How to Remove Gum
from your Carpet
Even if you don't chew gum yourself, there may come a day when one of your friends, or one of your kids, or even your shoes may bring this unwanted guest into your home and onto your carpet.
Gum is a $5 billion dollar industry. With such high usage, the likelihood of gum finding its way into your home is, unfortunately, somewhat high. Add the dilemma of the gum becoming embedded into your carpet's fibers, and it can feel like a cleaning nightmare.
My years of dealing with carpets have given me some insight into the best ways to tackle even the most difficult situations. Below, I'll discuss what I would recommend for removing gum if it finds its way stuck into your carpet fibers.
Important: It is important to resist the urge to manually remove the gum by picking at it, or prying it from the carpet fibers with your fingers. When you do this, you may not fully remove the gum, but you may end up stretching the gum and leaving behind little chunks of sticky residue.
If you're at home or even at work, this is one of the "coolest" tricks for removing gum:
Using the Ice Cube Trick to Remove Gum
The ice cube method works by using gum's temperature sensitivity to our advantage. Gum is very receptive to temperature changes and will solidify quickly if exposed to ice.
Note: This method works best on fresh gum. Gum that has been ground into the carpet will not see the same results.
- Gather ice in a plastic bag — a ziplock bag or a plastic grocery bag, for example.
- Place the bag of ice firmly on the gum, then wait about 5-7 minutes until the gum has solidified
- Grab a spatula or dull utensil like a butterknife (avoid sharp tools as it may permanently damage the carpet fibers).
- Remove the gum slowly — starting at the edges and lifting towards the center. The cold gum should crack and break into smaller pieces. Take your time and avoid any yanking or pulling.
- Most of the gum should be removed by this point. You can vacuum any small remaining pieces if needed.
- Rinse the area with warm water and blot dry (do not rub or scrub! - just blot!). Avoid using decorative paper towels or colorful rags when blotting.
This process may take a little time, and it is important to be patient while trying to remove the gum. If any residual gum remains, you can repeat the process again if necessary.
Eventually, all the gum should come out!
What if the gum is old and has been ground into the carpet?
Unfortunately, you may face a situation in which the gum has been embedded into the carpet for a length of time. These situations will make the gum much trickier to remove, and they will require alternative tools and methods. Fortunately for you, there are still viable solutions we can go over in order to restore your carpet to its clean, gum-free, state.
What about the WD-40 method?
A commonly recommended method for removing gum stuck in your carpet is to use WD-40. This method can prove to be highly effective — even on the toughest of gum situations.
Simply spray the WD-40 onto the underside of the gum — as close to the entangled carpet fibers as possible — and allow it to set for a few minutes. After the WD-40 has set, use a white rag or paper towel (no colors or colorful designs - pure white) to begin swiping the gum in one direction. Keep swiping the gum until it has fully lifted from the carpet. Repeat this process as necessary.
If you do choose to use the WD-40 method as a means to remove gum from your carpet, there will be additional clean-up time afterwards to remove the WD-40.
Blot as much of the WD-40 as possible from the area using white paper towels. Apply a little clear dish soap to a paper towel and repeat blotting (you might consider protective gloves). Do not pour or spray directly on the carpet, as damage to the backing or adhesive underneath could result; use the towels to transport the solvent to the carpet. Repeat as often as necessary.
Follow-up by adding clean, warm water to the spot, and blotting up all the moisture. Do this several times to remove the soap.
If the WD-40 and dish soap are not entirely removed from the carpet strands, it can attract and hold in dirt on that spot, causing discoloration and rapid soiling.
The Vinegar Method
Instead, you might try using white vinegar to produce the same results without the additional strain on your carpet.
Using vinegar around the house has been a cleaning staple for generations. Its disinfecting qualities and natural cleaning power also makes it a helpful solution for removing gum from your carpets without using harsh chemicals. In fact, not only can vinegar remove the sticky residue from your carpet, it can also kill any foul-smelling odors trapped in the fibers as well.
First you'll start the process by heating up a quarter cup of white vinegar in the microwave or on the stove. Once heated, use a white cloth to gently blot the affected area, effectively saturating the gum and carpet fibers surrounding it. Once adequately covered in vinegar, you can follow steps 3 and 4 of the ice method to slowly remove the gum from your carpet. Again, it is important to work slowly and be patient during the removal process.
After a few moments the gum should be removed!
If you have a challenging gum stain, and none of these methods work well enough for you, please call Flawless Cleaning Systems if you are in the Monterey Bay area or Salinas and surrounding communities. I'll be happy to help you assess your situation and make specific recommendations to ensure your carpet gets the best treatment available.
Our professional tools, products, and equipment will get that gum right out! And the area will be perfectly clean with no smelly, soil-attracting residue.
We're always here, and happy to help!
To arrange top-rated professional carpet cleaning, please give us a call at Flawless today for a free estimate.
I serve fellow Monterey Bay area residents and businesses in Salinas, Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, and surrounding communities.
If you have any questions about this article, or anything related to cleaning carpet, upholstery, tile and grout, windows, and maintaining a healthy home, please feel free to give me a call, and I'll be happy to help.
To your clean and healthy home!