Okay – technically, this might not be classified as a stain. But if you have kids in the house, or you are a gum-chewing aficionado yourself, it’s likely that bubble or chewing gum has met with your carpet. Whether it’s fresh or dried into your carpet, it’s not a pleasant sight. And if the gum is accidentally stepped on, matters get worse.
Interestingly, removing gum does not have as much to do with chemical solutions as other stains, but has more to do with temperature. There are methods for using both heat and cold to remove gum. Let’s go over each of these, and when one might be a better choice than the other.
This is the most common method for gum removal, and typically the most reliable. When gum gets cold, especially to the point of freezing, the bonding qualities become inactive. The gum becomes breakable, falling apart into tiny fragments and making for easy pickup.
Grab some pieces of ice and place them into a plastic zip-top bag. Place the bag on the gum and wait about five to ten minutes for the ice to chill the gum. Check the gum’s consistency with a toothpick or a gloved hand. If it’s still soft, it will keep its hold on the fibers of your carpet, so reapply the ice bag and give it a bit more time until the gum is brittle.
Once it’s hard enough so that it’s breaking into pieces, continue breaking it up and removing as many pieces as you can. However, much smaller pieces will still be in the carpet. Use a comb or brush to work out as many fragments as you can. Apply the ice bag one more time to stiffen up any tiny fragments left behind. Finally, vacuum thoroughly to get the remainder up and out.
Perhaps you don’t have any way to freeze the gum, or it’s just too hot and the ice isn’t transferring the cold fast enough. You can also use heat to break down the gum. However, be careful – you don’t want to singe your carpet fibers, melt the backing or start an outright fire. When using heat, the goal is to warm up the gum until you can make it stick to a different material than your carpet fibers.
Heat up the gum using a heat gun or hair dryer – again, being careful with how much heat you apply. The best transfer material to use is a plastic bag, as the sticky gum will adhere to the plastic better than carpet pile. Make sure you wear a pair of nitrile gloves with this method. That way, you can use your hands to work more of the gum out of the carpet and onto the plastic bag.
Please note that you will not be able to get all the gum out by using heat. Gum residue will stubbornly cling to your fibers. Some individuals have reported using oily soap, WD-40, or even peanut butter to lubricate the remaining gum and then scrape it away from the carpet. At Preferred Carpet Care, we do not recommend any of these final methods as they could damage your carpet further.
If you still have remaining gum in your carpet, it’s time to call in Preferred Carpet Care of Redding by phone or our convenient online scheduling tool. We have special products and other equipment to give your carpet a successful spot cleaning, removing any and all indications that gum was ever there. Gum be gone!
- Posted by Rod Barth
- On August 1, 2019