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How To Get Chewing Gum Off The Carpet – The Complete Guide

Chewing gum is one of the worst substances to get on your carpet. Every inch of it sticks to your carpet fibers and removing it often feels like an impossible task. 

Fortunately, there are several ways to remove chewing gum without much effort or expense. This article will cover all of them:

  • The freeze method
  • The hairdryer method
  • The detergent method
  • The ironing method
  • The oil method
  • The solvent method
  • The Goo Gone Wipes method

The Freeze Method

To remove chewing gum from a carpet using the freezing method you will need:

  • Ice
  • Plastic Bag
  • A Spoon or Dull Knife

Once you have gathered the items you need, you can attack the problem. It’s fairly simple – here’s how to do it:

  1. Fill a plastic bag with a few chunks of ice.
  2. Rub the bag with the ice over the gum until it is frozen hard.
  3. Use the spoon or knife to scratch off the frozen gum.
  4. Repeat steps one and two until all of the gum has been removed.
  5. Immediately throw away the gum before it softens and can stick to the carpet again.

If you have a can of compressed air that you use to clean your computer or other electronics, you can also use it to freeze chewing gum off the carpet. Here’s the method:

  1. Shake the can.
  2. Turn it upside down.
  3. Spray. Extremely cold air will come out of the can and freeze the gum. 
  4. Once the gum is frozen, use the spoon or dull knife to scrape away.

There are also professional cleaning products that freeze chewing gum and make it removable from carpets. Here are a few of the best options:

If you freeze the gum rock hard, you can also use the back of a metal kitchen utensil to break it into pieces and then vacuum it up.

No matter which freeze method you use, there might still be some gum left on the carpet. Here’s how you can get rid of the remnants:

  1. If the carpet is delicate, mix a solution of a quarter of a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar with four cups of water.
  2. If the carpet has natural fibers, combine a half-cup of vinegar with a half-cup of water.
  3. Dip a clean cloth into the solution and use it to dab at the residue. Make sure you don’t rub it in – only blot it. 
  4. When the area is saturated with the vinegar mix, leave it alone for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Wet a clean cloth with cool water and dab it on the stain.
  6. Rinse away the vinegar
  7. Let the carpet dry thoroughly. 
  8. Repeat until the stain disappears.

To dry the carpet quickly, direct a box fan on the area and turn it on. Keep in mind that a carpet that takes too long to dry may develop mildew.

The Hair Dryer Method 

It turns out that that hair dryers do a lot more than just dry hair; they can also remove chewing gum from your carpet. 

The items you’ll need to use this method include:

  • A hairdryer
  • A plastic bag or rubber gloves
  • A moist cloth
  • Three clean cloths

This method works because heating the gum makes it soft and scrapable. Here’s the process:

  1. Turn on the hairdryer and place the end near the gum. Be careful not to overheat the carpet in the vicinity of the gum, or you might burn it.
  2. Cover your hand with the plastic bag or rubber gloves once the gum is pliable.
  3. Pull and pick at it to remove it from the carpet.

There’s a good possibility that you won’t be able to pick all of the gum off the carpet. So, you may have to carry on with the task with one of the following items:

  • Peanut butter
  • WD-40
  • Oil soap used to clean wood
  • Warm vinegar, 
  • Muscle pain reliever like Ben Gay 
  • Regular soap and water.

You can apply one of the above substances onto the remaining gum. They all serve as a lubricator on the gum and assist in releasing it from the carpet fibers. 

If you need to use a lubricant, use the following steps to remove the rest of the gum:

  1. After you apply the substance, rub it into the gum with your fingers.
  2. Blot or pull gently on the carpet fibers with the moist cloth. 
  3. Pick at the remnants of the gum with your fingernails.
  4. Once the leftovers of the gum have been removed, soak a clean cloth in a mixture of soap and water.
  5. Blot the area until it’s clean.
  6. Rinse a clean cloth with water and use it to blot the area a few more times.
  7. Take a dry clean cloth and press it on the area to remove any water and then let the area dry.

If the hairdryer isn’t working, another tool that uses heat to remove gum from a carpet is a hot water carpet steam extractor

Professional carpet cleaners use this machine. It heats water to more than 200°F, and the resulting steam helps to dissolve the gum. The extractor also contains detergent that removes any residue left by the gum. You can find a hot water carpet steam extractor at reputable supply stores.

The Detergent Method

Every home has liquid laundry detergent. The brand doesn’t matter – all of them can help you get chewing gum off of the carpet.

