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How to Remove Carpet Glue from Concrete Effectively and Safely

How to Remove Carpet Glue from Concrete Effectively and Safely

You may or may not like the look of your carpets, but you certainly won’t like what they leave behind. 

If you’re trying to stain or epoxy the basement floor or lay new laminate on your concrete pad after remove old glued-on carpeting, you have a tough road ahead.

Your carpet has left you black or yellow glue as a souvenir. 

Now, you’re wondering what dissolves old carpet glue.  

Will a power washer remove carpet glue from concrete? Can I get this petrified slime off my concrete slab or cement floor? 

That dried carpet glue is your Everest right now, but don’t despair; it can be conquered.

Read this article and find several effective ways to free your basement floor or garage floor of this sticky residue.

First things first:

I know you don’t want to hear it, but I’m afraid to tell you this job involves an extensive amount of manual labor.

Wait, come back. It’s not all bad news!

On a good day, a razor scraper might be able to take most of the glue off, but it’s usually a long process.

Glue and tiles, used during and before the early 1980s, contain asbestos.

If you aren’t sure if that’s the case for your property, I strongly recommend consulting an asbestos abatement company. 

It’s essential to address this while you’re figuring out how to remove yellow carpet glue from concrete.

Do Store-bought Glue Removers Work?

checking carpet glue removal products

If you’re wondering how to remove black glue from concrete, you may resort to some expensive off-the-shelf products. 

Adhesive removers strong enough to remove all the indoor/outdoor carpet glue remnants may leave behind toxic fumes. 

However, milder versions of these products might not be strong enough to complete the job. 

The silver lining:

Glue can be a stubborn chemical to remove, but there are steps you can take to make the task, and your life, a little easier. 

I’ll now go through a process you can use. It may take some time, but you’ll free your concrete basement floor from this sticky predicament as long as you have the right tools and time to spare.

The Process

In this section, I’ll break down, in-depth, all the steps you need to follow. 

Before diving into how to remove carpet padding glue from concrete, I’ll discuss the preparation required.

You don’t want to be halfway through your scraping only to realize you don’t have all the tools.

That happened to me once when trying to remove dried thinset from our concrete slab, and my wife wasn’t happy, I can tell you.

worker using scraper for cleaning floor

1. Preparation phase

Before you put your back into it, let’s make sure you have all you need to deal with this sticky situation.

Just like removing carpet glue from wood flooring, you’ll need some trusty tools that are key to making this as easy as possible.

Your top priority should be rubber gloves; you don’t want those chemicals on your skin.

To scrape your floor, you can use razor scrapers. 

You might decide that a trendy new tool is what you need, but I’ve been using the same scraper for years. 

All you have to do is make sure you keep a few extra blades on you, and clean the scraper thoroughly after each use. 

You can also try a spackling knife, or a five-in-one tool or razor. 

You’ll also need at least a one gallon or 3.8 liter bucket. I recommend bringing a bottle of bleach or ammonia and liquid detergent with you. A heavy-duty scrubber will also come in handy.

If the glue is putting up a fight, you may need a heavy-duty glue remover or mastic remover. Renting a sander or a floor buffing machine may also be a good investment. 

2. Removing the Glue

scrape the floor as much as possible

FIrst, let’s look at how to tackle this complete job without resorting to chemicals.

Try to scrape off as much glue as possible with your scraper. 

This will require some painstaking effort. Although your body may not thank you, the satisfaction of having done a solid job is one heck of a reward. 

If you’re having nightmares about how to remove old carpet glue from concrete, you’re probably hoping this will be the end of the process.

If it’s your lucky day, you may be able to remove all of it just using your scraper. 

If there’s still some glue left, you need to move to your wet ingredients: 

Fill your bucket with boiling water; you’ll use this to soften the glue. Pour the water over the concrete, and leave it for one to two minutes. The softened glue can be scrubbed off with the concrete scrubber.

Water is the cheapest solution here. 

Household cleaners/removers

cleaning concrete with brush

To improve your chances, you can mix 470 ml of ammonia and 240 ml of liquid detergent with one gallon of water. This solution can be used to soften the glue and scrub it off.

You can use bleach instead of ammonia. Don’t combine bleach with ammonia; the resulting solution will produce dangerous fumes.

Now, you’ve learned how to remove outdoor carpet glue from concrete, you may see the light at the end of the tunnel. One of the above solutions should remove almost all the glue remnants. 

Bringing on the big guns

If there’s still a bit on your floor, you may need a mastic remover.

Mastic removers are available from most retail outlets. Blue Bear is one of the most popular brands that I’ve used myself. 

However, before applying it, it is important to be wary of fumes so it’s a good idea to use a facemask.

You should also ensure that the room you’re working in is well ventilated. 

Pay very close attention to the warning labels on the remover’s container. 

Use your scraper to remove any remaining glue.

If you’re wondering how to remove carpet glue from the concrete porch instead of the basement floor, don’t worry. These same methods worked for me, so they’ll work for you, too.

Also, if you need to remove linoleum glue from your concrete, the steps are similar as well.

3. A finishing touch

The floor should look great at this point. However, that pesky glue could be stuck in the pores of your concrete. 

Don’t let that glue hide in those pores! A bit of sanding will finish the job.

Can you sand carpet glue off concrete? Of course you can, because you can sand concrete!

A floor sander will help you get this task finished once and for all. 

Now all that’s left to do is take a well-deserved break and admire your handiwork.

sanding carpet glue residue

Preventative Advice

It’s hard to prevent carpet glue from sticking to your floor. 

If you’ve fallen out of love with your carpet, removing carpet glue will be a part of your renovation. 

You can make your life easier by avoiding certain materials; some glue is worse than others, so consult a professional when laying your carpet next time.

What Else to Keep in Mind When Removing Carpet Glue from Concrete

Many professionals secure carpets on the edges with tack strips.

You may have noticed them nailed to your concrete porch. 

If you’re looking up how to remove glued down carpet from concrete, these nails should not be ignored.

They will leave holes in your concrete.  

The video below shows a professional going over the process. It’s worth reviewing, especially if you haven’t done this before.


Do I need to remove carpet glue before laying vinyl?

Yes, otherwise the floor won’t be smooth and your new vinyl flooring will need fixing as it won’t be level and could have air bubbles.

As for laminate, you may be able to get away with some very thing remnants of the glue left behind. It just depends on the thickness of what’s underneath your new flooring materials and whether it can confirm well to imperfections.

Can I acid stain or paint the concrete after using carpet glue removers?

Yes, as long the glue has been removed from the pores. If glue is trapped in the pores, the stain can’t penetrate it.

If I use mineral spirits or acetone, won’t that “eat away” at the concrete, making it less smooth or adding divots?

That may happen. I recommend that you don’t use harsh chemicals like acetone or mineral spirits on your concrete.

Does vinegar remove glue residue, and if so do I need stronger vinegar, or will what I have in my pantry work?

White vinegar can remove glue residue. It’s food grade and is common in pantries.

White vinegar will not remove all the glue by itself, though, so make sure you scrape as much as you can before applying it.

Also, make sure to use the potent stuff. The bottles you cook with is not quite as strong (acidic) as the more “industrial” type you can get for cleaning purposes.


Removing carpet glue is a detailed and regular part of floor renovations. While it can be tedious when dealing with concrete, it’s straightforward.

Don’t let this keep you from your desired flooring makeover projects. Besides, you’ll be so glad you spent whatever it takes in the long run.

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