How to remove vinyl tile adhesive

After removing vinyl tiles you may be left with a hard adhesive that you struggle to scrape off. Vinyl tile adhesive needs to be softened before it can be removed. Trying to heat the adhesive with a heat gun before scraping it off used to be the only option for getting the glue up that didn't involve a highly smelly, toxic adhesive remover. Fortunately, tile adhesive removers are now safer to use, and removing vinyl tile adhesive can be done in a few hours.

Clean the floor to make sure all the loose debris and dirt is removed from the area. You don't want old vinyl chips sticking to the vinyl adhesive that you are trying to remove.

Spray a 60 by 60 cm (2 by 2 feet) area with the adhesive remover of your choice. Wear gloves and a face mask when doing this and make sure the area is well ventilated.

Allow the adhesive remover to sit on the adhesive for the recommended time. If you don't allow the remover to sit for long enough, you will be forced to reapply and wait again for it to loosen the adhesive. If you allow the remover to sit for too long, the tile adhesive can harden again.

Scrape the softened adhesive off with a wide putty knife or floor scraper. Continuously clean your scraper by wiping the blade with a wet rag. You may want to spray the adhesive remover on another area so that it can begin to dissolve while you are scraping the first section.

Clean up the adhesive free area with soap and warm water. Dry the area with a towel and allow at least an hour before using the area again.


Occasionally spray your wide putty knife with adhesive remover and wipe it off to remove any remnants of the softened adhesive.


Vinyl flooring installed before 1980 may contain asbestos. Take proper precautions when removing asbestos materials.

Things You'll Need

  • Portable vacuum
  • Cloth
  • Gloves
  • Face mask
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Towels
  • Vinyl floor and adhesive remover
  • Floor scraper or wide putty knife
  • Face mask
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About the Author

Robin Neorr has been working as a full-time freelance writer since 2007. She has written for various websites including The Frisky. Before she started her writing career, she spent 10 years in media marketing. She has a bachelor's degree in communications and a master's degree in communications management from John Carroll University.