Blu Tack is a quick and easy way to display hang light wall decorations such as posters and prints, but it can sometimes leave a stain. Light-coloured walls and wallpapers are a particular problem when it comes to Blu Tack stains after you have removed your posters.
The stains left by Blu Tack are, thankfully, not blue but look like a general oil stain. There are, however, ways to remove stains if you do not want to completely redecorate.
If you are renting a property or you are a student in halls, for example, you will want to ensure that you don’t leave any stains on the walls as you may have to pay for the damage.
For homeowners, while painting over stains is sometimes an option it is best to know the best ways to remove Blu Tack stains to save you time and money.
Why Does Blu Tack Leave Stains?
Blu Tack contains oils and other ingredients that help form the adhesive to make it sticky which means it is best used on non-porous surfaces, such as good quality wallpaper and paints (Bostik).
If you use cheaper paints and wallpapers you are likely to experience issues with stains, especially if the adhesive has been on the wall for a long period.
Generally, the stains do not cause too much of a problem and there are different ways to remove the stain, depending on whether it is on wallpaper or paint.
It is important to follow the correct instructions for removing Blu Tack depending on the wall surface so that you do not risk damaging wallpaper. Once the Blu Tack is removed from the wall you can then work on removing the stain if, indeed, it has left a mark.
Equipment Needed to Erase Blu Tack Stains from Walls
You will need to make sure that you have the correct tools at hand when starting to remove Blu Tack stains from your wall. If you are not prepared you may be tempted to simply try your best and with what you have and end up ruining the wall.
For effective removal of Blu Tack and Blu Tack stains you will require the following:
- A small ball of Blu Tack
- Plastic spoon
- Chewing gum remover or similar
- Citrus-based stain remover
- Rubber gloves
- Kitchen towel, light cloth or sponge
Removing Blu Tack from wallpaper
Removing Blu Tack and Blu Tack stains from your wallpaper can be challenging. The last thing that you want is to tear your wallpaper or rub away the pattern of the paper.
The gentle way to take Blu Tack off wallpaper is to softly roll your fingers over the area to collect as much of the blu tack as you can, similar to how you would remove sticky substances from your hands.
You can also try to keep a small bit of Blu Tack on your finger and run it over the Blu Tack stuck to the wall to see if it attaches to the bit in your hand.
If using your finger is tricky you can roll a small ball of Blu Tack and lightly dab on the area where the Blu Tack is being stubborn. You should take extra care if the Blu Tack has been on the wallpaper for a long period as it does get stickier over time.
Removing Blu Tack from Painted Walls
While Blu Tack is generally easier to remove from painted walls than from wallpaper you still need to take care not to peel off the paint. If you take off the Blu Tack too roughly you risk-taking pieces of paint with it, especially if the walls are damp.
Follow the same methods of rolling or dabbing the Blu Tack from the wall but if it is being stubborn you will need to look at other options. It is best to take your time with the removal process as it will preserve your walls and, as a bonus, you are able to reuse the Blu Tack.
Other Ways to Remove Blu Tack
If you have tried the dabbing and rolling method and you are still unable to remove Blu Tack you can try the following:
- Use a plastic scraper, spoon, or even a plastic cake/dough scraper will work and scrape off the Blu Tack carefully from the wall
- Chewing gum remover or ‘sticky stuff’ remover may be used to help dissolve the Blu Tack so that it can be removed more easily. You should use a cloth when using these products and they can also help remove the actual Blu Tack stain from the wall. When using any type of remover, whether store-bought to homemade, it is vital that you do a small patch test somewhere out of sight in case it leaves a mark
- Dampen the area covered in Blu Tack with a soft cloth and allow to dry before removing with a scraper. This is a good option if the Blu Tack is particularly sticky after being on a wall for a long time
- For smaller pieces of Blu Tack, you can try a pencil rubber to gently tease from the wall
- Using a soap solution or a home-made citrus cleaner to dissolve the Blu Tack
- Like chewing gum, Blu Tack can sometimes be easier to remove when it is hard and cold. You can wait for this to happen naturally or you could use the cold setting on a hairdryer to quicken this process. Be careful if you are using ice to cool the Blu Tack if it is on wallpaper and you may cause further damage
Step-by-Step to Removing Blu Tack Stains
Once the Blu Tack has been removed from the wall you can see if it has left a stain behind. You may be lucky that there is no stain at all and this is likely to depend on the colour and texture of your wall.
