If you have a sweet tooth, or if you’re around kids often, then you probably understand the pain of needing to learn how to remove gum from a carpet. It happens to the best of us: you miss a trash can, it falls out of your mouth, or maybe you discover, to your horror, that your kid apparently can’t be trusted with sticky things.
When you come across an old gum stain, it makes the situation, fittingly enough, even stickier. Trying to figure out how best to get old or dried chewing gum out of a carpet can be complicated and ultimately involves a lot of trial and error. Here is a list of techniques explaining how to remove gum from your carpet surfaces.
Here is a brief overview of how to remove gum from carpet:
1. The Vinegar Technique
White vinegar is helpful in a lot of situations. As a particularly acidic substance, it can break the bonds of all kinds of sticky things, which is how it’s able to remove gum from carpet. It can be a bit tricky, though, because you need to use the right amount: enough to clean the stain, but not enough to damage the carpet.
1. You must measure out the perfect mixture of vinegar and water. Try testing it on a different area of your carpet. Use a section that’s very out-of-the-way and not likely to bear noticeable stains. You may find that you’ve initially used too much vinegar. If this is the case, try diluting the vinegar in water.
2. Apply the vinegar solution to the gum stain. Be sure to rub it gently to minimize damage to the carpet.
3. Use something to scrape the gum off. You can use a butter knife or a professional scraper if you have one on you. Be sure it’s something that can interact with old gum safely. Ideally, it should be a material that was built for this, and knows how to remove gum from carpet surfaces.
4. Scrub the remaining area. Once again, use a scrubber that also knows how to remove gum from carpet surfaces, as the gum has a good chance of literally gumming up whatever tool you use. If the scrubber is disposable or easily cleanable, then it’s a safer bet.
When should I use vinegar?
- If you have a carpet made out of a strong material
- If the gum is still relatively loose
- If your carpet is not lightly colored
When should I not use vinegar?
- If your carpet is delicate
- If your carpet is prone to stains
- If the gum is several years old
2. The Hair Dryer Technique
One of the problems with the various techniques relating to how to remove gum out of a carpet is that old gum is no longer malleable due to its age. One solution to this problem is to soften the gum with a hair dryer. You must apply heat to any carpet carefully, however. Some carpet materials might melt as quickly as the gum you’re trying to remove!
1. Aim your hair dryer at the gum stain. You must do this very carefully, as high heat over a carpet can become problematic if not done with care. If you see your carpet fibers begin to deform or harden, stop immediately.
2. Once the gum begins to melt, turn off the hair dryer and find something you can use to scrape it. Removing gum from your carpet using this technique is relatively easy compared to the others.
All you need is something soft like a paper towel or plastic bag, as the gum is now malleable enough to stick to these surfaces. Carefully lift the melted gum with these materials. Try not to let it touch other areas of the carpet, as this may cause it to stick again.
3. Throw out the gum and scrub the area. Be careful, as whatever you use to scrub up the remaining residue will probably be covered in gum by the end of the process. Only use materials that know how to remove gum from carpets easily, or can either be cleaned easily or disposed of easily.
When should I use a hair dryer?
- If your carpet is not prone to melting
- If the gum area is small
When should I not use a hair dryer?
- If your carpet is made out of wool
- If your carpet is made out of synthetic fibers
- If the gum is covering a large surface area of carpet fibers
3. The Ice Technique
Freezing is a well-tested method for removing gum from carpet surfaces (or any porous surface). Unfortunately, the technique may be less effective with old gum, as said gum is already hard and brittle. Regardless, it may be worth trying if the above options have failed in your quest to learn how to remove the gum from your carpet.
1. Put ice in a plastic bag. Doing this will keep the water from leaking everywhere as the ice melts. You don’t want to get the gum wet all over again.
2. Once the gum is frozen, use a scraper (such as an old butter knife or a professional scraper) to remove the gum from your carpet. Make sure the scraper is gum-safe, and the manufacturers understand how to remove gum from a carpet without damaging their product. Be careful not to damage the carpet in the process, either.
3. Clean the remaining area. Once again, use something gum-safe to scrub the remaining gum residue from the carpet.
When should I use ice?
- If the gum is still somewhat soft
- If the gum is less tangled in fibers
When should I not use ice?
- If the gum is as flat as the carpet
- If the gum has hardened
4. The Penetrating Oil Technique
Most of the above techniques work best with gum that hasn’t had much time to set into your carpet. But for older stains, something a little more specialized may be necessary. In the absence of a carpet cleaning solution, penetrating oil may work. Oil interacts negatively with the bonds of gum. This is how it removes gum from carpet.
Penetrating oil such as WD-40 can potentially remove gum stains in a pinch. These oils are also highly volatile, causing them to evaporate quickly. This means they may leave less of a residue than some other materials. Of course, you should still always be careful when applying a new substance to your carpet.
1. Test the oil on a small section of your carpet. Your penetrating oil mixture might not react well with your carpet, so you need to be careful before applying it in copious amounts onto your gum.
