removing plastic goo from tile floor
June 19, 2015 7:23 AM   Subscribe

I had a cheap dollar store bathmat on my bathroom tile floor, and the water resistant / nonslip rubbery coating on the bottom of the mat kind of melted and stuck to the floor, leaving lots of very persistent and slightly sticky bits stuck to the tile. Is there any way to get them up other than heavy scrubbing? The label says "100% olefin heat set polypropylene" but I don't know if that applies to the rubbery part or just the carpet nap.
posted by moonmilk to Home & Garden (16 answers total)
Have you tried Goo Gone?
posted by AugustWest at 7:26 AM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]

A razor blade?
posted by fancyoats at 7:27 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Seconding Goo Gone (or similar hydrocarbon-based solvents). The chemistry is right, and I've actually done this to remove similar underlays that had stuck to the floor.

Apply, let it soak for ten or fifteen minutes, then remove with a non-metal scraper. Metal shouldn't scratch tile too easily, but you never know.

Pain thinners etc... will work too, but they're a lot more volatile and so hazardous. Goo Gone and similar are a lot safer to use.
posted by bonehead at 7:35 AM on June 19, 2015

You can clean the goo gone from the surface afterwards with any mild soap and a bit of scrubbing.
posted by bonehead at 7:36 AM on June 19, 2015

WD40 is poorfolks' Goo Gone.
posted by Don Pepino at 7:37 AM on June 19, 2015 [4 favorites]

Plastic putty knife (available at any hardware store) to scrape up the big pieces, followed by Magic Eraser (or the non-brand-name equivalent, which they sell at Target). The Magic Eraser is still scrubbing but will involve a lot less of it than a sponge or similar.

Test anything you use in an inconspicuous place first as most suggestions, including mine, can either scratch tile or dull the finish.

Also, if you do use anything solvent-based, including Goo Gone, run your bathroom fan or put a fan in the window blowing out to cut down on the fume exposure. I love Goo Gone but I try not to breathe in too much of it.
posted by pie ninja at 8:33 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

...followed by Magic Eraser (or the non-brand-name equivalent, which they sell at Target).

Be careful with those: they're abrasive and depending on what your tile is made of, it could be permanently scratched by a Magic Eraser.

Echoing Goo Gone -- it's mild enough that it won't damage non-plastic surfaces, and gets most non-water-soluble glues off without a mark.
posted by AzraelBrown at 8:55 AM on June 19, 2015

WD40 is poorfolks' Goo Gone.

Or lighter fluid!
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:36 PM on June 19, 2015

When this happened to me, nothing worked but razor blades to get it off. I think I tried every solvent we could find. It took me what felt like hours of scraping to get it off, but it did eventually come off (without any real damage to the bathroom tile, luckily).
posted by lysimache at 3:25 PM on June 19, 2015

If you don't have goo gone etc on hand, you could also try any cooking oil. Olive, canola, coconut or whatever.
posted by peep at 3:50 PM on June 19, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks, y'all! I will buy some Goo Gone and report back.
posted by moonmilk at 7:42 PM on June 19, 2015

We had the exact same thing happen, though ours was both a bath mat and the around-toilet mat from a cheap Walmart set. We switched back and forth between Goo Gone and hot dish-soapy water multiple times, with soaks, and green scrubbies. After lots and lots of elbow grease, and five of us working on it at various times, I finally resorted to a Goo Gone soak, the scraping at it with edge of a butter knife, trying to be very careful and not damage the flooring. (We rent.)

That FINALLY worked. Sad thing was, it did it after just a couple of months. We switched back to using towels, as we're sorta afraid to try another bath mat, and the kids insisted that bath mats don't cover enough of the floor anyway.
posted by stormyteal at 7:51 PM on June 19, 2015

The soak is the important part. Don't be impatient with it.
posted by bonehead at 7:11 AM on June 20, 2015

Nail polish remover. The kind with actual acetone in it.
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:01 AM on June 20, 2015

Handheld steam cleaner (ours is made by Shark) -- shoot the steam at the gunk for a minute, then scrape.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:53 AM on June 23, 2015

Response by poster: OK, I finally got around to testing this.

Rubbing alcohol, soak for a few minutes: no effect. The goo is still too solid to scrape up with a scouring sponge or my fingernail.

Off-brand Goo-Gone ("Sticky Stuff Remover" - appears to have similar ingredients to Goo Gone: petroleum distillates and citrus oil), soak for about ten minutes: very little effect.

WD-40, soak for about twenty minutes: moderate effect. Bu

Not exactly a fair test, but the amount of time I let it soak depends on how long I get distracted by other things.

Screwdriver blade: works best in areas with no solvent. I should have tried this one first. It leaves a gray mark on the white tile but the mark seems to wipe right up. Maybe I'll go buy a putty knife for the rest of the job, and then use a WD-40 soak to try to loosen up what the knife missed.
posted by moonmilk at 10:31 AM on July 1, 2015

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