Removing Gum From Your Carpet
Whether it was tracked in on your shoe or fell to the floor during a bubble blowing contest, gum can be one of the most difficult stains to get out of your carpet. Even if you’ve gotten to it quickly, it seems the more you touch it, the sticker and more embedded it becomes. But, with a bit of science on your side, any gum stain can be eliminated with minimal fuss. Science you ask? That’s right: by manipulating the gum’s temperature either higher or lower, you can change its consistency, making it easy to remove. Here’s how:
Start by taking a few ice cubes from your freezer and placing them in a ziplock back, making sure to seal tightly to avoid any leakage. Then, place the ice directly onto the gum stain for approximately 30 minutes. Once the gum is frozen stiff, you can gently begin lifting it from the carpet. The gum may also start to crumble, allowing you to simply pick any larger pieces. Resist the urge to quickly tear the gum up to avoid pulling up a patch of fibers along with it.
While this should take care of the majority of the gum, some stubborn remnants may remain. Using a clean rag, apply a small amount of muscle rub creme, such as Ben Gay, that contains methyl salicylate. The oils in the rub will help loosen the remaining gum from the carpet, which can be then removed with a comb or brush. To get rid of the remaining muscle cream, blot the area with a small amount of soapy water and finish by giving the affected area a quick vacuuming.
Another method to get gum out of your carpet or rug is to heat it up. A word of caution though: heat can severely damage sensitive fibers, particularly wool. If you have any doubts about your carpet’s ability to withstand significant heat, we suggest using the icing method, above.
First, grab some plastic wrap or a plastic grocery bag. Then, get a hair dryer from your bathroom, set it on high heat, and aim it directly at the gum stain. Once the gum is warmed (not baked, just warmed), slowly lift the gum from the carpet using the plastic wrap.
This method is effective because, once the gum is warm, it’s more willing to let go of the carpet and stick to another surface, particularly a plastic one. This process should remove the majority of the gum, but may not get it all. Remove those last resilient bits using the same process as the icing method (muscle rub, blotting, and vacuuming).
With these methods you can quickly and effectively remove gum from your rug or carpet, using items you already have at home. If you’re not satisfied, don’t hesitate to call in a professional cleaning service.