Here are the items you’ll need for this method:

  • Liquid Detergent
  • Water
  • Paper Towels
  • Cleaning Brush

With this method, removing the gum takes only three steps:

  1. Pour a lot of liquid detergent onto the gum.
  2. Take the cleaning brush and gently scrape it over the gum. Keep scrapping until there is no more gum on the carpet.
  3. Rinse the area with water and then blot it up with paper towels.

The Ironing Method

We have seen that heat from a hairdryer is enough to remove gum from carpet. So, it certainly makes sense that a household iron would also work.

Here are the items you’ll need for this method:

  • An iron
  • Paper towels

This is probably the simplest method of all to remove gum from a carpet. All you need to do is place a paper towel over the gum and run a hot iron over it. The heat melts the gum so that it sticks to the paper towel.

Once the heated gum transfers to the paper towel, simply lift the towel off the surface of the carpet. It is suggested that you keep applying the iron until the gum is completely transferred to the towel.

The Oil Method

You can also use eucalyptus, olive, corn, or vegetable oils to remove gum from your carpet. 

Note: Some oils can stain your carpet. Don’t use any oil apart from the types recommended here.

Here are the items you’ll need to use this method:

  • A clean cloth
  • A butter knife
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Water 

Before using the oil on the gum, you should test it to determine if the substance discolors the carpet fibers. Apply a small amount of oil to an inconspicuous portion of the carpet to ensure that it does not cause damage.

Once you have discovered that you can trust that the oil is not a problem, use the following steps to remove the gum:

  1. Apply the oil to the gum using a clean cloth. 
  2. Repeat applying the oil to the gum until it is saturated.
  3. Scrape it off gently with a butter knife. 
  4. Use the butter knife to scrape over the gum in the same direction over and over again. Be sure to wipe residue of the gum off the knife before using it again to get at what remains. Don’t rub the knife back and forth over the carpet, or you may damage fibers.
  5. Once all remnants of the gum have been removed, mix a teaspoon of dishwashing soap with a quart of water. 
  6. Soak a cloth in the mixture.
  7. Use the cloth to clean the affected area.

The Solvent Method

A solvent is a liquid other than water used to dissolve another substance. While many solvents are ideal for removing chewing gum from a carpet, you should use one of four different solvents to perform the task:

  • Dry-cleaning solvent
  • Citrus-based degreaser
  • Mineral spirits
  • A muscle rub substance that includes methyl salicylate. 

Any of these solvents are capable of dissolving gum polymers, making the gum less sticky and thus easier to remove.

Just as in the case of oil, it is suggested that you test the solvent you intend to use on a hidden portion of the carpet to ensure that it won’t cause a stain.

Here are the items you’ll need to use this method:

  • A butter knife
  • A cleaning cloth
  • A sponge
  • A towel
  • Mild detergent 
  • Lukewarm water

And here’s the method:

  1. Pour a little solvent on the cloth and apply it directly to the gum.
  2. Allow the solvent to work for about 5 to 10 minutes. The actual amount of time needed depends on the hardness of the gum. As the solvent works, it will break up the gum’s polymers and thus loosen it enough from the carpet so that it can be removed.
  3. Use the butter knife to scrape off the gum. Scrape in the same direction to avoid damaging the carpet.
  4. Once the gum has been removed, soak the sponge in the detergent and water mixture and use it to clean up any remaining stains.
  5. Use the towel to blot the area dry.

Goo Gone Wipes

In this case, all you need is a Goo Gone Wipe. The wipe contains a substance that dissolves the polymers of the gum causing it to break up. 

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Here’s the method:

  1. Place the wipe between your fingers and pinch at the gum. 
  2. Keep pulling the gum along the strand of the carpet until all of the gum is removed.

Alternative Methods

If you don’t want to mix solutions or you don’t have the ingredients mentioned, don’t worry. There are commercial products available that can be used to remove gum from a carpet. 

You can find these products in the carpet cleaning section in the cleaning aisle of a supermarket, at a janitorial store, or online. 

If a stain remains after you have used one of these methods to remove the gum from your carpet, then the stain needs a higher caliber of treatment. From that point on, you’ll need to treat it like a grease stain.

