Back Button

A Safe Adhesive Remover for Wood Floors

Louise Harding

Removing adhesive from wood floors can be a sticky situation. Sometimes adhesive is left on wood floors from installation, or spilled on the floor during craft or home improvement projects. No matter the cause, you must remove the adhesive to preserve the finish of the wood flooring. The National Wood Flooring Association warns against mopping wood floors with water because the finish can be discolored or dulled, but there are other options to safely remove adhesive from your wood floors.

Citrus Cleaners

Remove adhesive from wood floors with products that are safe for urethane finishes.

Citrus-based cleaners are non-toxic solvents derived from orange peels and other natural products. In undiluted form, citrus cleaners are so powerful they are used as industrial degreasers and adhesive removers. Consumer-grade citrus cleaners contain the same powerful properties, but are diluted with surfactants so the cleaner can be used with water. Surfactants are cleaning agents that remove adhesives or grime once the citrus-based cleaner has dissolved the adhesive. Apply citrus cleaner to a cleaning cloth or to a scrub pad made especially for cleaning urethane finished floors and scrub the adhesive.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is a household cleaning staple that has been used for centuries. The National Wood Flooring Association recommends pouring white vinegar onto the adhesive. Let the vinegar soak into the adhesive for about an hour before scrubbing the spot with a scrubbing pad manufactured for scrubbing urethane finishes. Use a damp, never wet, cleaning cloth to wipe away the dissolving adhesive. Repeat application may be necessary until the adhesive is successfully removed.

Wood Floor Adhesive Remover

Manufacturers produce wood floor cleaners and wood floor adhesive removers formulated specifically for cleaning and/or removing adhesives from urethane-based flooring finishes. Many wood floor cleaners are made solely for the purpose of removing adhesive left on wood from the installation of the wood flooring. These adhesive removers are sold under many brand names at home improvement stores and are formulated to dissolve urethane-based adhesives that can be difficult to remove. Examine product labels to ensure they remove adhesives used during installation, including cured adhesives. These products will remove adhesives of all variations.

Oil Soaps for Wood Floors

To remove adhesive, pour an oil soap formulated for cleaning wood floors onto a cleaning cloth or scrubbing pad designed for scrubbing urethane finishes. Scrub the adhesive, using a damp cloth or sponge to wipe away the dissolving adhesive sludge. If the adhesive has accumulated on a high visibility area, test the oil soap in an inconspicuous region of the floor first (such as in an out of the way corner) to ensure that no discoloration occurs to the wood finish. If the adhesive is old or thick, multiple scrubbing attempts may be necessary to completely eliminate the adhesive from the wood flooring.