Easy Ways To Get Rid Of Carpet Tape On Wooden Floors or Stairs

Jan 20, 2024

If you have wooden floors or stairs in your home and have used carpet tape or double-sided tape to hold down rugs, runners or carpet treads, you may eventually need to remove that tape when replacing the floor coverings. Carpet tape is extremely sticky and getting it off wooden surfaces can be a real chore.

In this comprehensive guide, we provide easy, step-by-step instructions for removing carpet tape residue from hardwood floors and stairs. We cover everything from what supplies you’ll need to how long the process takes per step. Read on to learn easy ways to get rid of carpet tape on wooden floors or stairs and restore your beautiful wood finishes.

What You’ll Need

  • Putty knife or paint scraper
  • Old rags
  • Goo Gone spray adhesive remover
  • Murphy Oil Soap
  • Orange Glo wood polish
  • Protective eyewear and gloves

Step 1: Lift Off Carpet First

Start by gently lifting off any remaining carpet fibers, threads or backing from the tape residue on the floors or stairs. Try to remove as much of the carpet as possible before tackling the adhesive. You can use a flexible putty knife to help scrape the carpet up.

Discard any lifted carpet pieces. If the carpeting is still in decent shape, consider saving good pieces for patches or small rugs.

Step 2: Apply Adhesive Remover Spray

Next, generously spray Goo Gone Pro-Strength Adhesive Remover all over the carpet tape residue. This powerful foam spray helps dissolve the sticky gunk. Let it sit for 30-60 seconds before scraping.

Tip: Goo Gone specially formulated for adhesive is better than regular orange Goo Gone for carpet glue removal.

Step 3: Scrape Off Residue

Use your putty knife or paint scraper to scrape up the softened glue residue. Apply firm pressure as needed, but take care not to gouge or scratch your wood floors. The tape should scrape up relatively easy. Keep re-spraying Goo Gone and scraping until you remove the bulk of the residue. Wipe scraped glue on rags as you work.

Step 4: Wipe With Rags

Next, use clean rags to wipe off any remaining sticky residue. You can also do some final gentle scraping with the putty knife followed by wiping. The wood should now be mostly clear with just a bit of haze or staining from the old carpet glue.

Step 5: Clean With Murphy Oil Soap

To remove any last traces of adhesive, wipe down the stairs or floor boards using Murphy Oil Soap and water. Light scrubbing with this wood cleaner helps get rid of residue film and restore the wood grain.

Rinse the Murphy Oil Soap off thoroughly with clean water to avoid leaving a residue behind. Wipe the wood dry with clean towels.

Step 6: Polish Wood Finish

The final step is to polish and protect the cleaned wood using a product like Orange Glo Hardwood Floor Reviver. This helps seal the wood grain and leave a glossy, vibrant finish.

Let the orange oil furniture polish dry completely before walking on the treated floors or stairs. Admire how beautiful the restored wood looks now that the annoying carpet tape is gone!

Tips for Carpet Tape Removal

Here are some helpful pointers to make eliminating carpet tape as easy as possible:

  • Try not to leave carpet tape residue on surfaces for too long before removing. The longer it’s down, the harder it will be to scrape off.
  • Heat helps! Warm the glue residue with a hair dryer before spraying on Goo Gone and scraping.
  • If any wood finish happens to come up with the tape, spot re-finish repairs may be needed. Use wood stain markers for touch ups.
  • Be prepared for the process to take 5-10 minutes per wooden step or board. Removing carpet glue takes patience.
  • Wear gloves and eye protection when dealing with chemical removers. Work in a well-ventilated area.
  • Re-apply wood floor sealants or polyurethane once carpet tape residue is removed. This helps protect the bare wood exposed under the tape.

Avoiding Future Carpet Tape Hassles

Now that you’ve successfully conquered scraping up old carpet tape, it’s wise to consider alternatives for securing future stair treads or area rug runners. Here are some options:

Double-Sided Rug Tape

Special wide double-sided tapes designed for rugs are easier to remove than traditional carpet tapes. Look for rug tapes marketed as removable or easy release. They adhere well but come up cleaner.

Hook-and-Loop Tape
One side of hook-and-loop tape can be secured to stairs or floors using adhesive. The hook or loop side sticks to rug backings. This detachable velcro-like system makes removal easier.

Non-Adhesive Rug Runners

Rubber-backed stair treads or hallway runners stay in place through grip friction rather than glue. They are good solutions for high-traffic areas prone to wear and tear.

Tread-Gripping Systems

Plastic or metal stair rods or cleats can hold carpet treads in place without touching the wood stairs themselves. These systems grip treads snugly while allowing for replacement without floor residue.

In a pinch, even non-slip rug pads or wide painter’s tape under edges can help secure stairs and area rugs minus permanent sticky glue contacting your fine hardwood.


Removing old carpet tape from wooden flooring and stairs is achievable through using specialty adhesive remover sprays, putty knives for scraping, oil soap for cleaning and wood polish to finish.

Protect your beautiful hardwood investments by dealing with tape residue promptly when replacing worn coverings in the future. Or better yet, consider sticky-free rug hold down methods before resorting back to glue-based carpet tapes again.

We hope these carpet tape removal tips help restore shine to your wood floors and stairs after wrestling with those pesky adhesives. Don’t struggle with residue removal alone – contact our team of floor sanding experts if you need assistance reviving stubborn sticky floors or stairs in your home.