What Products Will Clean Tar Off Hardwood Floors?

Written by nick davis
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What Products Will Clean Tar Off Hardwood Floors?
Some products will remove tar from hardwood flooring. (Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

Tar is a sticky substance that dries fast and stains quickly on a variety of surfaces including carpet and hardwood flooring. It is possible to remove tar from hardwood flooring by using a product that breaks up the substance without damaging the hardwood. Once you remove the tar, it is important to clean the flooring with a solvent-based liquid wax/cleaner designed for hardwood flooring.

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Dry Cleaning Solvent

Dry cleaning solvent, also known as Perchloroethylene, is one chemical that removes tar from hardwood flooring without damaging the floor's finish. The chemical is flammable and has an odour. Dry cleaning solvent is available at certain hardware and home improvement stores, online and at janitorial and chemical supply outlets.

Formulated Safety Solvent

Available in liquid and aerosol form, formulated safety solvent removes tar and other substances from your hardwood flooring as well as scuff marks. The chemical works and dries quickly, leaves no residue, is non-flammable and non-corrosive. Formulated safety solvent is available at hardware and home improvement stores, online and at chemical supply stores.

White Spirit

White spirit is another chemical that removes tar from hardwood flooring and is readily available at a number of stores including hardware, home improvement, chemical, paint supply and retail superstores. The chemical is flammable but works and dries quickly without residue.


Similar to white spirit, acetone is a clear liquid that removes tar and other debris from hardwood flooring without leaving a residue or damaging the floor's finish. Acetone also removes scuff marks and other stains from the flooring. The chemical is available at hardware, home improvement, paint and chemical outlets as well as retail superstores.


Xylene, a clear flammable liquid found in varnishes, cleaners and degreasers also removes tar from hardwood flooring. The chemical is also known as xylol, dimethylbenzene and mixed xylenes. Xylene is available for purchase at chemical, paint supply, hardware and home improvement stores.


Perform a test of these products on an area that is hidden from view to see how the chemicals will react on your hardwood flooring. When removing tar from your hardwood floor, work slowly and in sections. Wear safety goggles and latex gloves to keep the solvents out of your eyes and lungs.

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