There are few things more frustrating than having to remove chewing gum from a surface – but having to remove gum from carpet fibres might be the worst. You may feel that the sticky situation will ruin the carpet – or that you might even have to cut the fibres and leave a patchy spot.
So, how to get gum out of carpet? There are five common ways:
- Ice cubes
- A hairdryer
- Rubbing alcohol
Afterwards, you may need to remove gum stains or gum residue as well.
If you get gum on the carpet, don’t panic. You can try a carpet cleaning solution before resorting to hiring a professional carpet cleaner. Remove chewing gum from carpet with these easy methods – accidents happen, after all!
How to Get Gum Out of Carpet Naturally
Whether a kid got a little naughty or someone accidentally dropped some in the living room, gum on your carpet is a pain. Use one of these methods of gum removal – or combine them for extra cleaning power.
Before anything else, know that trying warm water won’t work. Chewing gum is hydrophobic, so water won’t dissolve it. You’ll just end up with wet carpet!
1. Using ice cubes
Use a freezer pack or some ice cubes in a plastic bag to freeze gum on the carpet fibres. Then use a butter knife, dull knife, or other scraping tool to remove frozen gum from the carpet – as much gum as you can. Repeat until all the gum is removed.
Don’t forget to dry the carpet once you’re done! Use a clean cloth to blot the area, or simply let the carpet air dry.
NOTE: The ice cube method is particularly useful for removing old black gum.
2. Using a hairdryer
Get a hairdryer and put it on the medium heat setting. Aim it at the hardened gum, being careful not to damage the fibres. Then cover your hand with a plastic bag before picking out the softened gum.
If there’s remaining gum residue, carefully blot it with a citrus cleaner such as lemon juice. Then use a cloth to dry any excess moisture.
3. Using vinegar
One other trick for removing gum is the vinegar method. Heat up a quarter cup of white vinegar in the microwave – but don’t let it boil. Then dip a clean rag in the vinegar, and use it to dab and saturate the gum.
Then use a butter knife or dull knife as a gum remover and scrape the sticky substance off.
For any residue, take a soft-bristled brush or old toothbrush and gently rub it on the affected area. The gum will stick to the bristles (so use a brush you can toss out afterwards).
NOTE: Before applying white vinegar to your carpet, test it on an inconspicuous area! Vinegar could damage the natural fibres of your carpet, so if this cleaning method isn’t viable, just choose one of the others.
4. Rubbing alcohol or methyl salicylate
Just like vinegar, you can use rubbing alcohol or methyl salicylate to loosen and remove gum from the carpet. Apply a few drops of either liquid onto the gum and let it sit for 5–10 minutes. Then take some paper towels and gently pick the gum off the fibres.
Using WD-40 to Remove Gum From Carpet
A lot of us want to avoid using harsh chemicals to clean our homes, but sometimes we need that extra kick. You can remove gum with WD-40 if nothing else works.
Test a hidden area first to ensure the WD-40 won’t stain or damage the carpet fibres. Then saturate the chewing gum with WD-40, especially the areas where gum meets carpet. (The smart straw will come in handy here!) Let it sit for 5–10 minutes.
Using a rag or soft-bristled brush, gently scrape and scrub the gum in one direction. This will pull the gum away from the fibres. Keep this up until all the gum is removed.
How to Remove Chewing Gum Stains
If you’re left with a gum stain, mix up a 1:1 solution of mild detergent and vinegar. Use an old toothbrush to work a small amount of the cleaning fluid into the gum stain directly. Then let it sit for 10–15 minutes.
Blot the stain remover and excess moisture using a clean rag afterwards. You can use a vacuum (make sure it’s carpet safe!) to fluff up the fibres when the carpet is dry.
Alternatively, if you have some handy, apply a solution of mineral oil and dry-cleaning solvent. Mix 1 part oil to 8 parts solvent, and use a sponge to apply the solution to the affected area. Remember to blot, not rub!
Keep dipping and blotting until the stain has lifted. Then use a fresh sponge dipped in clean water to rinse the area before letting it dry.
Maintaining Your Carpet
Clean and vacuum your carpet regularly to prevent dirt from building up in the fibres. You can also take your carpet out to shake the debris off once a day.
Keep the rest of your living room tidy – or let a professional cleaning company handle that for you! This will lessen the dirt that gets onto your rug or carpet in the long run.
And of course, while it’s useful to know how to get gum out of carpet, it’s better that you don’t have to. Avoid chewing gum around carpets and rugs, and gently educate your kids not to stick their chewy leftovers on anything – except paper towels for disposal!