub brush or rags
Adhesive removal solvents like Goof Off
Detergent (dishwasher sprays, liquid soaps etc)
Spray bottle
Knife or blade
Hair dryer

Whenever you repaint or re-tile an old wall, you will sometime encounter leftover adhesive or residue. These adhesives come in many forms such as wallpaper glue, duct tape residue, or adhesives mixed with paint, and some even in layers from years of wall treatment. Unfortunately, since glue remnants take away the smoothness of the drywall surface and can destroy the overall look from the paint job from underneath, they have to go. Here are some steps you can take to revive the uniform surface of your drywall.

Step 1 - Make Preparations

Before you start to take the adhesive off the wall, you need to cover the surrounding area with loose cloth or old newspaper to collect all of the debris. Also, check if there are any electrical openings around; if so, then cover them properly.

Safety should also be among your top priorities in any DIY task, so be sure to put on your safety glasses and gloves at this time.

Step 2 - Identify Adhesive

You need to identify the type and cause of the adhesive on your wall before you can properly remove it. Some adhesives, like the wallpaper leftovers, can be easily cleaned up with hot water and soft scrub while others require more harsh methods. Usually, you'll want to start with the simplest solutions first, but knowing what you're dealing with will dictate what you can do about it.

Step 3 - Use Solvents

The easiest way to remove old glue is to scrub it off using liquid solvents. Adhesive removers are solvent scrubs and are generally enough to take care anything on your walls. You can also mix some dishwashing powder with warm water and spray it on the walls. Whichever you choose, wipe the wall with a damp cloth after the solvent has been left to sit, using some pressure, and the adhesive should come away with no problem.

Step 4 - Gently Remove Duct Tape

Duct tape on walls has very strong glue base that can peel off paint or parts of the drywall if you aren't careful. Gently raise a corner of the tape and, using a knife or blade, start cutting the contacts between the tape and wall to help it come off easily. Then, clean up any left over residue with warm water. Tape can also be removed by heating it with a hair dryer and then peeling it off.

Step 5 - Seek out More Expensive Tools or Professional Help

There are companies which make exclusive adhesive remover products like The Wagner. Wallpaper steamers will melt the glue on the wall, leaving you to simply wipe it off. The process involves a lot of heat and is messy, but it works. However, you need to be cautious and careful. Also, you can give the whole job to a professional cleaning company. This is highly recommended if you have tried the previous steps for removing old glues and adhesives, but the treatments haven't been successful.