Home » How to Remove Carpet Glue From a Wood Floor? (In 3 Easy Steps)

How to Remove Carpet Glue From a Wood Floor? (In 3 Easy Steps)

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Carpets on wood floors bring something different to interiors as it covers the full area with one or two materials. Most people love to add carpets because it is soft and inviting, making the area feel more inviting.

However, using carpets on wood floors for a long time may lead to wear and tear and require replacing. Other times, people get tired of the carpet and want a new look of only the wood floor.

In addition, removing carpets on wood floors will expose thick carpet glue underneath used to hold the carpet firmly in place.

With more people removing old carpets from their wood floors, the problem of dealing with carpet glue on the floor has become a widespread dilemma.

But, how do you remove carpet glue without damaging the hardwood floor? This is a question that many people are struggling to answer.

Sometimes it goes beyond protecting the wood to protecting yourself, as some types of glue can be dangerous when inhaled. For example, carpet glue with asbestos is dangerous when its particles are inhaled, so extra care needs to be taken when dealing with this type of glue.

Luckily, glues with asbestos have since phased out, but there’s a high chance your extremely old carpet may have used it in its hay days.

Ways To Remove Carpet Glue From Wood Floors

The best way to remove carpet glue is the method that ensures your hardwood floor is unaffected and you’re not in any harm’s way, either. Here are concise ways to remove carpet glue from wood floors:

1. Manually Scraping Off Glue

Manually Scraping Off Glue

Sometimes, manually doing the work may be what you need to ensure the safety of your wood floor and its readiness for a new finish. This method is excellent when dealing with non-toxic glue like asbestos, as particles will be flying around. Nevertheless, protective materials should be employed when scraping glue off wood floors.

Scraping the glue off can be tedious, but it is an effective way to prevent floor discoloration. However, scraping may affect the finish so you may require a new finish or stain. Here’s how to go about it:

Wear Protective Gears

Due to the glue and materials you’ll be working with, protective gears are a must to ensure your safety. Wear thick rubber gloves and nose masks. Goggles to protect your eyes from sanded particles flying around are also essential.

Place Dry Ice on The Glue

Purchase dry ice, storing it in a well-ventilated area to avoid explosion. Next, you should place the ice in a tray and pass it over the glue area you want to chip while ensuring proper ventilation. The dry ice will make the glue brittle and easy to scrape off.

Scrape Off with Putty Knife

Take a rubber putty knife to scrape off the now brittle carpet glue, ensuring to hit the base of the gum at an angle that prevents damage to the wood floor. Apply little pressure to scrape off the glue from the floor. Next, scrape off the area you have iced recently to get the glue at its most brittle stage.

Gather The Glue And Dispose Properly

Use a broom or a wet/dry vacuum to gather the scrapped-off glue from the floor. You’ll need to properly dispose of this material by following local guidelines. Some authorities may require you to dispose of the glue in designated centers rather than your refuse dump.

Sand and Finish

When you remove carpets and the glue, you’ll most likely find scuff marks on the floor. Sanding the floor helps to remove those marks and ensures a smooth surface for finishing. However, sanding is not essential, and you can skip this step. In addition, directly sanding glue is not recommended, as it can force glue down the pores and make it harder for the new finish to bond. So, it would help if you did sanding with caution. Instead, use sandpaper or a random orbital sander to smoothen the wood floor lightly so you only sand the top layer.

Use your desired stain or finish to coat the wood floor’s surface and restore its shine. Depending on how careful you are when scrapping off the glue, you may not need to add a new finish.

Also Read:- How to Restore And Refinish Hardwood Floors Perfectly Without Sanding?

2. Using Solvents

Using Solvents

A solvent is a more radical way of removing glue from hardwood floors. It involves using a solvent to melt the glue into a liquid to make it easy to remove.

However, the solvent method has disadvantages as it causes discoloration and can affect the wood floor. This method is quick and typically doesn’t require much effort, but it can force glue down the wood pores and make it difficult for a finish to bond on the floor.

Here’s how to work with solvents to remove carpet glue from wood floors:

Wear Protective Gears

Protecting yourself is even more paramount when using Solvents because of the presence of more chemicals and a liquid glue form.

Therefore, you require overall protective gear, thick rubber gloves, a nose mask, and goggles. These gears will ensure you keep the chemicals away from your skin and from entering your body.

