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How to Remove Old Carpet Padding Stuck to Wood Floors?

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It is a tedious process but remove old carpet padding from wood floors is well worth it, whether you are installing new carpet or refinishing your wood floors.

How to Remove Old Carpet Padding Stuck to Wood Floors?

It is important to fully remove all residue from the carpet you are removing. This may seem like a daunting task, but it is nothing but tedious.

How do you remove old carpet padding stuck to wood floors? 

To clean old carpet padding from your wood floors, scrape off as much as possible. Then, use a solvent to release the remaining abrasives. After this, scrape off what is left and you will have a floor free of padding and abrasives!

No matter what you plan to do, whether it is re-carpeting, or refinishing, it is important to remove all the old carpet padding. In this article, we will tell you exactly how to remove that stubborn padding stuck to your floor and what products are safe and best to use. 

You will learn also why rubber padding on wood floors is not advisable. Read on.

Step by Step How to Remove Old Carpet Padding

We are going to walk you through step by step how to remove carpet padding that is stuck to your wood floors. First it is important to make sure you are being safe. It is a good idea to have a dust mask on hand and to wear gloves. 

Step One: Scrape off as much carpet as possible

In first step you need to scrape off as much carpet padding from the floor as possible. Use a plastic paint scraper. It is great for this purpose. You want to be careful not to use metal or anything too aggressive or you could actually scratch the wood under the padding. 

Step One: Scrape off as much carpet as possible

Step Two: Use a Solvent

In The second step you should use a solvent to dissolve the remaining padding and adhesive. There are few solvents to choose from. Either works fine:

  1. Most people like using a mineral spirit that works similar to a paint thinner. Try it on a small area of a floor, let it soak for 15 minutes then try scraping off the remaining residue. If that does not work, then try a different solvent. 
  2. If the mineral spirit isn’t working, try denatured alcohol. Denatured alcohol is great at removing dried latex paint. One I like is Klean Strip Denatured Alcohol. You can find this one on Amazon.
  3. Though unconventional, some suggest using peanut butter on the remaining padding can break do the job! The natural oils found in peanut butter will break up the adhesive and make it easy to pull up. This method will require a more thorough cleanup, however.  
  4. Last but probably most effective way is to use Orange Sol Solvent. This one is really popular among heavy duty solvents and will remove almost any carpet padding you can imagine.
Orange Sol 10151/52 Contractor Solvent

Step Three: Wipe up remaining residue

The third step is to use a cloth soaked with the solvent to wipe up the remaining residue after you’ve scraped the bulk of the foam off.

You can do this step with any of the above mentioned solvents (maybe not peanut butter).

After removed last parts of glue from your wooden floors with wet cloth, wipe the area again with a dry cloth to remove all remains.

If there is still some residue left, use soapy water to loosen the padding even more. Be careful with this step, do not let the water sit on the floor for too long because it could damage the wood.

How do you clean hardwood floors after removing carpet and padding? 

Once you rip up the carpet in your home, it is not going to be a pretty sight underneath. After removing the carpet and the padding, you’re going to have to thoroughly clean your wood floors.

When cleaning, you first have to evaluate your floor’s finish.

  1. Is it in good condition and has a remaining finish on it?
  2. Are we able to endure a wider range of cleaning methods ? if the finish is worn off. We need to be lot more cautious.

To test the state of your floor’s finish, drop some water onto a small spot of your flooring.

If the water beads up and stays beaded, the finish in in good condition. If the water is absorbed into the wood, then it is safe to say that the finish on your floor is not in good condition and you have to be more careful with what cleaning methods you use on it. 

Cleaning wood floors with a strong protective finish

If your floors have a strong finish, then you can use water-based cleaning methods. The two most popular methods are water with dish soap, and water with vinegar.

Using water with vinegar is a good and effective way to cut through any dirt or debris that is remaining after you lift the carpet padding and adhesive. Water with dish soap is another great option that leaves your floor looking brighter and newer, but it won’t cut through that residue that might be remaining as well as vinegar does. 

Cleaning wood floors without a strong protective finish

If your floor’s finish is gone or in bad condition, then you need to be more careful with what cleaning methods you use. Using too much water can damage the wood since it will be absorbed.

The vinegar with water method is safe to use on unfinished floors but you have to be sure to continuously dry the floor with a towel as soon as you are done cleaning it.

You can use Mineral spirits to clean as well, but again you must be persistent in drying areas when you are done cleaning to avoid damage. 

No matter what method you use, adding coconut oils to your floors when you are done cleaning leaves it with a bright shine, leaving your floors looking brand new! 

How do you remove carpet padding staples from wooden floors?

The traditional method of removing carpet padding staples from wooden floors is tedious but has been consistently effective.

All you need for this method is a flathead screwdriver, pliers or a 6-in-1 painter’s tool.

Process is straightforward:

  1. Slide the screwdriver under each carper staple and lift it up from the wood floor.
  2. Then, use your pliers or painter’s tool to pull the staple away from the wood.


The pros of this method are that it is effective, and you likely have the needed tools on hand.


The cons, however, are that this method is very slow and tedious, hard on your hands, and can damage your floors. The pliers and screwdriver can scratch and scrape the wooden floors, causing permanent damage.

There is a faster way to remove staples from your wooden floor….

A better way to remove the carpet padding staples from wood floors is with heavy duty staple removing tool called Swingline. You can easily get it on Amazon.

Swingline 37201 Heavy-Duty Staple Remover, Satin Chrome Finish - S7037201A

To use this, you slide the tip of the tool under the carpet staple, press the handle down, and it will pup the staple out of the wood!

The main pro of this method is that it is way easier and simpler than the traditional method. The only con is that you probably do not have a heavy-duty stapler remover on hand in your tool kit.

Consider getting this tool if you have a lot of staples on your floors. It will make your life si much easier.

Do you have to remove staples before installing laminate?

You always have to remove carpet padding staples before installing laminate flooring. If you do not, the padding will not lay flat. You can take traditional or more modern route removing them out.