How to remove floor tile glue

Updated November 21, 2016

When renovating your home, one of the best ways to create a large visual impact is to change your floors. One typical issue in floor replacement comes from the removal of old flooring materials. Leftover glue residue makes reflooring difficult at best, and can ruin new flooring materials at worst. Fortunately, removing floor tile adhesive is a simple process.

Assess the area for adhesive removal. If you are dealing with a small section or an area with very little adhesive, a steamer may work best. For larger areas, areas with large amounts of adhesive, or areas with very stubborn adhesive residue, an adhesive removing product may be necessary. In most cases, application of both steam and adhesive removers provide the best results.

Remove all debris or old flooring from the area. Clear the floor of any debris, and sweep the floor. Starting with a relatively clean surface will help the steam or adhesive remover function more thoroughly.

Apply steam to the residue. Apply the steam slowly in small patches, using the scraper to pry away the residue. Once the steam treatment is finished, allow the floor sufficient time to dry completely.

Apply the adhesive remover to the floor. Use gloves and a brush for this process. Adhesive removers are typically very caustic. Apply the remover liberally and wait, according to the instructions on the packaging. Scrape up a test piece. If the adhesive peels up easily, continue with the rest of the floor until all adhesive has been removed.

Clean the floor thoroughly. Using hot soapy water, or other mixture according to the instructions on the adhesive remover packaging, clean the floor of any remover. Allow to dry thoroughly.


When applying steam and adhesive remover treatments, work from the far wall backwards towards the doorway. This allows you to avoid stepping where you have already worked.


Exercise caution when using adhesive remover. Use protective gear such as gloves and masks. Make sure you open windows and keep the room well ventilated.

Things You'll Need

  • Steamer
  • Goo Gone or similar adhesive removal product
  • Scraper
  • Rubber gloves
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