How to Clean Plaster Mud From Wood Floors

Updated February 21, 2017

Repairs to walls, many times, require the use of plaster mud. Mud is the slang term for plaster, drywall compound or joint compound. Working with mud can create a mess, which makes using tarps an important step in preparation. Even with proper preparation, picking mud up on your shoes and tracking it across a floor happens. Plaster mud dries to a rigid, unyielding mess on a wood floor, but drywall mud is water-soluble, making removal possible.

Pick up wet mud with a wide flexible plastic putty knife or a rubber kitchen spatula. Avoid using metal scrapers or metal putty knives as the metal may scratch or gouge the wood floor surface.

Wet a rag with plain warm water and wipe the mud from the outer edges toward the centre. Draw as much of the mud away from the outer edges and to the centre as possible. Blot the centre of the glob with a damp rag. Rinse the rag frequently to avoid redistributing the mud onto the floor.

Frame the mud with painter's tape to protect the surrounding finish from scrubbing.

Dip a plastic scrubbing-pad in water, scrub the remaining mud and wipe with a rag. Continue to alternate between scrubbing with the scrubbing pad and wiping up the mud as it dissolves with a rag. Rinse the scrubbing pad often and turn the rag to clean sides frequently until all mud is off the floor.

Apply mastic remover or adhesive solvent if the mud has an adhesive additive as in hot mud. Allow the mastic remover to sit on the hot mud for the time prescribed by the manufacturer, generally 20 to 30 minutes.

Wipe up the soft hot mud with a rag. Use a clean section of the rag each time you wipe. Wash the area of the wood floor with a mild liquid detergent and water to remove solvent residue. Dry the floor thoroughly with a rag.


Take your shoes off each time you leave the room when working with mud to avoid spreading it through the house. Solvents are available as citrus-based or chemical-based.


Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when using a citrus-based solvent; add a chemical-approved respirator if the solvent has a chemical base.

Things You'll Need

  • Putty knife or rubber spatula
  • Rags
  • Painter's tape
  • Plastic scrubbing-pad
  • Mastic remover or adhesive solvent
  • Mild detergent
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About the Author

Sal Marco began writing professionally in 2009. He has written many online home improvement articles based on his more than 20 years of experience in the home improvement and building industries. He has worked as both part of a team and as a site supervisor. Marco has a Bachelor of Science in management science from Kean University.