Removing Rug Backing Residue From Hardwood Floors

Published March 11, 2021
Removing rug backing residue

What is the key to removing rug backing residue from hardwood floors? You need to soften up the brittle backing and scrape it off the floor. Learn a few tricks and tips for removing rug backing residue off hardwood floors.

Removing Rug Backing Residue From Hardwood Floors

Did you peel up your area rug and now have a perfect waffle pattern where the rubber or latex backing degraded? You are not alone. You might not realize it until you have chunks stuck to your hardwood floors, but rubber degrades. And since you can't put just anything on hardwood floors, you might be starting to panic. Rather than considering just throwing down a new rug, you can follow a few steps to clean the sticky rubber backing away simply and safely. To get started, you need:

  • WD-40 (also helps remove tape residue)

  • Plastic scraper (spatula)

  • Cloth

  • Mop

  • Bucket

  • Hardwood floor cleaner

  • Murphy Oil Soap (hardwood floor safe)

How to Remove Waffle Marks on Wood Floor With WD-40

When it comes to waffle marks on your floor, WD-40 is going to be your go-to. If you don't have WD-40 on hand, then you can use another type of spray lubricant. However, you want to make sure it's safe for use on your hardwood floor. You might want to test the lubricant in an inconspicuous area of the floor to ensure it does not cause any issues before applying it to the degraded rubber.

  1. Spray the lubricant on the rubber parts on the floor. (Try to saturate the rubber pieces as much as possible, so they soften up.)

  2. Allow the W-40 to soak in for about 5 minutes. (If you have large chunks or a large area of backing, then allow it to soak in for a little longer.)

  3. Saturate a cloth with soap and water and scrub the latex.

  4. If you have trouble getting the chunks to come up with the cloth, grab the plastic scraper. (It's essential to ensure the scraper is plastic, so it does not scratch up the finish on the floor.)

  5. Gently use the scraper to peel away the softened rubber pieces.

  6. Repeat as necessary until all the rubber is gone.

  7. Use a clean soapy cloth to clean up any remaining lubricant. (Adding a few drops of Dawn to a rag effectively gets the grease off the floor.)

  8. Use a hardwood cleaner to mop the floor clean of any remaining lubricant.

If you are not careful to clean up all the lubricant, you'll find that your hardwood floor will have slick spots that can be a falling hazard.


How to Remove Rug Pad Residue From Hardwood Floors With Murphy Oil Soap

If you don't have WD-40 on hand, but you do have some Murphy Oil Soap for hardwood floors, it's time to grab it. Murphy's Oil Soap can soften up the hardened backing of the rug to make it easier to remove. It works similarly to the WD-40. However, you need to test an area of your floor to make sure Murphy's Oil Soap doesn't cause any issues. This product can be damaging to some hardwood floor sealers.

  1. Follow the instructions on the back of the product for use.

  2. Spray the Murphy's Oil Soap on the rubber pieces.

  3. Give it time to soften up the rubber.

  4. Use a spatula or plastic scraper to scrape the backing off the floor.

  5. Clean and mop the area.

Why Does Rubber Backing Stick to Hardwood Floors?

Rubber is excellent for making sure your new rug doesn't slip and slide all over your hardwood floor. However, given the right conditions like time, UV, and general wear, the molecules in rubber break down. Over time, it can get sticky and brittle, breaking away from the cloth of the rug. While you can do things to preserve the rubber backing, it will break down over time even with the best of care.

Remove Rubber Backing From Hardwood Floor

When it comes to removing dry and brittle rubber backing on the hardwood floor, it's all about softening up the rubber and scraping it off. You can do this with solvents and a scraper.

Removing Rug Backing Residue From Hardwood Floors