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Cleaning Gum From Your Carpet

Oh no! Someone dropped a wad of sticky icky gum in your brand new carpet. Now it’s ruined for sure. Or is it? The following tips will help you to remove the offending gum, protect the surrounding fibers, and clean up any stains that result from the process.

1. Move quick. You don’t have time to wait. You don’t want to let the gum settle any farther into the carpet than necessary, and you especially don’t want to let anyone trample by and smash it down farther into the floor with plodding careless feet.

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2. Be careful! At the same time, you don’t want to act hastily and end up making the problem even bigger. The worst thing you can do is just start pulling and rubbing at the gum. This can lead to smashing it farther in, ripping out fibers, or spreading the stain to the surrounding area.

The Hot and Cold Method

Ice Cubes: Place several ice cubes in a ziplock bag and seal it. Then place the bag directly over the gum, and leave it there for several minutes. Your goal is to try and freeze the sticky substance into a solid, flaky material that can then be gently flecked and scraped clean from the carpet using a butter knife.

Hair Dryer: Once you’ve removed the bulk of the gum by freezing it, you can then melt it once more, so that it becomes gooey and loose again. Be careful not to direct too much heat on a single spot, as you risk singeing the material. Once the gum appears loose and slippery, you should be able to use your fingers to roll and strip it off of the remaining fibers. You may want to use a plastic bag or a pair of latex gloves to protect your hands from getting sticky.

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These two methods, hot and cold, can be used in tandem several times in order to slowly but surely remove all of the gum from the carpet. You can then use vinegar, or a mild detergent solution, applied with a clean cloth to remove any stains that may linger in the area.

Extreme Gum Removal Methods

The following methods should only be used with caution, and should only be undertaken once heat and cold have failed to resolve the issue. Many of these techniques can end up staining or damaging the carpet further, especially if extreme care is not taken. You should also test all suggested cleaning materials on a hidden section of your carpet so that you can be sure of the effect they will have on the material.

Peanut Butter: This may seem like an unlikely choice for making a carpet blemish better, but peanut butter is actually uniquely situated to help out with this problem. That is because the natural oils in the peanut butter are able to form a chemical bond with the gum base, which is stronger than the bond the gum has to the carpet fibers. The peanut butter will also dry the gum out, and those same oils will help make the new combo slick an easier to slide away.

In order for this method to work you will need to massage a decent amount of peanut butter into the gum being as careful as you can to avoid staining surrounding patches. As you work you should notice the peanut butter slicked gum starting to slip away in your hands. Once complete you can use the vinegar or detergent solution mentioned above to deal with resulting stains.

WD-40: Another potentially messy, and seemingly unlikely choice for removing gum from a carpet. However, this lubricating oil is so slick and slippery that it can actually slide down between the gum and the fibers of your carpet, and loosen the bond between them, allowing you to slide pieces of gum free from the hold of plush.

With WD-40 you will want to test a small, hidden area of the carpet to see what effect this substance will have on its appearance. Make sure that you will be able to satisfactorily clean the resulting stain away when the process of gum removal is complete.

Wood Oil Soap: This is most commonly used to clean hardwood floors, but a small amount applied to a gummy carpet can have a similar effect to WD-40. It will slip down between the two bonded materials, and loosen the grip between them. Once again, be very careful and test this on a spare, and hidden area of the carpet before you proceed.

Cleaning Once The Gum Is Gone

If you used any methods to remove the gum which may have stained the carpet in the process, you can often remove these stains with a simple application of vinegar, or a mild detergent solution. This can be dabbed on with a clean cloth, several times, until the stains fade. Then dab the carpet with a dry cloth until all moisture is gone.