How to Remove Carpet Glue Residue

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When removing carpeting and the carpet backing from a floor, often what is left behind is carpet glue residue. The glue is used to keep the padding in place, which it does really well. Removing the glue from concrete or wood can be challenging. With the right tools, however, you cannot only remove the glue, but you can have it looking as though there was never glue on the floor in the first place. If there is a lot of glue, enlisting the help of friends or family will be to your advantage.

Things You'll Need

  • Putty knife
  • Mineral spirits
  • Rubber gloves
  • Sponge
  • Paper towels
  • All-purpose adhesive remover
  • Determining the type of glue used makes a difference in how it is removed. If the color of the glue is tan or dark brown, it is tar-based, and you will need mineral spirits. If the glue is yellow in color, it was a general adhesive, which you must chip away with your putty knife.

  • Take the mineral spirits and apply to the tar-based glue to help loosen the glue and make it easier for you to remove. Getting your putty knife under the larger glue pieces and scraping it off will help speed up the job.

  • Scrape the adhesive off with your putty knife if the glue is a yellow color. First attempt to chip and scrape all of the hardened glue away, apply some all-purpose adhesive remover and allow it to sit for 30 minutes. Wipe up the remaining glue with a damp sponge.

  • Make sure the floor is completely dry before sanding or performing any further treatment once you have removed the glue.

  • Realize there may be some staining on the concrete or wood flooring after you remove the carpet glue. With cement floors, it is probably a non-issue if you plan to lay new carpet. For hardwoods, you will need to refinish and wax those areas to remove the stains.

Tips & Warnings

  • It is a good idea to have a ceiling fan or floor fans on and the windows open when dealing with chemicals. The fumes from some adhesive removers can be overpowering.
  • Adhesive removers are highly flammable, so do not smoke or light matches or lighters when working with adhesive removers.

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