How to remove old adhesive from ceramic tile

Updated February 21, 2017

Old adhesive creates a hard, unbreakable bond when attached to surfaces such as ceramic tile. The glue requires a softening agent to penetrate through the adhesive, loosening it from its grasp on the tile. Without softening the glue, removal of the adhesive is difficult, and damage to the ceramic tile is a certainty.

Wipe dirt and dust from the adhesive on the ceramic tile with a clean rag.

Apply 1 tablespon of soy-based adhesive remover to a clean rag. Wipe the remover over the adhesive on the ceramic tile. Apply additional remover as needed to cover and saturate the adhesive. Allow the remover to remain on the ceramic tile for two hours.

Scrape the softened adhesive from the tile with a plastic scraper. Deposit the removed adhesive onto old newspapers.

Wipe any remaining glue and adhesive remover from the tile with a damp rag.

Dry the ceramic tile with a clean cloth.


You may test the adhesive remover after one hour as the remover may have softened sufficiently for removal. If not, wait the full two hours. Removing old adhesive before it has softened may chip the ceramic tile.

Things You'll Need

  • Rags
  • Soy-based adhesive remover
  • Plastic scraper
  • Newspapers
  • Cloths
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About the Author

Constance Barker, located in the hills of southern Ohio, is the owner and writer of several financial, credit report and travel websites. She started writing in 1999 for private clients and began creating website content in 2004. She gained expertise in home improvement after she and her husband built their home themselves.