Removing Carpet

I have a confession to make. I suffer from very satisfying moments of insanity and then have to scramble to clean up the evidence. This is one such story.

My darling Laika dog was old and sick. Unbeknownst to me, she had been having accidents on the carpet in the dining room. By the time the smell invaded the parts of the house we actually used, it was a lost cause. Of course, I didn’t know that yet, so I dutifully tried everything Google told me to do to get rid of the mess and the smell. Oh, the smell.

Coming down the stairs one night, the smell came up to meet me, and I snapped. I had to get rid of the carpet. I spent the next couple of hours destroying my dining room. I imagine I looked like a mad carpenter flinging carpet shreds, nails, and balls of green carpet padding in the dead of night. Now that I’ve returned to the world of the sane, I can calmly explain the process of removing carpet.



  1. First, get your mindset straight. You can do this. You may find it challenging or not, but regardless, you can do it yourself without having to hire out the project.
  2. Gather your tools: gloves, mask, safety goggles, utility knife(sometimes known as a box cutter or carpenter’s knife), hammer, cat’s claw or pry bar (personally, I love the Wonder Bar), and staple remover.
  3. Start in a corner of the room, and use your pry bar or utility knife to pull up an edge of carpet.
  4. This is the best step. Get a good hold on the edge of the carpet and PULL! You’ll be amazed at what your strength can accomplish.
  5. To make the cleanup process easier, as you work across the room, fold the carpet to expose the back, and use your utility knife to cut it into manageable pieces – whether that is smaller squares, larger areas you can roll up and carry, or strips that will easily fit in a trash bag.
  6. After you have removed the carpet, use the same process to remove the carpet padding.
  7. Now comes the tedious, not-so-much-fun part. The cleanup. If you have wooden strips along the edge of your walls that were used to nail the carpet into, you’ll need to pry these up with your pry bar and remove any nails that have stuck in the subflooring. Next, use a staple remover or the tip of your pry bar to remove all the staples, most with bits of carpet padding stuck to them, from the subflooring. Any rogue nails or staples that are just too stubborn to come out, hammer down.
  8. Sweep up and have a glass of wine. You did it!