How to get rid of floor tile glue

Updated February 21, 2017

Tile glue, or tile adhesive, is comprised of various materials, depending on the type and location of the floor. Removing tile adhesive is a necessary step when remodelling or re-flooring. Unfortunately, due to its hard structure, tile glue can be difficult to simply scrape away. But with the proper application of a tile adhesive remover, you can soften the adhesive and remove it from the floor.

Prepare the area to remove the adhesive. If possible, open windows in the room to increase the air circulation. Put on protective gloves, eyewear and even a face mask to limit the amount of exposure that you have to the solvents that soften the adhesive and the adhesive itself.

Apply a thick layer or adhesive remover to the areas where the tile glue is visible. Apply the adhesive with paintbrush if it does not come in a tube that you can simply drag onto the glue. There are many adhesive removers available on the market. Select a traditional solvent adhesive remover or try a soy-based adhesive remover. Both are effective in softening old tile glue. Removers that contain citrus products are often less toxic than solvent-based removers.

Wait for the adhesive remover to soften the glue. This could take several hours, but be patient because you want to be able to easily scrape away the glue.

Scrape away the adhesive with a hand scraper.

Wash the area with a clean wet towel and warm water to make sure that all of the glue has been removed. If there is still glue present on the tile, repeat the process.


Some adhesive removers can evaporate in direct sunlight. If you are using this type of adhesive remover, close your curtains or work when there is no sunlight in the room.


Do not work with solvent adhesive removers in a room without proper ventilation. Never use these types of removers near open fires, nor near children or domestic animals, as the solvents are often toxic.

Things You'll Need

  • Protective gloves
  • Protective mask
  • Protective eyewear
  • Adhesive remover
  • Hand scraper
  • Paintbrush
  • Wet towel
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About the Author

Jessica Jewell is a writer, photographer and communications consultant who began writing professionally in 2005. Her chapbook, "Slap Leather," is forthcoming from dancing girl press. Her recent work has appeared in "Nimrod," "Harpur Palate," "Copper Nickel," "Rhino," "wicked alice," "Poetry Midwest" and "Barn Owl Review." Jewell was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She earned her Master of Fine Arts from Kent State University.