How to Remove Adhesive From Painted Walls

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What You'll Need
Steam iron
Paper towels
Baby oil
Matching wall paint
Small paintbrush
Medium grit sand paper
Sandpaper block

When you are a homeowner, it is important to know how to remove adhesive from myriad surfaces. Adhesive can be left behind by tape, stickers or other products, and if you attempt to paint or finish a painted wall with adhesive residue left on it, you will wind up with a poor result. Read on to learn how to remove adhesive from painted walls.

Step 1 - Examine Adhesive Closely

glue seeping out of a tube

In order to know how to move forward you need to know what you are dealing with. Certain adhesives require different practices in order to remove. Gently rub your finger over the adhesive. If it is hard and has no give you are dealing with a strong adhesive, like super bonding glue.

If, however, it feels soft and pliable you are looking at a rubber cement type. Sticker and tape residue is usually crusty-looking and relatively flat, and often some of the paint around it is missing.

Step 2 - Remove Initial Adhesive With Friction

There are no special tools needed for this step. Use your finger and gently but firmly rub the adhesive in a circular manner. Rubber cement and some other adhesives will react to the friction you are causing and heat you are generating and start to ball up. When this happens you can easily remove it. Even though this may be working you will most likely still have more adhesive left behind.

Step 3 - Use a Tougher Steam and Heat Technique

Steam rising from an iron

Sometimes the worst enemy of an adhesive is water and heat. Plug the iron into an outlet and let it sit until it's hot and steamy. Place the anvil close to the wall and allow the steam to penetrate the adhesive for five minutes. Use a paper towel and gently scrub the area in a circular motion. Use firmer pressure and more steam if not enough of the adhesive comes off.

Step 4 - Dissolve the Adhesive

Sticker and tape adhesive can easily be dissolved. If the previous attempts failed then this may work. Pour some of the baby oil onto the sponge and wipe the adhesive with it. Let it soak for 20 minutes and then scrub off with paper towels. You may need to add touch-up paint.

Step 5 - Use Gentle Sanding

Do not sand the wall if at all possible. The point of learning how to remove adhesive is that you can avoid having to resort to drastic measures. Sanding, however, may be needed in the case of super bond glue or if all else has failed. The hard crystallization is impervious to steam and friction. Gently sand the sharp edges down so that the adhesive is flat. You can then repaint the wall with the matching paint.