If you have kids, you have probably seen gum end up in all sorts of places, including your carpet. Getting gum out of carpet can be a difficult task that becomes increasingly more difficult the longer you wait and the harder the gum gets. But, below are some methods that show you how to get gum out of your carpet. When the gum stays in the carpet for a long time before removal, it can get stepped on and worked deep into the carpet. So as soon as you find gum in your carpet, get it out sooner rather than later! But before you just start pulling away at the gum, be careful. This can damage the fibers in your carpet and can end up causing more of a problem than you started with. So follow the steps below and you can likely get your carpet back to looking like new. There are many methods to remove gum. Different methods may work better in different situations, so below is an explanation of several different methods you can try to remove the gum from your carpet. If one method isn’t working very well, move on to the next method until you find one that works best for you.
Freeze the gum out
One of the easiest ways to get gum out is to first freeze the gum. Grab a bag and fill it with ice. Then place the Ice on the gum and leave it for about 30 minutes. Once the gum is frozen and hard, pry the gum up with your fingertips or a dull knife. Cold gum becomes less sticky and brittle and will allow you to break it up from the carpet more easily. Do this very carefully. You don’t want to begin lifting fibers out of the carpet. If fibers begin to come up with the gum, hold the fibers with your fingers below the gum while pulling at the gum to avoid pulling the fibers up from the backing of the carpet. It works best to break the brittle gum into chunks and work with a piece at a time.
Once you get the majority of the gum up this way, there will likely be some sticky gum residue left behind. A small amount of liquid soap can be gently blotted into the carpet to break down and remove this residue. However, be careful not to scrub the carpet to avoid fraying carpet fibers. Also avoid using too much soap. Just use a small amount and then flush the area with water when you are finished and blot with clean, white towels. This will prevent leaving a soapy residue that can later attract dirt to the area.
Heat the Gum out of Your Carpet
First put a paper sack or a clean cloth over the gum. Next, use a hair dryer to heat the area and soften the gum. As the gum loosens up, it will begin to stick to the bag or cloth that you placed over it. Be very careful not to overheat and melt carpet fibers. With extreme heat, you can actually cause burn/melt marks in your carpet. If you watch closely as you work, it shouldn’t be a problem. This is more likely to be an issue if you use an iron instead of a hair dryer to heat the gum. When the gum is soft, lift the cloth or sack, which should lift some of the gum. Continue to blot the warm gum with the sack, letting it attach and lift more and more of the gum out. Gently pick at the rest of the gum, removing as much as possible from the carpet without pulling too hard on the carpet fibers. Again, once you have removed as much as possible, rinse with a small amount of soap to get rid of the remaining residue.
A lot of times, a combination of heating and freezing will work best. Start with freezing and break away as much as possible. After that, heat the gum and blot it up with your cloth or paper bag. You can repeat these steps as necessary as long as you are continuing to get the gum out without breaking down the fibers of the carpet underneath.
Use Solvents to Remove the Gum
If you don’t want to go with the freezing or heating method to removing gum, you can try using solvents to break down the gum instead. Most department stores will carry some form of goo/gum remover solvent. Read the instructions to ensure that the solvent is safe for carpet. Apply a small amount of solvent to the carpet and work it in gently with a brush. As you slowly work the solvent into the gum, blot or vacuum the gum up as it softens and dissolves. Keep repeating, but be careful to not damage or break down the fibers of the carpet under the gum. Solvents will break down the gum, but with enough time and agitation, they will break down your carpet as well. Work quickly but gently, and flush the area clean with water and clean cloths when you are finished.
Having a good wet/dry vacuum or a home carpet cleaner will help a lot to be able to extract gum as it dissolves while you work and also to remove the residue from any cleaners when you are done.
Eliminate Remaining Gum Residue
After following the steps above, you may have some remaining gum residue left behind. To remove the rest of the residue, use either wd-40 or muscle pain reliever to lubricate the gum and help release the remaining residue from the carpet. Work the gum with your fingers and blot or gently pull with your fingers, being careful not to pull up the carpet fibers. Once finished, apply a small amount of soap and warm water to the area and continue blotting and flushing until the area is clean. If none of the options above worked, you can also try using vinegar or eucalyptus oil to loosen the gum. Always test with a small area before applying to your spot though. Some of these products may stain some carpet. It’s better to discover this by testing in an inconspicuous area then to discover it when you apply the product to a large visible area in your carpet.
Keep in mind that the best option to remove gum is to schedule an appointment with a professional carpet cleaning company. EcoCarpet specializes in removing all types of spots and stains and can safely remove gum from your carpet without damaging the fibers or backing of your carpet. While the methods above can work, there is always a risk that you may end up making the problem worse. If you are concerned, consult a professional before trying to tackle the problem on your own.