Asked on Sep 14, 2015

How to remove vinyl glue from hardwood floor?

We're refinishing the floors in our 1934 farmhouse-- the original hardwoods were hidden underneath carpet in the kitchen, and vinyl in the dining room.
They adhered the vinyl directly to the hardwood with glue- lots and lots of glue. It's still very sticky (I think it's been there for less than 10 years) and super thick- think bubble gum spread across the whole floor, about 1/8 inch deep. Gross.
I've scraped the hardwoods in the kitchen, which was time consuming, but not bad because the glue was so much older...
Is there a way to get the vinyl glue off the dining room floor without softening the floors or manually scraping the entire thing?
  13 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Sep 14, 2015
    Have you tried applying goof off to lose the glue?
    • Ally | The Speckled Goat Ally | The Speckled Goat on Sep 14, 2015
      @Janet Pizaro I haven't... my hubby read somewhere that Goo Gone and Goof Off can soften the wood. I'm not sure that there's a lot of truth to that...
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Sep 14, 2015
    well try a very small spot to see ifs the glue comes up. My other suggestion unforntunaltely still a lot of work however I use toothpaste on my gel spots on laminate flooring.
  • Home Ideas HQ Home Ideas HQ on Sep 14, 2015
    You could use a heat gun aimed at the adhesive or an iron can be held a few inches above the adhesive to soften it. Just remember that you should never place any hot object on the adhesive directly. Then scrape up the remaining glue a small section at a time - attempting to avoid gouging the wood. Unfortunately your other alternative would be the chemical solvents which may cause damage to the beautiful farmhouse hardwood. I would also caution you that if the adhesive appears tar-like or black, it may contain asbestos fibers as it was popular in the 70's and 80's. Seek the assistance of a professional tile remover or installer if that is the case. But those are two of the more common approaches, good luck!
    • Ally | The Speckled Goat Ally | The Speckled Goat on Sep 15, 2015
      @Home Ideas HQ Luckily, this glue was definitely put down within the past 10 years... I'm thinking more like 5 years... and is yellowy in color. I can get about 2 ft square scraped in 2 hours... these floors better be worth it! ;)
  • Jeff Jeff on Sep 14, 2015
    Your posts says that the adhesive is "still very sticky". Is there any indication that the adhesive is drying or hardening since the vinyl was removed? Based on my experience, anything that softens the adhesive will only make removal more difficult and messy. Such products will not permanently soften the wood but may allow the adhesive to penetrate further. On several projects, I have used a heat gun and hand scraper to remove the heavy layer and followed with a large orbital sander to get the remaining film. It seems the combination of heat and removing the thick layer allows the remaining adhesive to harden so that the sanding abrasive (sandpaper) doesn't "gum up". It's a labor intensive process. For me, the result has been worth the time and effort. Good luck.
    • Ally | The Speckled Goat Ally | The Speckled Goat on Sep 15, 2015
      @Jeff It definitely hasn't hardened any over the past few days, unfortunately. I agree that softening will just make more of a mess!
  • Becky Becky on Sep 14, 2015
    I use "Orange Glo" for everything. It's furniture polish, so it might be easier on the wood. I don't know how or why it works, but when I have gummy on something, thats my go to.
    • See 2 previous
    • 861650 861650 on Sep 16, 2015
      @Becky I just had to laugh...I could so see someone licking the floor. I quickly searched google and found that it is toxic if ingested and that is found in a lot of products.
  • Nancy Spencer Carlson Nancy Spencer Carlson on Sep 14, 2015
    Since oil-based products tend to dissolve glue, I'm wondering if just plain vegetable oil might work? You could even soak citrus peels in a jug of oil to get the 'orange glo' effect. Just thinking out loud.
  • Ally | The Speckled Goat Ally | The Speckled Goat on Sep 15, 2015
    Okay- I think I figured out a way to make it more manageable. I am just manually scraping it up using a powered scraping tool, but by wearing a rubber glove, I can grab more of the glue and dispose of it than I can with my hands. It's gonna be slow going... I hope those floors will be worth it! =)
  • LeeAnn Gillespie LeeAnn Gillespie on Sep 15, 2015
    I found mine was water soluable--had to wet it,slap an old t-shirt over the water then after half an hour or so scraped it up. After that I took a green scrubbie & rag and wiped up the residue left. Also found out if I got called out & it sat or even dried still comes out ok. Just rewet a bit! sand when finished.
  • Linda Johnson Linda Johnson on Sep 16, 2015
    There's a "Harvard Chemical" product called "De-Zov-All!" that I used. It works great. It's a professional strength citrus solvent. It smells like oranges. It's manufactured by: Harvard Chemical Research Atlanta, Georgia 30354 (404) 761-0657. I used it in my cleaning business for years. You can find it in Janitorial Supply stores, or on Amazon or Ebay.
  • Z Z on Sep 16, 2015
    Ally, sometimes using an art (gum) eraser can help get off icky glue from hard surfaces. It'd be worth a try. It kind of rolls it loose so you can grab what's come up and pull on it easier. You can probably find them on clearance this time of year in the school supply aisles where they are marking down items they over bought.
  • Mike Mike on Mar 20, 2020

    I tried a few things & discovered that with mineral spirits my old glue came up w/almost no wait time & not much effort with a 5 in one

  • Deb K Deb K on Oct 15, 2022

    1. Hi Ally, hope this helps you out. Hold ice on the glue for a minimum of five minutes, then apply firm horizontal pressure with a blunt edge to fracture the glue from the floor.
    2. Clean any residue using acetone, then clean thoroughly with a damp, soapy rag.

    Use the acetone sparingly. Good luck