2. Spray the oil onto the gum. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before trying to scrape it off so that it has time to break down the gum.
3. Remove the gum from your carpet with a scraper. Use a scraper that can handle gum without it being a problem, either something that can be cleaned easily or disposed of easily.
4. Scrub the remaining area. You can continue to apply the oil to the carpet to make the scrubbing process easier. Make sure that, much like the scraper, whatever you’re using to scrub isn’t going to become something else you need to worry about cleaning.
When should I use penetrating oil?
- If your carpet is not lightly colored
- If your carpet is hardy
When should I not use penetrating oil?
- If your carpet is delicate
- If the solution is too strong for the carpet
5. The Cleaning Solution Technique
A carpet cleaning solution may seem to be the obvious choice. Cleaning solutions are designed specifically for removing things from your carpet, after all. Unfortunately, cleaning solutions are generally not made for solid objects like gum. The people making them didn’t necessarily think about how to remove gum from the carpet.
The main difficulty with carpet cleaning solutions is that it can be hard to determine what’s correct for your carpet or your specific gum situation. Some may stain or damage your carpet, while others are designed for things like coffee or wine stains and may not be effective against gum. Nevertheless, if you have some on hand, you can test it to see if it works for you.
1. Test the solution on a small area of the carpet. Make sure it’s an area that’s fairly inconspicuous. That way, if the solution ends up staining the carpet, the stain won’t be particularly noticeable.
2. After ensuring your carpet is safe, apply the solution to the gum. Let the solution sit for about 10 minutes so that it has the opportunity to soak into the gum and break its bonds.
3. Use a scraper that knows how to remove gum from carpet effectively. The scraper should be able to get gummy without it being a problem, as the gum is likely to stick to whatever you use. A professional scraper would work, or an old butter knife that cleans easily.
4. Scrub the remaining area. The carpet cleaning solution should make this easier. Regardless, it’s good to be careful with sticky gum residue sticking to your scraper. An old toothbrush, or something else you’re going to throw out, would be ideal to use in this step.
When should I use a cleaning solution?
- If your carpet is darkly colored
- If your carpet can handle strong solutions
When should I not use a cleaning solution?
- If your carpet is prone to damage
- If your carpet is prone to stains
6. Hire a Professional
If the above techniques don’t work, the best course is to hire a professional carpet cleaner. Old gum stains tend to be relatively hard to get out of a carpet. Many of the effective methods for removing gum from carpet require the gum to be relatively recent.
The gum stain will be a harder problem to solve if it’s been there for a few years or if too many people have stepped on it. A professional is more likely to understand the intricacies of the problem and how to remove the gum from your carpet and minimize damage.
1. Find carpet cleaning services in your area.
2. Choose the one that would work best for your needs.
When should I hire a professional carpet cleaner?
- If the service is IICRC certified
- If the service pre-screens its employees
- If the service is fully insured
- If the service offers different options for greener cleaning
When should I not hire a professional carpet cleaner?
- If they aren’t certified
- If they have no formal training
- If they aren’t insured
How do you get dried gum out of carpet?
Making gum malleable makes it easier to remove from carpet surfaces. Using a cleaning solution, penetrating oil like WD-40, or going over the gum with a hair dryer can all cause the gum to be easier to move. Be careful with all of these solutions as you apply them. All three of them can potentially damage your carpet.
How do you remove gum from a car carpet?
Car carpets are built slightly differently from house carpets through compression molding, making them potentially trickier to clean. Regardless, the above techniques should still work for car carpets.
As you go through your options, you should test them on a small part of your carpet. Doing this will ensure that they don’t cause any stains or problems. You can remove gum from car carpets using vinegar, ice, a wireless hair dryer, or a carpet cleaning solution or penetrating oil solution.
How do you remove black gum from a carpet?
Gum that is so old that it’s become blackened is usually not going to come out with typical gum removal methods. Hiring a professional carpet cleaner is your best bet for removing old gum from your carpet.
Does ice remove old gum from carpet?
Ice is a very commonly cited technique for removing gum from carpet, but it may not be as effective with old gum. The process of how it removes gum from carpet involves making the gum brittle and hard, which old gum already is.
Depending on the age of the gum, it could potentially work. However, it’s most likely that using more vigorous methods like buying the right cleaning solution or penetrating oil will be effective.
Does peanut butter remove gum from carpet?
It may remove the gum, but there’s a strong possibility you will have some difficulty removing the peanut butter from your carpet. Peanut butter seeps into things, which is how it removes gum from carpet and other porous materials, but obviously this is not always good for your carpet.
Using peanut butter to remove gum from your carpet is only a good idea if paired with a strong stain remover on a darkly-colored carpet.
If you want to know how to remove gum from your carpet, you need to be able to experiment a little. Old gum doesn’t come out easily, and you can risk damaging your carpet in the process. Overall, your best bet is to hire a professional carpet cleaner, as they’re more likely to know how to remove gum from carpet surfaces.
Which technique worked for you? Leave a comment below! And if you need help getting gum out of your carpet contact Angel Carpet Cleaning.