In this case, the items you will need to remove the stain include:

  • A cleaning solution that includes a dry cleaning solvent 
  • If the carpet is wool, you’ll need one tablespoon of household ammonia, one quart of cold water, and a quarter teaspoon of liquid soap.
  • If the carpet is synthetic, mix one-part white vinegar with two parts water.
  • Clean towels or paper towels
  • Spray bottle of cleaning solution
  • Spray bottle of cold water
  • Books
  • Vacuum

As in the case of oil and solvent, test the solution that you choose on a hidden portion of the carpet to ensure that it will not damage it.

Note: Make sure you blot the stain. Do not scrub it. You want to lift the stain from the carpet, not rub it into the fibers. You should also start the blotting from outside the stain and work toward its center. This will prevent the stain from spreading.

And here’s the method:

  1. Take the bottle that contains the appropriate cleaning solution and spray it on the gum stain. Be sure that you use the proper solution depending on the type of carpet you have.
  2. Blot the stain with a clean, dry towel until no stain appears on the towel. Be sure to change the towel you use to blot often or use a clean part of the towel each time you blot. This will keep you from spreading the stain.
  3. Repeat steps one and two until the stain is no longer visible.
  4. Take the spray bottle that contains clean water and spray on the area.
  5. Blot the area with a clean cloth or towel. 
  6. Repeat as many times as necessary to ensure that the cleaning solution has been removed, as any remaining portions of the cleaning solution can attract dirt.
  7. Cover the area with a cloth or several paper towels and place books on the towels or cloth to weigh it down.
  8. Leave overnight to ensure that the paper towels or cloths absorb excess liquid.
  9. Take the books and cloth or paper towels off the area and let it dry thoroughly.
  10. Vacuum the area to restore the carpet fibers.

Other commercial products can also remove gum from carpet. 

One such product is Diversey Gum and Wax Remover, and another is 3M Gum Remover. Both are available at Amazon.com.

Removing Substances Similar To Chewing Gum

There are varieties of adhesive substances similar to chewing gum that can get stuck on the carpet and are difficult to remove. The most common culprits are wax and adhesive tape.

Removing these items from carpet rely on the same principles as those used to remove chewing gum: heat and cold.

Wax

Freezing Wax

This method of freezing wax for removal from a carpet requires the same items you would use to remove chewing gum:

  • A bag of ice
  • A butter knife
  • Carpet spray or cleaning solvent

Here’s how it works:

  1. Place the bag of ice on top of the wax. The ice will freeze it and make it hard and solid. 
  2. Leave the bag of ice on the wax for several minutes until the wax is frozen.
  3. Take the butter knife and use it to fragment the wax. The purpose of this step is to remove as much wax as possible before cleaning the affected area. It assures that there is very little wax left when it comes time to clean. If you can’t remove large segments of the wax, don’t worry. You can melt it away with an iron.
  4. Once you have removed as much wax as possible by chipping, spray the carpet cleaner or cleaning solvent on the spot. 
  5. Blot it with a clean cloth and water to remove what remains.
  6. Vacuum the affected area to restore the fibers and texture of the carpet.

Melting Wax

To melt the wax away, you will need the following items:

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  • A brown paper bag
  • An iron
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cloth
  • Towel
  • Carpet spray or cleaning solvent
  • Vacuum

And here’s the method:

  1. Place the brown paper bag over the wax.
  2. Place a towel under the part of the bag that is not on the wax. The towel protects the carpet from the heat of the iron and also helps to prevent spreading the wax as it breaks up.
  3. Place a warm iron on the bag and iron over it like you’re ironing a shirt. Make sure that the iron isn’t too hot and not steaming. You just want to apply the warm heat.
  4. Run the iron over the bag to melt the wax. As the wax melts, the paper bag will absorb it off of the carpet. 
  5. As the bag absorbs the wax, slide it out onto the towel to expose it to a clean portion of the bag. 
  6. Move to a clean part of the bag as it absorbs the wax. Don’t leave the iron on one part of the bag for too long, or you could burn it.
  7. When the wax stops appearing on the bag, lift it carefully to see what’s left. 
  8. If there is still wax on the carpet, iron it again. 
  9. Apply rubbing alcohol to the remaining stain.
  10. Place the cloth over the stain and re-iron over the cloth with the steam setting on. The cloth should absorb any dye left by the wax.
  11. Spray the carpet cleaner or cleaning solvent onto the affected area.
  12. Use a cloth to blot the area. 
  13. Lay the cloth on top of the area and iron over it.
  14. If the carpet looks a little ragged, vacuum the area to restore the fibers and texture.

