How to Remove Rubber Backing from Vinyl Flooring


Sherry asked: How do I remove rubber backing from a vinyl floor? I have carpet tiles on my houseboat top deck. The back of the carpet squares melted onto the vinyl floor from being in the sun. How do I remove the backing that has now melted to the vinyl floor.

Removing rubber backing from vinyl will take some time and elbow grease. The best way to loosen it is to attack it with a lubricant. Here are some products and the steps to break the bond between the rubber and the vinyl flooring.

You Will Need:


  • Goo Gone or WD-40
  • Green scrubbing pads or plastic scrubbers
  • Plastic scraper
  • Soft cloths
  • Water
  • Floor cleaner

Steps to Remove the Rubber Backing:

  1. Start by scraping as much of the rubber backing away as possible.
  2. Moisten the remaining rubber with Goo Gone or another lubricant.
  3. Allow the area to become thoroughly moistened with the lubricant, then allow it to set for several minutes up to an hour. The lubricant will need to soak into the rubber before it can loosen it from the surface.
  4. After it has sat and soaked, use a plastic scraper to remove any loosened rubber pieces.
  5. Repeat the lubricant application, soaking and scraping until most of the rubber has been removed.
  6. To remove the remaining thin layer of rubber, apply the lubricant and scrub the area with a green scrubbing pad or plastic scrubber.
  7. Once all of the rubber is removed from the floor, it will be necessary to clean the floor.
  8. Fill a bucket with soap and warm water.
  9. Use a soft cloth to clean the entire area and remove all of the lubricant.
  10. Rinse with clean water.
  11. Allow the area to air dry or dry with a soft cloth.
  12. Floor cleaners designed for vinyl flooring can also be used to remove the residue from the lubricant. Be careful not to spread the lubricant around. Rinse the mop/cloth frequently and change the water as needed.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Walk carefully over the area that was cleaned. If any of the lubricant remains, the floor will be slick.
  • Mr. Clean Magic Erasers work well for removing the last thin layer of rubber as well. Simply moisten the sponge and rub it over the surface of the area.
  • For more severe cases, more aggressive cleaners may be needed. Mineral spirits works well to remove the rubber, but may damage the surface of the vinyl. Test a small area to ensure there is no damage to the coating or coloring of the vinyl prior to use.



  1. My mat stuck to my vinyl floor. I sprayed some Awesome on the floor, waited a few minutes, took a hand brush, brushed the floor, and then it wiped up with no problem. So spray Awesome on it, then take a hand brush, and brush the floor. It will wipe off!

  2. I tried some GOOF OFF, which Home Depot said would work. It hardly removed any of the rubber. I tried putting a towel on the area and poured a small amount of hot, hot water on it (do not flood the area). I let it sit for about 15 minutes, then used a scrub pad and the stuck-on rubber came off with a little elbow grease. Best part: no chemical smell!!

  3. I have tried everything and still have a thin film of the stuff and it is really sticky. I have scrubbed and put everything on it. Help.

  4. I used Pledge oil spray for wood. I didn’t want to risk damaging my floor and didn’t want to leave the house for some WD-40 if it worked. It worked. I had a cheap 4×6 carpet I hadn’t moved for a while and that sucker stuck all over my peel and stick tiles. I sat in the middle of it, sprayed the wood oil, scraped with a wooden spatula with a sharp edge and used a green scrubby to get the tile scrubbed off. Then I washed the floor. It took me two hours, but the workout was worth it. I will never buy a cheap rug with a rubber backing again; there are better options.

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