How to Remove Wall Adhesive From Painted Walls

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Poster putty

  • Thin plastic putty knife

  • Citrus-based stain remover

  • Cotton balls

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Vinegar


Avoid popular “goo” or “goof” removers. They will remove the wall adhesive, but they’ll take the paint with it, too.

Soak cotton balls in cleaning solution.

Wall adhesives, such as poster putty and double-sided mounting squares, help you decorate your walls without creating holes. If you live in a cinder block-wall dorm or rent from a finicky landlord, these wall adhesives may be the only way you can hang up your wall décor. Eventually, you'll have to remove the wall adhesives either because you're redecorating or you're moving. Remove your wall adhesives and not the paint beneath them.


Video of the Day

Poster Putty

Step 1

Scrape the poster putty gently with your putty knife. Pull off putty that comes off easily.

Step 2

Roll your poster putty into a ball. Press your putty ball against the stubborn wall-attached poster putty.

Step 3

Remove your putty ball. The ball should have picked up some of the wall-attached poster putty. Continue blotting your wall-attached poster putty with your poster putty ball, until you remove most, if not all, of the offending poster putty.


Step 4

Soak a cotton ball with your citrus-based cleaner. Apply the soaked cotton ball to the stubborn wall-attached putty to loosen it. Remove the putty by peeling it off with your scraper or fingernail.

Step 5

Wipe away any remaining oily marks from the putty with your soaked cotton ball.

Foam Adhesive Squares

Step 1

Slide your putty knife beneath the corner of your attached adhesive square. Pull up that corner gently.


Step 2

Roll that corner upward and away from its original location carefully. If you encounter a lot of resistance, stop. Otherwise, roll up the entire adhesive square from that corner.

Step 3

Soak a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol. Press the soaked cotton ball against a stubborn mounting square until the square is saturated with alcohol. Carefully scrape off the square. This method also works to remove remaining adhesive after you've removed the square. Try vinegar if you don't get the results you wanted from the alcohol.

Step 4

Wipe away any alcohol or vinegar residue with a clean, water-dampened cotton ball.



Katherine Harder

Katherine Harder kicked off her writing career in 1999 in the San Antonio magazine "Xeriscapes." She's since worked many freelance gigs. Harder also ghostwrites for blogs and websites. She is the proud owner of a (surprisingly useful) Bachelor of Arts in English from Texas State University.