Erasing Blu Tack stains takes more time than actually removing the adhesive itself so you will need patience. The stain that is left behind after removing Blu Tack is an oily residue behind where the adhesive was pressed into the wall.
For oily stains, Stain Removal 101 advise that citrus-based cleaning solutions work best as they can break down the grease. Using a homemade citrus-based solution is also better for the environment and is not hazardous.
Like many shop-bought cleaners that can be flammable. See how you can remove Blu Tack stains in these easy steps
- Wear a pair of rubber cleaning gloves to protect your hands as the citrus can irritate the skin, especially if it is dry or cracked
- Dab a small amount of cleaning product to your cloth/sponge and dab on the wall. If you are using a shop-bought cleaner make sure you follow the instructions and test in an inconspicuous area in case it stains
- Leave for a minute or 2 and then remove using a clean wet cloth/sponge and then gently dry with a cloth by dabbing rather than vigorous rubbing
- If the stain is stubborn you may want to repeat the process once the area is dry
- For very stubborn stains you can use an old soft-bristle toothbrush and gently move back and forwards on the stain, being careful not to tear the paint or wallpaper
- If the oil stain is large you can add a small squirt of washing-up liquid to your citrus-based spray to see if that breaks down the oils in the stain
Making a Homemade Citrus-Based Stain Remover
You can buy numerous stain removal sprays, chewing gum removers and ‘sticky stuff’ removers from supermarkets and hardware stores but you can make a simple solution at home.
Making your stain removal spray is easy and you can ensure that the use of chemicals is kept to a minimum.
This citrus-based solution can be used for cleaning other areas of the house and is particularly good in the bathroom but you will need to test a small area and be careful on certain materials, such as wood.
For your homemade citrus-based stain remover you will need:
- A spray bottle
- 1/2 cup of white vinegar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
Simple add the lemon and vinegar to the spray bottle, top with water and shake before use. If you are making the solution in advance you can also add the rind of the lemon to the bottle for a more intense smell.
You will only need a small amount of spray for removing the Blu Tack from your wall but you can store the remainder and use it on other household stains.
As the spray does not contain a lot of chemicals it is not very strong but should help you remove the oily Blu Tack stain from your wall.
Covering Blu Tack Stains
If you find that you cannot fully remove Blu Tack stains from your wall you will need to look at how you can cover the stain. You will still need to make sure that you have removed the blob of Blu Tack from the wall before painting over or adding a new poster or covering.
If you do paint over the stain you will likely need to paint the whole wall, especially if it has been a while since the wall was originally painted.
Before repainting your wall you will need to clean off as much as the Blu Tack stain as possible and use sandpaper to smooth off the remainder of the stain. This will ensure that the oil stain does not seep through your new layer of paint.
If you cannot get a stain off wallpaper you may be able to add a new strip if you have leftovers from when you decorated or you may need to buy a new batch.
The quickest and easiest way to cover stubborn Blu Tack stains on wallpaper is to cover with pictures, photographs or a corkboard. This is the cheapest and easiest method until you are fully decorating again.
Avoiding Blu Tack Stains on Walls
While some Blu Tack stains are easy to remove others are tricker. If you know that the paint or wallpaper on your walls is not the best quality it may be better to avoid Blue Tack and use pins or nails instead.
In general, Blu Tack is better used on paint than wallpaper unless the wallpaper is thick and has a smooth texture or vinyl finish.
If you have light-coloured walls you can get white coloured adhesive, which may still leave oil stains, the stain may not be as obvious.
Glass and metal surfaces are also good for Blue Tack so you could look around your room to see if there are alternatives to putting it on paint and wallpaper.
If you know that your wall surface is vulnerable to stains use fresh Blu Tack rather than an older blob—you can use older Blu Tack on a pinboard, fridges, or other smooth surfaces. Older Blu Tack can become very sticky so there is more chance of damaging walls.
To Sum Up
To clarify, if you need to use Blu Tack to hang art, photography is a quick and easy way to do so. If you are using Blu Tack it is best to apply to smooth surfaces or good quality wallpaper and use a fresh pack.
When removing Blu Tack make sure you dab or roll with either your finger or a clean cloth. If there is a stain where the Blu Tack has been, you can use a ‘sticky stuff’ remover or a citrus-based remove to spray the area before dabbing with a cloth and leaving to dry.
Remember to test a discreet area of the wall before using any products so as not to risk causing further damage to your walls.