How to remove carpet

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Indentation in carpet caused by furniture leg.

Indentation in carpet caused by furniture leg.

Indentations in carpet usually result when furniture has been moved.

To remove carpet indentations:

  1. Place a damp cloth over the indentation.
  2. Apply a hot clothes iron to the cloth.
  3. Remove the cloth and use a spoon to fluff up the carpet.
  4. Repeat the process until the indentation goes away.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Video Transcript Danny Lipford: Diane wants to know, “Our carpet has indentations in it. Can it be repaired?”

Yes, that’s a real common problem. When people decide to rearrange their furniture a bit, you’re left with those indentations from maybe the legs of a sofa, just like these homeowners experienced. When they positioned this sofa here, that had set here for many, many years. They moved it over so they had a little better viewing of their television.

Here’s how you get rid of those indentations. First of all, take a damp hand cloth, and put it directly over the indentation. Then use a steam iron and heat that towel up. Then after a few seconds, pull it back and use a spoon to fluff up the fibers of the carpet.

A little more steam heat, a little more fluffing, then finish it off with a vacuum to really make everything look nice and consistent. That way no one will ever know that you rearranged your furniture.

Top Tips for Removing Carpet Yourself

You’ve decided to tackle this job yourself, trading some of your time and effort for a lower total cost on your remodeling project or perhaps to put the savings toward a higher grade of flooring.

Either way, the good news is that no special carpet removal tools or skills are needed, and the job goes pretty quickly. We’ll walk you through the entire process, giving you carpet removal tips to simplify the work.

Carpet Removal Tools

Having the right equipment is the key to making quick work of existing carpet. You’ll need:

  • Leather gloves: You’ll be using a knife and pulling carpet off of tack strip.
  • Dust mask: You might encounter dust, mold spores or disintegrating carpet pad.
  • Knee pads: Good pads will help prevent pain and injury.
  • Utility knife: You could choose a specialized carpet knife, but a general utility knife will do the job.
  • Pry bar (better) or claw hammer (an acceptable alternative): This tool is used to pull up tack strip and to remove baseboard trim.
  • Twine: Nylon twine is cheap and strong; jute twine is a natural, green alternative.
  • Floor scraper: This tool will remove all the carpet pad staples in the subfloor. An alternative is to pound them all down with a hammer or remove them individually with a screwdriver.

Preparing to Remove Carpet

When the room is empty, carpet removal is easy. Move all furnishings to an adjacent room, preferably onto flooring that won’t be replaced and where it can remain until the new carpet is installed.

Note: If you’re putting heavy furniture on vinyl or linoleum, cut small squares of carpet to place under the feet, so it won’t leave marks.

Next, remove the baseboard molding. While some installers simply butt carpet to existing baseboard, the job will have a more finished, professional look if you take the trim off, install the carpeting and then re-install the trim over it.

As you remove the baseboard, keep these tips in mind:

  • If you plan to reuse the baseboard, use your pry bar at every nail used to hold it in place, and go slowly and carefully. This will help to prevent broken baseboard.
  • If paint covers the wall and baseboard, use the utility knife to cut through the paint where the two meet. This will prevent tears in the layer of paper covering the drywall.
  • Mark each piece of baseboard in sequence as it comes off the wall: A, B, C or 1, 2, 3, etc., if you plan to reuse it.
  • Be careful to use your pry bar behind the baseboard, not above it, to avoid damaging the drywall where it will show.
  • Any nail that pulls through the baseboard can either be pulled out with a claw hammer (best choice) or hammered into the stud (OK too)

Choosing Professional Carpet Removal

If you choose to let the carpet installer pull up the old material and dispose of it, you can expect the carpet removal costs to be:

Low: $0.40 per square yard Average: $0.65 per square yard High: $0.90 per square yard

For 1,000 square feet of carpet removal and disposal, you’ll likely pay $400 to $900 extra.

Your specific cost of carpet removal will depend on what you do to prepare. If you empty the rooms of furniture and remove floor grates and baseboard, your costs will be somewhere in the middle of the scale.

Doing all of that and taking the material to a recycling center yourself might drop you to the low end. Leave everything to the pros, and you’ll likely get a higher estimate for carpet removal and disposal.

