How to Remove Adhesive Rug Backing from Tile


Sharon asked: How do I clean worn adhesive rug backing from ceramic tile floor. I have an old adhesive-backed bathroom rug on my ceramic tiled bathroom floor. Some water got on the rug and went through the rug, thus causing the adhesive backing to adhere to the floor in spots. In removing the rug, I found many areas where the adhesive rug backing has stuck to the ceramic floor. I need something to remove all the backing that remains.

Rubber backing stuck to the floor can be difficult to remove, but by no means is it impossible. Be prepared to spend some time working it loose and scraping it away. Read on to learn exactly how to remove the stuck on rubber.

You Will Need:

  • Plastic scraper
  • Nylon scrubber
  • Mild detergent
  • WD-40 or other lubricant
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Soft cloths

Steps to Remove the Backing:

  1. Begin by scraping as much of the rug backing away as possible using the plastic scraper.
  2. Next, apply the lubricant to a nylon scrubber, NOT directly to the tile. Some lubricants will leave a stain if they are poured onto the grout.
  3. Scrub the area until the backing comes loose.
  4. If necessary, the scraper can be used once the backing begins to loosen.
  5. Continue scrubbing until all of the backing is removed.
  6. Once all of the backing adhesive is removed, wash the area with a mix of mild detergent or soap and water.
  7. Rinse with clean water.
  8. Dry with a soft cloth.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • For stubborn areas, mineral spirits can be applied to loosen the bond and allow for easier removal.
  • Once the area is clean, allow the area to dry completely before placing a new rug on the surface.
  • Ensure all of the lubricant is washed away. Any remaining lubricant can make the floor slippery and dangerous.


  1. Jessica says:

    Thank you for your helpful advice in removing the rubber backing from ceramic tiles.

    Let me just say that NEVER again will I buy a rubber-backed floor mat! I can’t believe the damage the two I own have done to my newly tiled floors, and little did I realize that they could not get wet – what is the point of that when you wish to put them in the bathroom! I agree with the fact that once you wash them, they begin to deteriorate even more… only one place for them: the garbage bin!

  2. Margret says:

    I soaked my mat with boiling water and left for a half an hour or so, then used my metal egg lifter to ease it off the floor. The stuff that was stuck then scraped off easily. What could have been a drama ended up a breeze!

  3. Donna says:

    I didn’t have any WD-40, so I used methylated spirits and it worked like a treat! I found that I had to be generous with the spirits, but I only used an old Chux cloth and rubbed it off in circular motions. It was so quick to remove and, yes, the rubber-backed mat is in the bin! Thank you so much!!

  4. Robin says:

    On vacation visiting my parents and encountered the same problem. I googled the topic and landed here first. I’m so relieved to see this is common and there is a solution. Thank you very much!

  5. Ellie says:

    These mats are horrid. Mine never had water or dampness as an issue. The mats just stick to the floor regardless — until you are on your hands and knees with elbow grease. Never again.

  6. Linda says:

    My cheap bathroom rug stuck to my linoleum. I did the oil and WD-40, which was OK for the surface stuff after soaking day and a half, but the glue left didn’t come up. I used Lysol Scrubbing Bubbles. Job done in 5 minutes.

  7. Ram says:

    I tried lots of tips, but nothing worked. I used my H2O mop in the end and it did the trick in 5 min.

  8. Darryl says:

    Thanks for the tips. Our mats left the rubber matting as well and looked terrible. Used methylated spirits – it worked a treat and came off quickly!! For hard patches, I used a plastic scraper and it scraped off easily. Used a Chux scrub. All gone… Thanks for the site; appreciated.

  9. Frank says:

    Years ago, my father had the tiled bathroom floor carpeted. Now it is time to remove the carpet, and to expose the original tile, or to replace the old tile with new. I believe the old carpet is held in place by some kind of adhesive. How do I remove the adhesive to assess the condition of the original tile?

  10. Melanie says:

    This is the article that you need: How to Remove Carpet Glue from Flooring.

  11. Dawn says:

    I have Spanish tile in the house and that no-slip stuff you put under your carpet is stuck on my floor now when I pulled that up… I’m guessing it’s the glue. I was going to send a picture for you to see, but it won’t let me. We are moving and it’s summer time. I don’t want to use a harsh chemical… Any suggestions? I’m desperate and strapped for cash, so a professional is out of the question. Thank you… Dawn

  12. Melanie says:

    This article might help: How to Remove Carpet Glue from Flooring. Good luck!

Leave a Comment