Identify the Type of Glue

There are generally two types of carpet glue used to hold carpet to wood floors; tar-based glue and general carpet adhesive. Before using the solvent method to remove the glue, you must identify the glue used and determine the type of solvent to use.

In addition, the color of the glue shows the type of adhesive it is, with tar-based glue having a tan to dark brown look, while general carpet adhesive has a yellowish look.

Use the Correct Solvent to Soften the Glue

Choose the correct solvent based on the type of glue you discovered on the wood floor. Next, use a simple commercial adhesive remover based on orange oil for carpet glues.

Spray onto a soft cotton cloth and wipe the glue rub on the glue. After the application, allow the glue to soften up for some minutes. It is ideal first to test a small area to see its effect on the floor finish.

For tar-based glues, use mineral spirits and apply using a paintbrush, soft cotton cloth, or a sponge. Then, rub directly on the glue and wait for it to soften, which may take a few minutes to an hour.

Scrape the Glue with Plastic Putty Knife

When you notice the glue is tacky or semi-liquid, you’ll know it’s time to scrape it off with a plastic putty knife. The plastic knife is to avoid scraping the wood floor surface.

Gently push the tacky glue with the putty knife, reapplying solvent in problematic areas till you’ve removed all the glue.

Dispose of the Glue

Use a wet/dry vacuum to gather the glue and dispose of it with extreme caution, as the combination of the glue and solvent is highly hazardous.

Follow your area’s toxic waste guidelines to dispose of this glue. It would be best if you didn’t try to put it in your trash or around your home.

Clean with Mild Detergen

Cleaning with mild detergent will remove any trace of the solvent on the hardwood floor and ensure kids and pets are safe on the floor. Mix mild detergent in a water bowl, soak a clean rag, and squeeze to remove excess water – you do not want moisture to damage the wood.

Allow to Dry

The wood has seen a lot of liquid which can cause some damage. To prevent any potential damage, allow the wood floor to dry for 24 hours before you do any more activity on the floor, whether to finish or put on another carpet.

Also Read:- How to Sand Hardwood Floors with Orbital Sander?

Bonus: Unconventional Solvents

There are other high-risk-high-reward solvents you can use to dissolve carpet glue. These solvents are not as readily available as mineral spirits and adhesive glue but can be options to try out.

However, you should know that these solvents have a high risk of damaging the wood and its finish.

Vegetable oil

This is great for yellow general glue adhesive, especially when a soft brush works it into the glue. However, it can stain the wood.


Use a soft cloth to apply only a small amount on the glue, and you might get away with using WD-40 to soften the glue. Over-applying WD-40 or allowing it to stay on the glue for long can damage the wood.

Paint Remover

This is a highly effective solvent to use on glue, even though it is ideal for removing paint. It can also cause damage if not appropriately managed.

Denatured Alcohol

One of the most effective solvents on this list, but with an accompanying high risk to match. Denatured alcohol is great for stubborn glue areas.

3. Heat


Heat can soften the glue and make it easier to scrape it off the wood floor. A heat gun or simple hairdryer can provide the required heat to soften the glue.

In addition, a blow dryer or hot water in an aluminum pan can soften the old adhesive. Here’s the process:

Soften with Heat

Place your hairdryer or heat gun a few inches away from the glue surface and turn on the heat. Pointing it in one direction for a few seconds can soften the glue.

Treat each area separately, as it is possible for the softened glue to solidify before you finish heating the full area.

Scrape off and Wipe

Use a scraper to dislodge the softened glue in batches as you heat to prevent some areas’ solidification. The rule of thumb here is to dislodge the scraper, wipe it with a paper towel, and dispose of it in a trash bag.

Then, repeat the process till you’ve removed all the glue on the wood floor.

Dispose of the Trash Bag

Dispose of the trash bag properly by following regulatory requirements. Since you used no solvents here, it may not be required to follow toxic waste procedures.

However, it is best to inquire about local laws to know the right way to dispose of the glue.

Also Read: How to Remove Gorilla Glue From Wood? | Complete DIY Guide

Final Thoughts

Removing carpet glue from a hardwood floor is important if you want to replace it with another carpet or enjoy the wood floor finish.

However, it would be best if you employed tact and carefulness when removing the glue to prevent damage to the wood.

The porous nature of wood makes it even more challenging to remove the glue without damage. Luckily, there are several methods to use to remove stubborn carpet glue.