Just in case you are considering taking any wallpaper down soon and were thinking that maybe solvent technology had advanced to the point where you could buy some kind of solution at the hardware store that would make this easy, I can from personal experience tell you, “not so much.”
There is nothing that will take off wallpaper except hot water and a lot of work. The blue stuff that you buy in the hardware store may promise you otherwise, but it is not so. That nasty blue stuff is just leading you down the garden path.
What *will* the blue stuff take off? Your manicure, your fingerprints and ultimately most of the skin on your hands. In addition to this it will leave tiny droplets of dark blue on your walls that will resist all attempts at scrubbing them off and then have to be painted over twice because, “oh look, you can see these little blue spots through the paint.”
This blue stuff often comes with a weird little circular device fitted with toothed wheels. Sounds kinky, no? I hope it is, because its stated purpose of “scoring” the wallpaper so that the blue stuff will penetrate deep into the congealed paste below the paper without damaging the actual wall is, plainly, a lie. If you run little toothed wheels over your wall you will have little tooth-shaped holes in your wall. It is that simple. You will then have to spackle over said holes. Of course, you’ll have to scrub the walls first, because otherwise the spackle will not stick. So sad…
Then you will realize that, all things considered, that worked for shit & take out your putty knife to sort of scrape the wallpaper away. This should really only be done in 20 minute increments, because otherwise you will get so frustrated at your inability to remove very much wallpaper this way at all that you start to engage the walls with a heavy hand. Plaster will be gouged out — in small dings at first, and then with increasing depth and regularity. Now you have to go to the store to buy joint compound because spackle will just not cut it for the cratery mess you have made of your wall. On the way to the hardware store you will think two things:
1) That wallpaper paste, because of its supremely tenacious power, should obviously be reserved for use in the space program.
2) You can’t take off wallpaper. How sad is that? Is this what you got that graduate degree for? How can a person, unable even to remove wallpaper, be expected to form lasting or meaningful relationships?
You will then dissolve in tears in the parking lot at Home Depot, believing that perhaps what you need is a jumbo box of rat poison. The moral here: Do not put wallpaper up ever. It may be your own life you save.