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How to Remove Tar From Linoleum

Viktoria Carrella

Tar can stain the toughest of materials, and it can be hard to remove from most surfaces. Tar from cigarettes is known to stain skin, teeth, clothing and walls if a home is smoked in regularly.

Road tar is a thick and black molasses like solution that adheres to most all materials it touches, it can also cause a caustic reaction with materials such as denim if left on too long.

  1. Place the ice cubes down directly onto the tar stain on the linoleum flooring. It may take up to 5 minutes for the tar to harden enough to remove in this manner. Normally tar is fluid and gooey like bubble gum, so keep this in mind when adding the ice.

  2. Use the putty knife to scrape the tar from the linoleum flooring. Remember to keep the blade parallel with the floor in order to avoid making nicks in the surface of the floor. Scrape as much of the tar off as you can, and if you hit a gooey area, reapply the ice and start again.

  3. Sweep the area completely free of any tar that you have scraped away, and remove it from the floor immediately so as not to redistribute it on the clean floor.

  4. Dip the scouring pad into the water and shake off the excess. With medium pressure, scrub the tar area with the scouring pad and repeat until the majority of the tar is gone.

  5. Place ice cubes on the remaining small areas that are possibly streaks or small lines of tar that are left. Allow the ice to sit for 5 minutes, and then remove. Repeat steps 2 through 4 until the small scraps of tar are gone.

  6. Tip

    Tar comes in many different forms, and can be extremely hard to remove. There is no sure fire way of removing tar from any surface, as any road worker will tell you. Although there are many supposed ways to remove tar, the only tar that is completely removable is cigarette tar. To remove cigarette tar, simply use a sponge with a small amount of ammonia and water solution to gently rub the areas until clean.


    Tar can be a caustic material when left on a surface for too long. It is not considered good judgment to allow tar to sit on skin for any length of time.