Removing Tar From Floor Tiles

Tar is a thick, black substance that clings to almost anything it touches, which is unfortunate for your floors. If tar is accidentally tracked into your home, of if tar-based linoleum adhesive seeps out of a seam, you can usually remove it without special equipment, heavy labor or specialized cleaning compounds. Tar is dissolved by oils, so most oily substances, including ordinary peanut butter, can help you remove it. Determine which type of tile you have before you start, as that will guide your selection of supplies.

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Try to confine the stain to a small area without spreading it.

Ceramic, Porcelain and Vinyl Tiles

Step 1

Scrape off as much excess tar as you can using a dull-edged tool such as a paint stirring stick or a non-serrated, dull butter knife. Knives can scratch tile, so use a light touch.

Step 2

Apply a thick layer of butter or mineral oil on the tar stain.

Step 3

Scrape the tile again with the dull scraping tool. Do not wipe off the oily material at this point; work it into any tar that hasn't softened.

Step 4

Wipe off the oily residue and loosened tar with a paper towel.

Step 5

Apply more butter or oil to the tile if any tar remains. Let it sit for a few minutes, then scrape off the remainder of the stain.

Step 6

Dampen a clean rag with degreasing floor cleaner.

Step 7

Wipe the oily residue with the cleaner, turning the rag frequently, until the oil is dissolved.

Step 8

Rinse the rag in plain water, and wipe the floor to remove all traces of cleaner.

Linoleum Tiles

Step 9

Apply masking tape around the perimeter of the tar stain. This helps prevent spreading the stain.

Step 10

Scrape off as much tar as you can with a wooden scraping tool such as a paint stirring stick or a wooden craft stick; metal tools can permanently scar linoleum.

Step 11

Dampen a white rag with full-strength mineral spirits or turpentine. Solvents can cause rags with any color to deposit stains on the linoleum.

Step 12

Wipe the tar inside the taped outline with the damp rag. Turn the rag frequently to reveal a clean side, which helps avoid redepositing or spreading the tar stain. Switch to a fresh rag as necessary, if the first one becomes covered in tar. Continue until all tar residue is removed.

Step 13

Dampen a clean rag with plain water. Wipe the floor inside the taped outline, turning the rag frequently.