How to Remove Carpet Glue from Carpet Pile


Diane asked: How do I remove carpet glue off of carpet pile? While putting down new indoor/outdoor carpet, the carpet adhesive got on some of the carpet pile.

Carpet glue is a strong adhesive that is not made to come loose easily. It works great for under the carpet, but when it gets tracked on top, it can be a real headache. Careful removal can be accomplished. However, always take your time and use caution so the adhesive that holds the carpet together does not become dissolved as well.

You Will Need:

  • Goof Off
  • Vinegar
  • Lighter Fluid
  • Scissors
  • Water
  • Soft cloths
  • Carpet shampoo
  • Steam cleaner or wet vac (optional)

Steps to Remove the Glue:

  1. Removing carpet glue requires adding something that will dissolve the glue. There are several options that can achieve this.
  2. Goof Off is a commercial product that removes many types of adhesives and is safe for most carpet types.
  3. Moisten a soft cloth with the liquid and gently wipe the glue away.
  4. If the glue remains, moisten the area with lighter fluid and blot with a clean cloth.
  5. As you are blotting, you will notice that the glue is transferring to the cloth.
  6. Switch to a clean part of the cloth periodically and continue blotting until all of the adhesive is removed.
  7. Vinegar is readily available and will cut through adhesives as well.
  8. Moisten the glued area well (but remember not to soak it) and allow it to set for a few minutes before removing.
  9. Blot the vinegar and glue away.
  10. Once all of the glue is removed, clean the area with a carpet shampoo or soap.
  11. Rinse thoroughly by blotting with clean water.
  12. Blot the area with a soft, dry cloth to remove as much moisture as possible.
  13. Allow the area to air dry completely.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Do not saturate the carpeting with any substance that dissolves glue. Carpet is held together by glue. If that glue dissolves, the carpet will fall apart.
  • Ensure there is proper ventilation when cleaning with Goof Off and other commercial products. The fumes can become quite strong and overwhelming.
  • If a steam vacuum is available, it can be used to clean the area after the glue is removed.
  • If the spot is small, it may be possible to trim the fibers that are covered in glue.
  • If none of the above products remove the glue, find the adhesive remover produced by the company that manufactured the adhesive. This can carefully be applied to the surface to soften and remove the glue.


  1. Ruth says:

    Thank you so much for your tip!!! I tried vinegar and it didn’t work, but the lighter fluid was easy and worked like a charm!! Just a dab will do it! I think that I wasn’t supposed to use that kind of glue strip on the carpet. It wasn’t doing a great job of keeping the carpet flat anyway!

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