Expanding carpet foam is great for adding solid insulation underneath carpet. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to work with, especially if you have never handled it before. It can get everywhere very quickly. It stains, and it forms up pretty darn solid- which means it’s tough to get out of fabrics where you don’t want it. If you’re using expanding foam carpet for the first time, you’re almost certain to get it where it doesn’t belong. Fortunately, there are ways to get it out- which we describe here.
How to Remove Expanding Foam From Carpet
The best way to remove expanding carpet foam depends on the type and brand of carpet foam that you need to remove.
Selecting the Right Type of Solvent
The two main states of expanding carpet foam are cured, meaning hard and dried, and uncured, meaning fresh. The brand you have used, whether cured or uncured, may respond best to certain solvents. Ideally, you should check the manufacturer’s instructions and have the best solvent for the foam you are using on hand before use.
Note: Some forms of solvent will be too strong for some types of carpet. This is particularly true of carpets made with polyester and other artificial fabric. It is best to know before using expanding carpet foam if the solvent you intend to use for cleanup would damage your carpet.
The most common solvents include, but are not limited to:
- Paint thinner
- Nail polish
- Polyurethane stripper
Other tools and materials you’ll need include:
- A fan
- A mask
- A nail file
- A dull knife
- Mineral spirits
- A pumice stone
- A utility knife
- A bread knife
You can pick up any of these supplies right here on Amazon.com
Uncured Carpet Foam
Uncured expanding carpet foam will remain wet for some time. It can be difficult to remove from skin, clothing, and carpet. The longer it sits, the more difficult it will be to remove without damaging the material it has come into contact with.
Soft & Rigid Surfaces
Once again, consult the manufacturer’s instructions to find the best solvent for the foam type and brand you are using.
If a polyurethane-based foam gets on your skin, immediately wipe it with a paper towel. Then rub the final sticky layer away using baby oil or petroleum jelly.
Use soap and warm water to remove latex-based foam from your skin and other surfaces.
Cured Carpet Foam
Expanding carpet foam will dry, or cure, and harden within 1 to 8 hours after it is exposed to the air depending on the brand and atmospheric conditions.
To remove cured carpet foam you can sand it, cut it, or scrape it away, taking care not to damage the object/s it has come into contact with. Use a utility knife with a one-inch blade on overfill up to one inch thick.
For wider overfill, use a larger serrated knife. If any cured polyurethane foam has become affixed to the skin. Rub off as much as can be rubbed off gently. Then wait a week or so to let any remaining cured foam come free on its own.
After that, any remaining cured foam should be able to be removed in the bath or shower using a pumice stone.
Removing Expanding Foam from Carpet
Getting uncured expanding foam out of carpet requires some specific techniques. It must also be done well before the foam begins to cure. If the foam dries and cures in the carpet, the carpet will be ruined, so time is of the essence.
- During this process, it’s important to limit the extent of the damage. Take care to avoid stepping on any foam or setting anything on foam that has fallen onto the carpet to keep from pressing it down deeper into the carpet fibers.
- Before you begin, select an inconspicuous portion of the rug to test your solvent. If the solvent dissolves or damages the carpet, you should stop and select a gentler solvent.
- Use a clean white rag to test your solvent. If you notice the color, of carpet dye rubbing off onto the rag, your solvent may be too strong.
- It can be tempting to use harsh chemicals to remove carpet foam. Please do not use harsh chemicals as they are likely to make the damage worse.
Wipe any fresh foam drops off of the carpet using a clean, dry rag. Then, pinching the foam firmly in the rag, pull it upwards away from the carpet working to avoid getting it further down into the carpet.
Pour a small amount of the solvent recommended by the manufacturer onto your rag and thoroughly wipe down the affected portion of carpet. This should remove most if not all of the remaining foam.
Then pull any partially cured foam pieces upward. Then, as you apply upward pressure, tilt the pieces for a clearer view of the spot where the insulation has become attached. Then, if the foam is too firm to remove by pulling, cut the carpet fibers that have become attached to pieces of clear foam at the base of the fibers using scissors.
Discard all removed pieces of foam insulation safely in the trash. Putting this step off creates a risk that removed pieces of uncured or partially cured foam will get stuck to other fabrics or surfaces.