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Helpful Carpet Removal Links

We’ve pulled together a list of links that will help you explore DIY carpet removal and recycling more thoroughly.

  • – A great guide for all carpet pricing info from buying to installing.
  • – Here’s a quick refresher for those who have removed carpet before.
  • – This video covers all the basics of carpet removal
  • – A good tools list, with costs, and carpet-removal tips can be found on this DIY home repair site.
  • – The experts at the Home Depot provide illustrated tips for removing carpeting.
  • – If you find mold on the subfloor, here are tips for removing it before installing the new carpet.
  • – Carpet America Recover Effort can help you find a carpet dealer in your area that recycles carpeting and padding.
  • – Here are additional tips for recycling used carpet.

How to Remove Carpet

  • Pull it Up: first, use pliers to pull up a corner of the carpet, ripping it off the tack strip holding it down. Continue pulling it as you back further away from the starting corner. Once you’ve got about 3 to 5 feet of carpet, begin cutting it up in strips. The strips you cut make tossing them into the trash a lot easier during cleanup.
  • Work Carefully: next, continue pulling the carpet and cutting it into strips. Keep a trash bag close by to toss the scraps as you work. Work around transitions in the carpeting that separate the carpet from another flooring type to prevent damaging it. This comes in handy when your new carpet is being installed. It can also save you money when you don’t have to replace a cut-up transition.
  • The Finishing Touches: finally, throw all the rest of your cut-up scraps into trash bags. Remember that concrete floors often have the carpet padding glued down. This results in padding left glued to the floor after the carpet is pulled up. You can remove this leftover padding by using a scraper (and a lot of elbow grease) to scrape it up. Scrapers are available for an affordable cost at home improvement stores and hardware centers. Your store’s selection might include both sharp and blunt blades, but both are fine to use for this job.

Tips for Removing Carpet from Stairs

  • Find a good place to start removing carpet from stairs. I started at the bottom of the stairs by using a crowbar to pry the carpet away from the tack strip.
  • Each piece of carpet was also wrapped around the edges of the stairs and around the balusters, so I had to remove the staples holding it in place from underneath (green arrow below). The staple remover that I used was bought for stripping upholstery, but it made the job so much easier. Apply leverage with the angled tip to pop the staples out.
  • Cut the carpet where necessary to remove large strips of carpet at once. If your carpet is wrapped around the balusters, it is probably cut in a place similar to the pink lines below.Where the carpet had walls on both sides, the carpet came up very easily. 
  • Where the carpet had walls on both sides, the carpet came up very easily by pulling hard on it. It was one long piece in this area. Where the carpet had walls on both sides, the carpet came up very easily. 
  • Use a crow bar to remove the tack strips. Our were on the treads and the risers. We threw them away as we removed them to avoid accidentally stepping on them.
  • Use a hammer to pull out stray tack strip nails or hammer in any nails that aren’t flush.
  • Tear out the padding under the carpet. Remove the staples after that. There were layers of staples from previous carpet installations as well. Pulling them out with a rolling motion seemed to work well. Use pliers for staples that are harder to remove. There were a few that I had to dig out. The holes will have to be filled anyways, so what’s another one?
  • Removing staples will take forever. Just when you think you’re done, you’ll find a few more that you missed.
  • If your landing also has carpet, you might be left with a similar situation. I still need to go back and cut this portion of the carpet off and remove another tack strip. Then the carpet will be stapled right under the edge of the tread. You can see how we finished this area when we installed our stair runners.Removing carpet from stairs is a great way to update your staircase on a budget. Click here to learn more!

After Removing Carpet from Stairs

We removed all of the demo debris and thoroughly vacuumed the stairs. We also demoed the railings to make way for a new, modern look.

Update your stairs on a budget by removing the carpet. Click here to learn how!

The stairs are now so bright that I keep thinking the hall light is on. It makes me so happy to see the progress. But there’s still so much to do.

Still to do:

  • Fill holes from staples and tack strips
  • Caulk seams
  • Paint trim
  • Sand stairs
  • Decide whether to paint or stain the treads
  • Paint the risers
  • Install runner
  • Install new railing system

Now that you know how to remove carpet from stairs, is this a project in your future?

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Staircase Reveal

What is Soot?

