Prevent a tacky situation: Follow these easy tips to get rid of gum from your residential or commercial carpet/carpet tiles.
Gum is hard enough to get off of a concrete surface or the bottom of your shoe, but removing gum from a fine woolen rug or carpet fibers can be much more discouraging. While it may be tempting to pull up the offending chewing gum instantly, this can easily damage delicate carpet fibers. Here are three ways to remove gum from carpet.
A simple method to remove gum from carpet involves using a hairdryer. Apply heat from the hair dryer to soften the gum. The softened gum should stick to a cleaning rag or plastic bag and release the carpet fibers as you lift it away from the floor. Advance slowly to avoid harming the carpet fibers, and be prepared to repeat the blotting and lifting process until the gum is removed. Reapply heat as the gum starts to harden.
The hot method of gum removal should be used with caution. If the carpet is wool or a synthetic material, heat that is too high can damage the fibers. Watch for any melting while using the hair dryer. If in doubt, test on a small section of carpet in a hidden area.
Another gum removal technique involves using ice cubes to freeze the gum off. Applying ice will not remove the gum, but after roughly 15~20 minutes, it will cause the gum to harden, which makes it easier to lift off of the carpet. After the ice has hardened the gum, gently pick at the edges. Go slowly to avoid pulling up carpet fibers along with the gum. It should be possible to remove most of the gum from the carpet, but there may be small traces left behind. This rest can be removed by gently scrubbing the carpet with carpet cleaning detergent, spray degreaser, spot cleaner or a muscle rub that features “methyl salicylate” as the active ingredient.
Test these carpet cleaners in a hidden area, like the closet or underneath the sofa or from a remnant piece from the original installation, as they may cause discoloration of their own. Vacuum up any balls of gum residue leftover from scrubbing.
Carpet Cleaning Detergents / Carpet Spot Removers
If the gum spot is older, it may be needed to apply a dry cleaning or gel-based solvents, such as a paint, oil and grease remover. As the solvent is working on the gum, scrape gently with a plastic spoon or spatula. Never use a knife to try to lift a gum stain because the sharpened edge can damage the carpet pile. Following any of the above cleaning approaches, be sure to rinse out any remaining solvents or chemical scrubs with a solution of baking soda dissolved in water. This will ensure that all acidic products will be neutralized, and it will remove any colors and odours left by the scrubs.
Blot with a clean cloth to dry, then apply a thick, folded cloth weighed down by a stone or heavy item to wick up the last of the water.
Many carpets are very delicate and may not stand up to the solvents and scrubbing used in the methods described. If there is any reason to hesitate about any procedure, contact a professional carpet cleaner. Professional carpet cleaners have the tools and equipment needed to safely and easily remove chewing gum stains.