How To Remove Glue From Hardwood Floor Installation

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the hardwood floor installation company to replace any hardwood floor with glue residue. It is difficult to remove large surface areas of glue. However, if the hardwood floor installation was done on your own, then you are responsible for fixing it. We’ve researched the topic and found some solutions for you.

Of course, it is best to avoid glue residue on hardwood floor if possible. But accidents happen! Thankfully, there are a few techniques and cleaners that may help remove glue from hardwood floor installation, including -

  • Heat, soapy water, and rag
  • Hot water and spatula 
  • Acetone and sanding paper
  • Adhesive remover, scraper, and wire brush
  • Goo Gone
  • Sanding

Hardwood floor installation is a major life investment. It can be expensive and time-consuming. You wouldn't want all that money and hard work to go to waste. Keep reading to find out how to salvage your hardwood floor. 

Room floor renovation concept. stylish wooden laminate installation, modern white walls. How To Remove Glue From Hardwood Floor Installation

How To Remove Glue From Hardwood Floor Installation

Usually, hardwood floor looks smooth and shiny. Glue residue ruins the appearance of a hardwood floor because it makes it look uneven and dirty. During the process of hardwood floor installation, it is possible to accidentally get glue on the wood.

Interior empty room with polished hardwood floor

For many hardwood floor installations, glue is used to attach the wood to the subfloor. Some people consider this method easier and more efficient than the traditional nail-and-hammer method. Plus, glue mimics the natural movement of the hardwood floor, thus allowing it to contract and expand as needed.

During the drying process, glue contracts and expands. This process is great for the wood, but it can also leak glue from the cracks in the wood. Additionally, you might track glue with your fingers or shoes.

If it happens, then it is best to take care of it immediately. Keep reading to learn more about the tips and tricks of removing glue from a hardwood floor. 

Heat, soapy water, and rag

Truthfully, you likely already have all you need at home for this method. However, this one needs to be done as soon as you notice that glue has hit your new hardwood floor. Otherwise, it won't work.

First, gather your equipment and have it ready. You'll need a hairdryer, bucket, rag, and gloves. Then, follow these steps:

  1. As soon as glue lands on the floor, stop the installation process and fill a small amount of hot water and dish soap in a small bucket. 
  2. Heat the glue with a hairdryer on high heat for 1-2 minutes to further melt the glue so it is wet. 
  3. Don gloves and wet your rag in the hot water.
  4. Scrub the glue with the wet rag. 
  5. Repeat the process until the glue is completely removed. 

For a closer look, you should check out this video. Although this video is focused on removing glue long after the installation process, the same techniques can be applied:

Also, it's best to use rags with the scrubbing side, like the ones above. You might already have a few of these in the kitchen. Click here to see them on Amazon.

Alternatively, you can use a brush with bristles. The bristles will help grip and pull the glue. Click here to see these on Amazon. 

Hot water and spatula 

Here is another easy method you can try. Again, you probably have everything you need!

Once again, you will want to have your equipment ready. You will need hot water, a bucket, and a spatula. If the glue dries, then this method is probably useless. Simply follow these steps: 

  1. Immediately fill a small bucket with scalding hot water. 
  2. Dip your gloved fingers in the hot water and dribble small amounts of water on the hardwood floor. 
  3. Use a sturdy spatula to pick away at the glue. 
  4. Repeat the process until all the glue is removed. 

Typically, metal spatulas work great for this method. However, be careful not to scratch the hardwood floor during this process. To prevent scratching, you can use a plastic spatula. But the process may take a little longer. 

In fact, it may be favorable to go slow. Wood floor installation is a long process, and so is removing glue from it. If you rush the process, then you can damage the wood by scratching it. 

Acetone and sanding paper

Unfortunately, the above methods likely won't work if the glue has already dried. And you might not even notice the glue residue until you're at the end of your project. All it takes is one dot of glue and a pair of shoes to track glue in multiple small areas.

Luckily, you may already have these items in your house. Together, acetone and sanding paper make removing glue simple and easy. Just follow these steps: 

  1. Pour acetone nail polish remover into a small metal bowl.
  2. Next, spoon 2-5 ounces of acetone over the glue. Allow it to soak for 3-5 minutes. 
  3. Gently sand the glue on the hardwood floor with sanding paper. 
  4. Go slow, and repeat the process as needed. 

If you have a daughter who loves painting her nails, then you can probably borrow some acetone nail polish remover from her. However, it must be 100% pure acetone, like the one above. Click here to see it on Amazon. 

And you might already have sanding paper. If not, here is a great set that comes in assorted grits from 80 to 600. Click here to see it on Amazon. Note that this is not the same as sanding the floor, which we'll talk about later. 

Adhesive remover, scraper, and wire brush

Overall, this method seems to be the most successful for removing tough glue. Many people have had great results with adhesive remover! Follow these steps: 

  1. Apply adhesive remover as detailed in the product's instructions. 
  2. Allow the adhesive remover to sit for the recommended time, usually 5 to 15 minutes. 
  3. Use a scraper to gently chip away the glue. 
  4. Use a rag to clean the surface with plain water. 
  5. If needed, use a wire brush to remove any leftover glue. 

Today, you have several adhesive removers to choose from. Here is an excellent choice that is safe for hardwood floors. Click here to see it on Amazon. 

If you don't already own a scraper, then you should invest in one! A scraper is a useful tool for carpentry and/or woodworking DIY projects. Click here to see it on Amazon. 

Sometimes you need a little more elbow grease. In this case, you'll need a wire brush. Of course, use caution because wires can damage the wood. It's best to get a small wire brush so you have the most control of where it scrapes. Click here to see it on Amazon. 

Can you use Goo Gone on hardwood floors?

Yes, you can use Goo Gone to remove glue and other sticky residues from hardwood floors. Follow these steps: 

  1. Spray the Goo Gone on the glue.
  2. Allow the Goo Gone to sit for a few minutes. 
  3. Wipe away the Goo Gone with a rag. 

That seems simple enough! For a closer look, watch this video:

Here is some Goo Gone that would work great on your hardwood floors. And it dispenses from an easy-to-use spray bottle. Click here to see it on Amazon. 

Can you sand glue off wood floors?

Finishing wooden surface by hand-held belt sander

Yes, you can sand glue off wood floors. But you should not use a large sander. After all, the goal is to only remove the glue -- not re-sand the whole wood flooring. So, use a handheld sander only, and follow these steps:

  1. Wear a wood dust mask.
  2. Go in the direction of the wood grain and press the sander against the area of glue. 
  3. Wipe the wood with a wet rag. 
  4. With a rag or brush, apply a wood stainer. Allow it to dry. 
  5. With another rag or brush, apply a wood finish. Allow it to dry. 

Here is a compact handheld sander that will catch debris as you use it. Click here to see it on Amazon. 


Although glue on a hardwood floor is not ideal, removing it does not have to be a nightmare. Sometimes all you need is water. But for most techniques, you will need a way to scrape off the glue. With a little work, you can remove glue from your hardwood floor so it appears sleek and shiny, as intended.

Before you go, you should check out our articles about decorating hardwood floors: 

One comment

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