DIF Gel Ready-to-Use Wallpaper Stripper

DIF Gel Ready-to-Use Wallpaper Stripper

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DIF Makes A DIF-ference

Jul 14, 2007
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Works as intended, is odorless and non-toxic.

Cons:Spray bottle is not fabulous.

The Bottom Line: Read DIF's instructions on proper technique in order for this product to work properly. It's easy to use and does the job.

With the summer off from work, I decided to tackle a bathroom redecoration in my house. I thought that it would be simple to take down the wallpaper and paint. I thought it would be fun. Everyone said it would be easy! I was in for quite a surprise.

DIF Gel Ready-to-Use Wallpaper Stripper is a product that is used to take down wallpaper and remove the adhesive backing often left behind on the wall. Too often, wallpaper is hung without pre-prepping the sheetrock walls (in order to save time and money) and makes it an arduous, at best, job to remove or change the wallpaper at a later date. Eventually, orange and brown velvet wallpaper goes out of style so when you hung it in 1977, you didn’t think ahead to the 21st century, did you??

I began my project by purchasing the DIF Gel Ready-to-Use Wallpaper Stripper in the spray bottle. I mistakenly thought that one bottle would suffice but I ultimately needed three spray bottles worth, realizing in hindsight that I should have bought the gallon jug. DIF has no shelf expiration so a gallon jug could be closed and saved for the year 2037 when orange and brown velvet wallpaper comes back into style and I need to remove my Victorian floral pattern (everything comes back into style, right??)

I also purchased the requisite scorer and scraper. Then I began. We (my handy friend helped me…. okay, did most of it but that’s just semantics) tore off the existing loose wallpaper and saw that the walls were NOT prepped properly back in the day. This told us that stripping would be much more difficult and time consuming. When all the wallpaper was torn away, we scored the walls and sprayed the DIF gel.


DIF Gel Ready-to-Use Wallpaper Stripper is a translucent-like blue gel with, according to the website, a mild odor. We smelled NO odor. The spray bottle is shaped exactly like a Windex bottle so it is easy to hold and very easy to squirt.

DIF Gel Ready-to-Use Wallpaper Stripper is made by a company called Zinsser. They make many home products like paints and finishes. They basically corner the market in wallpaper removal products because without a doubt, every DIY’er has heard or has used DIF.

DIF gel is non-drip and really clings to the wall when you spritz it. It can be applied with the sprayer or poured out and rolled onto the wall with a paint roller. At some points, since we were only using the sprayer and had no paint roller, we used our hands to shmear it on the walls (very professional, right??).

It is made with an enzyme formula that breaks down adhesives. DIF has no hazardous qualities making it safe and non-toxic. If it gets into your eyes (when you need to remove that outdated wallpaper from the ceiling… why in the world did they wallpaper their ceilings back then?) you need to flush your eyes for 15 minutes. DIF Gel rinses easily off hands with soap and water.


I highly recommend going to the Zinsser website and opening up a PDF file instructing you on wallpaper removal techniques. I wish I had read it first… it would have made my project 10x easier.

DIF Gel Ready-to-Use Wallpaper Stripper does the job it says it does. But only if you follow the directions. On occasions when we didn’t let the DIF sit long enough on the wall before scraping, we found that the glue didn’t loosen completely and we had to reapply the DIF. When we realized that we weren’t letting the DIF penetrate though the adhesive long enough, we began waiting the recommended 20 minutes. This is called WETTING TIME. Zinsser recommends 20-30 minutes wetting time to properly penetrate the wallpaper glue.

While we found the spray bottle easy to use, and convenient, its application was spotty, uneven, and not smooth. A roller would have made the DIF cover the area much more evenly and completely. Using the spray made some spots more wet and others less wet, producing uneven glue scraping spots. We had to double back and re-spray many areas.

With this job, I learned the hard way that there are NO shortcuts to Do-It-Yourself jobs. Proper preparation is key. Educate yourself about what is needed and follow through. And always make sure your wallpaper hanger takes those extra steps to prime the walls with wallpaper primer before hanging wallpaper. You’ll thank me in 2037. In the meantime, DIF will continue to be in demand.

Recommend this product? Yes

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