What-is-Soot What exactly is soot? Soot is primarily composed of carbon that appears as organic material, like wood or coal, is burned. Dark, flaky particles find their way through the smoke onto areas in close proximity, like carpeting, or up the chimney, as in a fireplace fire.

Soot can be extremely tedious and difficult to remove, but it can be done. If you frequently burn fires in your fireplace, it may be handy to know how to skillfully remove soot that accumulates on the carpeting near the fireplace. You may, in fact, be saddled with the task of lifting soot almost as often as you run the fireplace.

How to Remove Soot from the Carpet

Use a few simple techniques to help remove tough soot stains from your carpeting effectively and without spreading it other areas. You’ll need a few common household materials to accomplish the task:


  • Baking soda or cornstarch
  • Dry cleaning solution, hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol
  • Clean white towels
  • Warm water
  • Spoon
  • Vacuum

Before you begin removing the actual soot stains, remove any large chunks of soot resting on top of the carpeting. Use a utensil, like a spoon, to gently lift off any visible lumps. Be cautious and avoid smashing the soot deeper into the carpet fibers, because you’ll only end up with further stains to clean up. If you’re hesitant in carefully undertaking this important step, simply skip it.

1. Remove Soot from Carpet with Baking Soda

Remove-Soot-Carpet-Stain-Baking-Soda The next phase in tackling the sooty nuisance is to sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the soot. Baking soda and soot are absorbents; you can also use other household absorbents instead of either of these options. Examples of additional effective absorbents include cornmeal and white talcum powder. Absorbents gently soak up the stains without damaging the material upon which they are sprinkled.

As the absorbent pulls in the stains, it forms into a cakelike substance that can be easily vacuumed. Some absorbents are powerful enough to remove light stains completely if left on the stain for eight hours. Experts recommend, however, that an hour is enough to absorb the soot.

2. Removing the Soot with the Vacuum

Vacuum up the soot and mess with a powerful vacuum once the absorbent has set. Use a vacuum hose in areas along the baseboards for a better reach.

3. Apply Hydrogen Peroxide

Remove-Soot-Carpet-Stain-Hydrogen-Peroxide Next, use a clean, white cloth soaked in dry cleaning solution, hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to lift the remaining soot stain. A white cloth should be used, as certain chemicals may bleach the cloth. Again, be careful to avoid spreading the soot during the process. Blot, do not rub the chemical in. You’ll begin to notice the cloth gradually lifts the soot stains from the carpet fibers as they transfer onto the surface of the cloth.

About Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol, when lightly used, helps remove the stain; but be careful to avoid pushing the rubbing alcohol deep into the carpet fibers, as the alcohol may damage the carpeting. A spray bottle can be filled with the chemical you choose to use on the soot stain, then sprayed to lightly coat the stained area. Spray the area multiple times to ensure thorough coverage.

About Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide, as mentioned, is a useful solution to lift soot stains. Use a ratio of one tablespoon of peroxide with three tablespoons of warm water to dilute the chemical. It is important to note that hydrogen peroxide has a bleaching effect, so use this solution only on light colored carpeting. You can test an inconspicuous area to determine if the peroxide is safe for the color of your carpeting.

4. Blot the Area with a Damp Clean Cloth

You’ll want to remove the solvent you used to blot the soot stain with a separate clean cloth once the chemical sets for a few minutes. Moisten a clean, white cloth with warm water and blot the area. Or, you can use a cup of water to rinse the solvent from the carpeting. The cleaning solution residue can then be effectively removed with a wet/dry vacuum cleaner. Too much moisture in the carpeting can cause mold to grow beneath it. So be careful to thoroughly dry the carpeting once the above process is complete.

The soot stain will lessen in severity. Repeat the above process of laying baking soda, vacuuming and using a solvent to eliminate all traces of the soot stain.

Professional Soot Removal from the CarpetCarpet-cleaning-St.-Louis-IL

When soot has taken hold, it can be extremely difficult to remove, especially if the soot has affected large areas. When fires are unexpected, and the resulting soot is highly damaging, call a trusted fire and smoke restoration service. ServiceMaster is widely regarded for their swift response to emergency and non-emergency situations. The company’s team of trained technicians are skilled in fire mitigation and restoration.

