I have a wall with (a very rubbery) latex paint topcoat over a painted surface on drywall that it is only marginally adhering to. Trying to sand or even rub on it removes it slowly and not very efficiently. I'm afraid to paint over it, so I want to remove it. Is there any mild chemical or other process that will loosen it enough to remove it, so we can patch, re-prime, and repaint over it?

  • If you live in the UK I would give "Sugar Soap" a try...
    – Mike Perry
    Jul 9, 2011 at 20:55
  • Thanks, Mike. I am in the US and apparently here it is simply called trisodium phosphate. I see it is used for deglossing paint, among other things. If I can find some, I'll see how it works.
    – dmaestro12
    Jul 9, 2011 at 22:09
  • If you try out TSP (trisodium phophate) make sure to use it with hot water and do wear good rubber gloves that go way up your wrists. Works great for cleaning up before painting but can play havoc with the skin on bare hands.
    – Michael Karas
    Nov 8, 2012 at 11:52

3 Answers 3


If it's not well adhered to the wall, the first thing I'd try would be heat - get a heat gun (sorry, your wife's hairdryer won't work) and a scraper and try that approach before resorting to any chemicals.

  • Well, the hair dryer did actually help a little (before asking this question ;-) to scrape off much of the wall, but I would use a heat gun if I had one. I'll probably try sealing and priming carefully, at this point just painting over what's left.
    – dmaestro12
    Jul 10, 2011 at 15:55
  • You can buy a serviceable heat gun for about $40. It has numerous uses besides stripping paint, some of which simply can't be done any other way, so it's a good investment.
    – KeithS
    Jul 11, 2011 at 20:18

Latex Paint reacts to Ammonia. If the surface below the latex paint is sound; simply apply a light solution of ammonia and the paint will bubble up. Then scrape off the paint. You may have to re-apply a few times to get all the paint off.


Used my Han steam cleaner with the hose nozzle, paint became soft and rubbery, peeled off in sections.

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