How to Remove Rubber Carpet Backing from Hardwood Floor

By Mats Hub Team

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You have pulled out the carpet off the flooring and now you have waffle-shaped rubber residue stuck on your hardwood floor. Do you peel it off? Do you let it stay there forever and put another carpet over it?

Wait, before you give it any further thought! Remember that rubber dissolves and disintegrates if treated with a suitable solution. In this article, we will be talking about how to use this dissolving property of rubber to get the carpet backing off your hardwood floor.

Why have Rubber Carpet Backings?

Most hardwood floors are as smooth as butter, thanks to the finishing that comes with it. If a carpet or a rug is simply placed on the floor, there are chances of it slipping as there is almost zero friction between the floor and the carpet.

To avoid such slipping, i.e., to keep the carpet in its position, fixed, we use rubber carpet backings. They also provide good support to the feet and body. Carpet backings are also responsible for the longevity of rugs. They avoid the carpet from having direct contact with the floor. If there is any mold growing beneath the carpet, it won’t stain the carpet.

remove rug backing from floor

Carpet paddings act like shock and sound absorbers. Imagine you drop a glass bowl on the floor without a carpet over it. You can almost hear it break into a million pieces. But imagine the same scenario and in this case, you not only have a carpet but also a thick rubber padding underneath it. Can you still imagine the noise?

Removing Rubber Carpet Backing from Hardwood Floor

Read along to know exactly what steps to follow to get rid of the rubber residue without harming your hardwood floor. These are some common steps you can perform with any kind of rubber dissolving solution. Don’t know which solutions are best for this purpose? Don’t worry, we have got your back!

  1. Sweep away any kind of dust covering the area.
  2. Spray the solution over the rubber residue. Make sure you cover the entire rubber surface.
  3. Let it rest for at least five minutes.
  4. Take a damp, soft-bristled cloth and dip one of its corners in a wood-friendly soapy solution.
  5. Rub over the carpet backing residue. Ensure that you do not touch the hardwood floor.
  6. For larger chunks of rubber, use a plastic scraper to loosen the contact between the rubber and the floor. Be careful not to scratch the floor beneath.
  7. Use the same soapy water to get rid of the residue.
  8. Use a dry paper towel or a vacuum cleaner to collect small rubber particles off the floor.
  9. After dealing with all the rubber backings, wipe the floor with a hardwood floor cleaner.

Use a paper cutter to deal with thick chunks of carpet backing. Make sure that the floor doesn’t come in contact with any sharp objects or harsh chemicals. Even water can ruin hardwood floors by seeping through the cracks. Hence, always dry mop hardwood floors.

While using any kind of chemicals, make sure the room has proper ventilation. Wear a mask and a pair of gloves before you start the process. Make sure to read the instructions given behind the products for much safer use.

Hardwood-Friendly Cleaners to Get Rid of Carpet Backing Residue


how to remove carpet padding that is glued down

  • Remove the excess glue: Use a tablespoon to gently scrape out the hardened rubber. If it seems difficult to do so with a tablespoon, consider using a paper cutter or a thin blade to cut through the glue. This is a risky part as you have to take care not to scratch or damage the floor. Get rid of as much excess rubber as possible.
  • WD-40: If the rubber happens to be a stubborn remove, use WD-40. Dab WD-40 over the affected area and let it rest for fifteen minutes. Please do not leave it for more than twenty to thirty minutes. It might damage the floor beneath. Use a damp cloth to wipe out the residue.
  • The finishing touch: Since WD-40 is a strong chemical, it requires a strong clean up. There are hardwood floor cleaners available online and the best one we came up with is Koparo Clean. Apply this over the surface and clean it off with a damp paper towel.

Murphy Oil Soap:

how to remove rubber residue from wood

Many Murphy customers have spoken very highly of how effective the product is. This product is specifically designed for hardwood floors as it does not need any kind of dilution. You don’t need to add water to the product. Take the product along with you and spray and mop alternatively. To get rid of those stubborn rubber residue, follow these steps:

  • Spray the product over the residue and make sure to cover it entirely.
  • Let it rest for five minutes.
  • Take a spatula or a plastic scraper and try to loosen the contact between the floor and the rubber.
  • Wipe the area off with a paper towel.
  • Vacuum the region to get rid of residue.

Mineral Spirits:

rug backing stuck to laminate floor

Use a few mineral spirits over the rubber residue to loosen its grip on the floor. Let it rest for a few minutes. Rub over the residue with a paper towel to get it off the hardwood floor. Rub in circular motions and be careful not to go beyond the affected region.

KLEAN-STRIP Denatured Alcohol:

how to remove waffle marks on wood floor

Denatured alcohol is a very risky solution to get rid of carpet backings on hardwood floors. But it also is one of the easiest ways to implement too. We recommend dividing the area into sections and using adequate amounts of alcohol. By dividing the region into sections, you will get an idea about the amount of alcohol you need to use per section.


As satisfying as it would seem to pull out the carpet from your hardwood floors, it is going to be as annoying to scrape off the carpet backing residue. We hope that this article will help you muster the courage to finally take up this challenge. Happy cleaning!

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