How to Remove Vinyl Flooring Glue Easily

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Although vinyl flooring is known for being easy to install, removing it can be a bit of a struggle due to the adhesive underneath. If you’re tired of struggling with stubborn vinyl flooring glue I’ve compiled a comprehensive guide on how to remove vinyl flooring glue using simple and effective techniques. 

I’ll walk you through the process of identifying the type of vinyl flooring glue, effective methods for removing both fresh and dried glue, handling excess glue in seams, and maintaining your vinyl flooring after glue removal. I’ve also included safety precautions and alternative methods to consider for efficient and successful glue removal.

Key Takeaways

  • Identify the type of vinyl flooring glue (water-based, polyurethane-based, or acrylic-based) before starting the removal process.
  • For fresh glue, use a damp cloth and scraper to wipe it away
  • For dried glue, consider using glue solvent or acetone to soften the adhesive before gently scraping it off the surface.

Identifying the Type of Vinyl Flooring Glue

Before diving into the removal process, you need to first identify the type of vinyl flooring glue used. Common types of adhesives include water-based, polyurethane-based, and acrylic-based. Correctly identifying the glue type will ensure a more effective and efficient removal process, saving you time and effort in the long run.

Water-Based Adhesive

Water-based adhesive is a popular choice for vinyl flooring, including vinyl tiles, due to its environmentally friendly properties and ease of cleaning. However, it’s important to note that this type of adhesive is less sticky when exposed to moisture.

Water-based adhesives come in four primary categories: vegetable glues, animal/protein glues, resin, and latex.

Polyurethane-Based Adhesive

Polyurethane-based adhesive is known for its strength and durability, making it an ideal choice for vinyl and wooden floors. Due to its strong bonding properties, polyurethane-based adhesive can be more difficult to remove than other types of adhesives, but its resilience makes it a popular choice for long-lasting installations.

Acrylic-Based Adhesive

Acrylic-based adhesive is another option for vinyl flooring installations, including those involving vinyl sheets. This adhesive offers the following benefits:

  • Bonds well with vinyl floors
  • Resistant to moisture and temperature fluctuations
  • Provides strong bonding properties
  • Resistant to environmental factors

Although it’s more expensive than other adhesive options, its durability and long-lasting properties make it an attractive choice for flooring installations.

Tools and Supplies for Vinyl Flooring Glue Removal

Essential items to effectively remove vinyl flooring glue include:

  • Microfiber cloths: useful for wiping away excess glue and residue
  • Scrapers: ideal for removing hardened adhesive from the flooring surface
  • Solvents: can help dissolve the glue for easier removal
  • Acetone: a strong solvent that can be effective for stubborn glue
  • Warm water: can be used in combination with other tools to help loosen the glue

Having these tools and supplies will make the process of removing vinyl flooring glue much easier and more efficient.

Removing Fresh Vinyl Flooring Glue

Removing fresh vinyl flooring glue is generally easier than tackling dried glue. The two most effective ways to remove fresh glue are using a damp cloth or a scraper. Do not use a paper towel to wipe up fresh glue because bits of the paper will get stuck and you’ll have a bigger mess on your hands to deal with.

Damp Cloth 

Using a damp cloth is a straightforward way to wipe away fresh glue. Simply dampen a microfiber cloth with warm water, and gently rub it over the glue. Be careful not to oversaturate the area, as excess moisture can damage the flooring.

Make sure to wear protective gloves, as some adhesives can cause skin irritation. 


Using a scraper is also an effective method for removing fresh vinyl flooring glue, particularly when dealing with larger amounts of adhesive. Using a plastic scraper, carefully remove the excess glue from the surface, taking care not to damage the flooring.

Removing Dried Vinyl Flooring Glue

Removing dried vinyl flooring glue can be more challenging than fresh glue, but it’s not impossible. Using glue solvent or acetone are two effective techniques for eliminating dried glue and restoring your flooring to its original state.

Glue Solvent 

Using a solvent solution to remove dried glue involves the following steps:

  1. Apply a glue solvent directly to the dried glue.
  2. Allow the solvent to soften the glue.
  3. Use a plastic scraper to gently remove the softened glue from the surface. Be sure to push horizontally, not downwards, to properly scrape the glue.
  4. Use a microfiber cloth and warm water to clean the area. 

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and work in a well-ventilated area to ensure safety and effectiveness.

If using a solvent, renovations contractor Paul McCrae advises to keep the solvent away from the seams. “The finish of the floor is more resistant to chemicals than the material it’s bonded to, he explains. “Acetone may end up dissolving the vinyl if you’re not careful.”


Another effective method for removing dried glue is applying acetone. Acetone, found in many nail polish removers, can be used to loosen the remaining adhesive residue on vinyl flooring. Apply acetone directly to the dried glue and allow it to work for a few minutes before using a scraper to remove the softened glue. 

Clean the area thoroughly afterward with a damp cloth to ensure that all residue has been removed.

Handling Excess Glue in Vinyl Floor Seams

Excess glue in vinyl floor seams can be unsightly and may even cause damage to your flooring if not properly addressed. If you notice excess glue seeping out from the seams of your vinyl flooring, don’t panic. Just be sure to deal with it while it’s still wet. 

  1. Use a scraper to remove as much of the excess glue as possible.
  2. Use a microfiber cloth and a light amount of glue solvent or acetone to gently wipe away any residue
  3. Use a microfiber cloth and warm water to clean any remaining residue from the area.  

Safety Precautions When Removing Vinyl Flooring Glue

Safety should always be a top priority when removing vinyl flooring glue. Some adhesives and solvents can cause irritation or harm if not handled properly. Therefore, wear gloves to protect your skin from potential irritation caused by acetone or glue.

Work in a well-ventilated area to minimize the risk of inhaling fumes from chemicals used to soften the adhesive. 

Glue Gone!

Removing vinyl flooring glue doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By identifying the type of adhesive used and using the appropriate methods for removing fresh or dried glue, you can achieve a clean and seamless finish for your vinyl flooring. 

We hope this comprehensive guide has provided you with the knowledge and confidence to tackle your vinyl flooring glue removal project. With the right techniques and a little patience, you can restore your flooring to its original beauty and enjoy a durable, long-lasting finish.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to remove vinyl flooring?

Use a scraper tool or pry bar to loosen the vinyl from the glued perimeter, and a putty knife to pry up each corner.

Wipe or scrape away excess glue with soapy warm water, and for tougher areas, use a heat gun.

What types of adhesive are typically used for vinyl flooring?

Polyurethane-based, acrylic-based, and water-based adhesives are the most popular options for installing vinyl flooring.

How can I remove fresh vinyl flooring glue?

To remove fresh vinyl flooring glue, dampen a cloth with warm soapy water and rub the affected area or use a scraper to carefully remove excess glue.

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Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

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