The major amount of multiple energy in seismic data is related to the large reflectivity of the surface. A method is proposed for the elimination of all surface-related multiples by means of a process that removes the influence of the surface reflectivity from the data. An important property of the proposed multiple elimination process is that no knowledge of the subsurface is required. On the other hand, the source signature and the surface reflectivity do need to be provided. As a consequence, the proposed process has been implemented adaptively, meaning that multiple elimination is designed as an inversion process where the source and surface reflectivity properties are estimated and where the multiple-free data equals the inversion residue. Results on simulated data and field data show that the proposed multiple elimination process should be considered as one of the key inversion steps in stepwise seismic inversion.