How to remove glue from hardwood floor installation

Table of Contents

Glue spills on hardwood floors can occur during installation, as some people consider the gluing method more effective than hammer and nails. Whether during installation or due to other cases of accidental spillage, having glue spills on your hardwood can be a frustrating ordeal; especially when you have no clue on how to clean it up.

Hardwood flooring can be quite expensive to install or even repair; you definitely don’t want to use the wrong cleaning products which would only make things worse.

Now is there a safer way to remove glue from hardwood floor installation? Of course, there is. This depends on whether the adhesive is water-based or solvent-based.

This article promises to provide you with careful guidelines on how to remove glue from your hardwood floor installation depending on what type of glue it is.

For water-based adhesives

If the glue is water-based, then the mere application of soapy water would suffice.

For application, follow these steps:

•Heat some water up

•Pour into a bowl and add some detergent

• Wet a small rag with the mixture

•Scrub the adhesive gently with the wet rag, repeatedly.

For solvent-based adhesives

If the glue is solvent-based, then you can apply some nail polish remover to it.

  • Add some acetone nail polish remover to the glue spill.
  • Allow it to soak for a while
  • Poke with a cotton swab to ensure it has dissolved
  • Rub off with sanding paper or gently scrape off with a spatula.

For already-hardened glue

If the glue is already hardened, then you could introduce ice in your application.

  • Place some ice on the glue for some minutes till it’s tender.
  • Apply pressure by placing a heavy object on the already freezing glue: this would enable the hardened glue to split faster.
  • Clear off the brittle glue with a scrapper.
  • Wipe remnants with a rag dipped in vinegar or natural oil.

How do you remove old glue stains without damaging your hardwood floors?

Firstly, apply heat: You can use your hairdryer. This will weaken the bond. Then you can apply oils like eucalyptus oil or lemon oil, before scrapping gently with a knife.

Another option is to apply wood polish before cleaning off with a rag.

If the old glue stain is proving too tough to remove, apply alcohol or vodka then scrape off gently with a knife.


The bottom line is not to apply any solvent which has not been properly tested in a less visible part of your hardwood floors. Another cautionary action is to avoid rushing the whole process. Allow tested solvents sit on the glue for a while so scraping off would be easy. In all, all processes should be done gently to avoid scratching your hardwood floor.

 Alex J
Alex J

Alex is the founder of the BFG, he has been in the flooring business for over 12 years and specialize in laying new floors, resurfacing old ones, and giving people practical advice on how to keep their floors looking beautiful.