How To Remove Roofing Tar From Metal

If you are a roofer, or if you are doing some DIY roofing, or even just using roofing tar for other reasons, it can be quite the pain to clean up.

Often your metal tools will get roofing tar on it, which can be difficult to remove once the roofing tar dries.

The solution to cleaning metal with roofing tar stuck to it can be quickly addressed.

Continue reading down below to learn how to remove roofing tar from metal. 

What You’ll Need

Now that you have the items you will need, continue reading for step-by-step instructions on how to remove roofing tar from metal.

1 . Spray WD-40 On The Metal

Ensure you are in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside, before starting to remove the roofing tar from the metal.

If the metal is attached to something and cannot be moved, consider using a mask or a fan to increase airflow. 

Spray a liberal amount of WD-40 onto the roofing tar on the metal.

Depending on the thickness of roofing tar and how long it has been on the metal, you may want to let the WD-40 sit on the metal for some time. 

The WD-40 should serve as an oily lubricant that will help remove the roofing tar’s adhesion from the metal. 

2. Wipe The Metal With A Cloth

Using a cloth or a rag, begin to wipe the metal.

Doing this should remove most, if not all, of the roofing tar from the metal.

Continue wiping all of the roofing tar off with the cloth or rag until it is all gone or there is no longer any lubrication from the WD-40. 

3. Repeat As Necessary

Depending on the amount of roofing tar on the metal, you may need to repeat the steps above.

If you have a lot of roofing tar caked onto the metal, this will likely be the case. 

Video Instructions

  • Step 1 (:28) — Spray WD-40 On Metal
  • Step 2 (:58) – Wipe Metal With Cloth


What Solvent Dissolves Roofing Tar? 

Roofing tar is a material used to bond things together, which makes roofing tar reasonably challenging to remove if you do not understand how to remove roofing tar in the first place.

You can use both manual or chemical means to remove roofing tar.

You will want to consider how each of these works when trying to remove roofing tar from metal. 

Some tools can manually remove tar by scrapping and scrubbing away the dried tar.

Beyond physical and manual removal, you can chemically remove roofing tar.

Different chemicals can remove roofing tar.

These chemicals will address, remove, and weaken the adhesive properties of the tar.

Some may even actually dissolve or melt the tar away. 

What Can I Use Besides WD-40? 

There are several different ways you can remove roofing tar if you do not have WD-40.

You can use a razor scraper to scrape the roofing tar from the metal carefully.

It is essential to be careful when using the razor scraper.

This method can be effective for particularly tough pieces of roofing tar that have dried on in thick layers. 

Another option to manually remove roofing tar from metal is using a wire brush.

Using the brush, scrub the roofing tar and start to remove it.

Be sure you are scrubbing hard enough to remove the roofing tar, but not so hard that you will harm or scuff the metal. 

You can also use a mixture of ammonia and baking soda.

You can mix the ammonia and baking soda in equal proportions.

Then add the mixture to the spot with roofing tar and allow it to sit.

Then using a cloth and water, rinse and wipe off the metal.

Doing this should help to remove the roofing tar.

Some people will also try to use lubricant similar to WD-40.

Some success has been found by using oily materials like olive oil or mayonnaise.

These may not be as effective as WD-40 but will work in a pinch.

These will help to lubricate the metal and reduce the bond between the metal and the roofing tar.

You can also consider using vegetable oil, coconut oil, baby oil, suntan oil, or suntan lotion.

These should not harm the metal and will work to loosen the roofing tar from the metal.

Other chemicals like acetone, kerosene, gasoline and other paint thinners can also be used.

These chemicals will be able to effectively dissolve the tar and even melt the tar from the metal.

If using these, be sure to be in a well-ventilated area due to the fumes of these chemicals.

Also, consider using a mask to decrease the likelihood of inhaling fumes.

What Should I Not Use To Remove Roofing Tar From Metal?  

There are not necessarily any tools or materials that you should not use to remove roofing tar from metal.

The most significant concern would be how careful you are when using these different methods to remove roofing tar.

You will want to consider the type of metal you are using and what the metal item is.

Specific methods above, such as ammonia, bleach, and wire scrubber, can be harmful to metal.

These may scratch the metal or cause discoloration or even corrode the metal if used abrasively or if made to sit on the metal for long periods. 

So you need to consider what type of metal you are working with.

If it is a place that will not be seen or is just a tool with no cosmetic value, you will not need to worry about using these methods.

Any method that uses alkaline or acids should typically be avoided.

These can corrode metals.

Doing this can result in damaging and weakening the metal over time.

Using different methods without heavy alkaline or acidic bases would be best. 

Will Goo Gone Remove Tar?

Goo Gone will remove tar.

Simply spray the solvent on the tar and follow the directions on how long you should allow it to sit.

Then wipe the solvent and tar away with a clean cloth.