Specialists at ServiceMaster pre-clean, deodorize, and remove stains in carpets, floors, and walls when fire and soot are the source of damage. Fire and smoke restoration can only be achieved when restorers are notified immediately. Smoke damage can continue long after the fire has been extinguished, making it an urgent matter to contact a qualified fire and smoke damage professional to quickly start the cleanup process.

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Removing Carpet Glue from Concrete

Concrete floors are becoming increasingly popular, but glue remnants from your old carpet can leave a sticky, dirty mess which will prevent you from painting or fully enjoying the exposed concrete. The following method is one of the most common and eco-friendly ways to remove any glue residue.

Step 1: Gathering the Tools

You will need several tools for the glue removal, most of which are likely already at your disposal. These include:

  • Bucket or pot of boiling water
  • Scraper (such as a spackling tool or hoe)
  • Push broom
  • Protective gear (rubber boots, rubber gloves, goggles)

Step 2: Scraping Down

Begin by using your scraper to remove as much of the residue and remaining carpet fragments as possible. Use the push broom to clear away the resulting debris.

Step 3: Soften the Glue

Making sure to put on protective clothing first, pour the boiling water over the floor and let it sit for several minutes. Be careful not to let the water cool too much, or the glue might harden again.

Step 4: Removing the Softened Glue

Using your scraper, gently work underneath the glue to avoid damaging the concrete surface. For particularly difficult spots, you may need to add more boiling water to further soften the wax.

Step 5: Cleanup

Once the glue has been completely scraped up, clear away any excess water with a towel or mop, then allow the floor to dry. Sweep away any remaining debris to leave the cement clean and ready for use.

Removing Carpet Glue from Wood

There are several methods which may be used to remove leftover carpet glue from a wooden floor, although some require additional caution to avoid damaging the wood.

Dry Ice

One of the more unusual ways to remove carpet glue is with dry ice. You will need to wear protective gloves and make sure the room is well-ventilated. Place the dry ice on a cookie sheet and slide the tray over sections of glue. This makes them brittle and easy to chip off safely.


Solvents are an easy method, but with a higher risk of discoloring or otherwise damaging the wood. They also require protective clothing and good ventilation. Different products will be required depending upon the type of adhesive.

  1. Determine the type of adhesive used. General carpet adhesives will have a yellowish tint, while tar-based adhesives have a brownish tint.
  2. Select the correct solvent product for the glue. General adhesives are best removed using a solvent based on orange oil, such as Goo Gone. For tar-based adhesives, you will need to use mineral spirits.
  3. Apply the solvent, following the instructions carefully. Solvents may take anywhere from minutes to hours to set.
  4. Gently scrape away the softened glue with a plastic putty knife. Metal knives can scar the wood and should be avoided at this stage.
  5. Using a cloth soaked in the solvent, scrub away any remaining glue. In some extreme cases, you may need to use a metal putty knife to scrape away resilient glue, but this can easily lead to damaged wood if not done carefully.
  6. Clean the area following the instructions on the solvent’s label. Alternatively, you may choose to clean the floor with a wet-vac. A gentle scrub with detergent or diluted apple cider vinegar can help detoxify the floor but must be dried thoroughly to avoid damaging the wood.

You should give the floor a full 24 hours to dry with good ventilation before attempting to add a finish or furnish the room. This prevents any remaining moisture from becoming trapped in the wood where it may lead to warping or other issues.

Unconventional Solvents

There are a few alternatives to regular solvents which may be more accessible. Unfortunately, all of these carry a risk of damaging or discoloring the wood if used excessively. These alternatives are:

  • Denatured Alcohol – high risk, but useful for the worst patches of stubborn glue
  • Paint Remover – highly effective, but also can easily cause damage
  • Vegetable Oil – can stain, but works well on yellow adhesives when worked in with a soft cloth
  • WD-40 – works well when applied in a small amount using a soft cloth and allowed to soak for 15-30 minutes, but can cause damage if over-applied

Remove carpet staples with the right tool

remove carpet staples with diagonal pliers

Use diagonal pliers to remove carpet staples. Click the picture for different options at Amazon.

Remove carpet staples

In the video Brian and Paul race to see who can remove more staples quickly. Paul uses the diagonal pliers and Brian uses a variety of other tools. Paul’s technique wins hands down.

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