Old yucky linoleum is off, now needs some tlc

For those of you who have been following our home (built in 1917) improvement projects,  we finally figured out a safe, easy and non toxic way to get that horrid linoleum that had black tar underneath off the wood floors in the craft-music room (see pics “improvement” here & here).   Water.  Yep, HOT water!    No need for commercial or chemical strippers… ok, that sounds rather funny!  LOL Not to mention saving my pretty little knuckles from using a scrapper (boy, that was tedious & tiring!)

Anyhow,  we figure there just had to be a better way! After some searching, Jordanne found this nifty trick; however,   the trouble for me was how to keep the hot water on the linoleum for hours and live in the house at the same time.  I figured I couldn’t do the whole floor but only sections at a time.   I rummaged in the garage and found a stack of burlap coffee sacks, laid one down on the floor and poured boiling hot water. Then I put down a waxed cardboard box and an old throw carpet so that we could walk over the soaked floor and burlap without our socks and shoes getting wet (*shudder*).   It worked!   The horrible linoleum and black as tar glue came right off.    Now, I am one happy girl … wood floors!  Woot!   I sooo love wood floors.

The wood floor is old and not perfect; but I will give it a good cleaning with Murphy’s soap and a  good oiling afterwards.


  1. Nebraska Dave says:

    Anais, home improvement and be challenging especially when still living there. I used your method of removing tar from the floor to remove old wallpaper from the bathroom walls. I used a cut up old thin towel and soaked it in very hot water then slapped it on the wall about a 12 by 18 inch section at a time. It would stick to the wall quite nicely. After about 30 to 45 minutes the wallpaper would peal off the wall very easily. I have to sheepishly admit I tried all the fancy wall scratchers and goopy chemical sprays to take the wallpaper off the walls but it didn’t work. After much trial and error I found that the simplest solutions are many times the best. Some folks say that a little vinegar would have helped but just plain old hot water and a towel scrap worked wonderfully well.

    Have a great wooden floor/home improvement day.

    • Anais Dervaes says:

      Love it! Who would have thought SIMPLE solutions are sometimes the BEST solutions! 🙂

  2. Ginger says:

    I love figuring out ways to NOT spend money. My grandmother was born in 1917 and scooting along just fine. The old ones are the best ones.

  3. Mike says:

    Is the flooring tongue-in-groove hardwood flooring? Did you have any problem with the hot water causing the flooring to warp?

    • Anais Dervaes says:

      The water wasn’t on too long… besides the hot water had to penetrate the linoleum and tar first!

  4. Justin says:

    Wood floors are definitely the way to go. Glad you got this project started and seems like you’re happy with it. Congrats!

  5. Loretta says:

    Beautiful! I love wood floors.

  6. Chris says:

    Great job and great tip! What kind of oil will you be using on the floor after the Murphy’s? I have a floor to do here and want to stay away from “the chemical junk”. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Erica says:

    What kind of oil do you use on your wood floors?

    • Anais Dervaes says:

      lemon oil

      • Chris V says:

        Thanks Anais! I have an old floor to be refinished and I’m going to give your method a try (murphy’s then lemon oil).

  8. Paul says:

    Surprising! I don’t believe that that chemical of H20 can replace the other complicated chemicals to remove that dirty black tar. I believe this will be an economical solution for me. In fact, I have no a lot of budget for home improvement this year, but this idea is really enlightening!

  9. grace says:

    So awesome! I have old carpeting over an old wood floor. Carpet shouldn’t be too bad to get up but the wood is for sure gonna need some tlc! Thanks for the tips 🙂 Although, chemical strippers ~ kinda sounds like some creepy futuristic movie! lol!

  10. NJ Cellulose Insulation Contractor says:

    It is good to see you were able to remove the linoleum with only hot water! Sometimes the best thing to do is not “over-think projects.” The less chemicals you have to use the better.

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