Adhesive Tape

You will need some of the same items that you used to remove the gum to clean away adhesive tape:

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • WD-40
  • Goo Gone Wipes
  • Plastic knife
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • An iron
  • Clean cloth
  • Paper towels

Here’s the process:

  1. Before starting to remove the tape, apply a little bit of the distilled vinegar, the WD-40, and the rubbing alcohol on a hidden portion of the carpet to ensure that they won’t damage it. 
  2. If you discover that the vinegar is too strong, mix it with water. Use equal parts water and vinegar and test it on the carpet.
  3. Use your fingers to remove as much tape as you can. Work slowly and carefully to ensure that you don’t damage any fibers of the carpet and remove as many pieces as possible.
  4. Pour some distilled white vinegar onto the cloth and wipe the affected area for about a minute. Be sure to moisten the spot thoroughly. 
  5. Leave the vinegar on the carpet for about 15 minutes. The vinegar should cause the tape to peel off.
  6. Moisten a cloth and wipe the spot to remove any adhesive.
  7. Let the area dry.
  8. Scrape the carpet with the plastic knife to remove as much tape as you can.
  9. Put a little WD-40 onto the remaining tape. 
  10. Let the WD-40 set for less than 15 minutes. Don’t leave the WD-40 on the carpet for more than 15 minutes. If you do, it could loosen the glue that holds the carpet down.
  11. Use the plastic knife to scrape the area again to remove as much of the tape as possible.
  12. Use Goo-Gone to clean the spot.
  13. Put a little rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth or paper towel and dab it on the affected area. Be sure to press the cloth into the carpet and rub gently to remove any adhesive residue. 
  14. If the adhesive proves to be difficult to remove, then soak a cloth in the rubbing alcohol, place it over the spot, leave it alone for about 10 to 15 minutes, and then rub into the spot.

Extra Info About Chewing Gum

As long as people chew gum, we’ll have to deal with the ramifications of chewing gum on the carpet. 

Wouldn’t it be great if someone invented a chewing gum that doesn’t stick? Well, someone is. A professor of chemistry at Bristol University in the UK named Terry Cosgrove is working on it.

The key is to eliminate the adhesion. But it’s not an easy task. If it were, it would have been done by now.

There are many causes of adhesion. They include:

  • Mechanical interlocking, which is achieved with Velcro or glues that fill cracks and crevices of a surface and hardens and thus physically locking to a surface.
  • Intermolecular attractions, which include hydrogen bonds or Van der Walls forces. Geckos are an example of intermolecular attractions using the Van der Walls forces. Each foot of a gecko has about 500,000 hairs that stick to surfaces. The gecko simply breaks the adhesion by simply peeling its feet off the surface.
  • Chemical bonds, which is achieved by covalent or ionic bond formation. Mussels stick to rocks, even when wet, due to a strong covalent bond.
  • Interdiffusion at the interface, which is achieved when two materials are intermingled by molecules.
  • Electrostatic attraction, a theory in which electrostatic charges causes a bond with semiconductors.

Reducing the stretching capability of chewing gum is not practical. So Professor Cosgrove is working hydrophilic or water-loving polymers into the base of chewing gum. 

When the gum is chewed, the hydrophilic polymers absorb saliva resulting in the gum softening and the polymers moving to the gum’s surface. This assures that there is a thin film of water on the surface of a wad of gum after it’s chewed. The water stays between the gum and any surface, preventing it from sticking.

However, there is a problem. Professor Cosgrove is having a difficult time creating hydrophilic polymers for chewing gum because they don’t combine with the base of the gum.

Final Thoughts

While Professor Cosgrove figures out a way to perfect the hydrophilic polymers, we have to continue to clean sticky chewing gum out of our carpets. 

Fortunately, there are many simple and cost-effective ways to save your carpet after a nasty gum accident:

  • Freeze the gum off. 
  • Heat the gum off with a hairdryer.
  • Clean the gum off with detergent. 
  • Heat the gum off with an iron. 
  • Clean the gum off with a household oil. 
  • Clean the gum off with a homemade solvent. 
  • Use Goo Gone Wipes. 
  • Use a commercial product specifically made for cleaning gum out of carpets. 

All of the methods discussed in this article will completely remove chewing gum while avoiding damage to your carpet. 

However, if you’re at all concerned about damaging your carpet during the cleaning process, I recommend hiring a professional cleaner to do the job for you. While it might cost a bit more, it will save you time and provide you with peace of mind that the job is getting done right. 

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