Whether your child has dropped his gum on your carpet or you’ve accidentally tracked it in on your shoe, gum in your carpet is simply a sticky mess.
Especially if you have longer or shag-style carpet, this can be a really frustrating, gooey disaster.
Some people become so frustrated they’re tempted to break out the scissors and just cut the gum out. But this can damage your carpet, as well as leave a blemish or exposed section of your carpet, making it a less than ideal solution.
Fortunately, a glob of gum doesn’t have to spell the end for your carpet. There are a number of creative ways to tackle the situation when you find gum stuck to your carpet.
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Related: How to get more stains out of carpet
Act quickly to remove the gum before it sets into your carpet
As with any stains, when it comes to getting gum out of your carpet, it’s important to act swiftly to give yourself the best chance of overcoming the sticky mess with as little hassle as possible.
If you notice the gum in your carpet right away while it is still soft and wet, you can usually succeed in removing some of it before it becomes embedded into your carpet.
How embedded it becomes can often depend not only on how long it has to set into your carpet, but also on whether or not any pressure was applied to the gum once it was dropped onto the carpet.
A piece of gum that is stepped on repeatedly by family members passing by may be more difficult to remove than gum that falls onto the carpet but is never pressed in.
Using your fingers or a wet wipe, attempt to grab and scoop up the gum from the carpet, removing as much of it as possible as you pull it away from your carpet.
This method will usually succeed in getting a decent amount of the gum out before it has a chance to become embedded too deeply into the carpet.
But, unfortunately, it’s likely that some of the gum is likely to remain stubbornly in your carpet. And for that, you’re going to have to apply some effort – and get a little creative!
The following products or methods may prove useful for removing gum in your carpet, whether it’s a new stain or has been there for a few days.
When it comes to removing a sticky substance like chewing gum, temperature is often a great way to manipulate the product to make it more malleable and conducive to removal.
Either temperature extreme – hot or cold – will give you options, but one of the more common places to start when it comes to gum on carpet is by freezing it.
Fill a small sandwich bag with some ice and place it on the gum. Allow it to set for several minutes or longer, giving it sufficient time to harden and freeze.
Once the gum is sufficiently hardened, you can take a pointed, flat, or sharp product or tool, such as a dull butter knife, hair comb, or nail pick, to scrape the hardened gum out of the carpet.
Be sure not to select an object the is too sharp, like a razor, as that could damage your carpet.
You will also want to be careful not to pull on the carpet as you perform this scraping motion, so as to not damage the carpet.
Continue this process until the remainder of the gum has been scraped away.
After you have scraped the gum away, you may find that a small, greasy stain remains. To address this stain, you can use any number of DIY home remedies, such as the use of white vinegar or dish detergent, to target and lift the tough stain. You may also elect to use a commercial carpet cleaner that is designed to lift greasy stains.
If you would like to remove gum from carpet without ice, the methods below may provide you with a good place to start.
Using a solution that is part vinegar and part warm water may prove useful in helping to loosen the gum from its death grip on your carpet. Mix the solution in a spray bottle and then apply lightly to the affected area as needed, working to loosen the gum from the carpet.
Then, you can use one of the above-mentioned scraping tools to gently scrape the remainder of the gum away from your carpet.
This method may also offer the added benefit of working to target and lift any remaining grease stain that may be left on your carpet once the gum has been removed.
Another home remedy that may prove useful in targeting and removing gum from your carpet is lemon juice. You can apply either freshly squeezed or bottled lemon juice to the stain-affected area of your carpet, mix with a light amount of water, and use a gentle tool to slowly and patiently work the gum from your carpet.
This lemon juice also has a bleaching effect, which can help to lighten the appearance of a grease stain that may be left from the gum.
As unconventional as it may sound, peanut butter can be an effective way to remove a difficult, gooey stain from a sticky product like gum.
Because peanut butter contains fats and oils, it can be helpful to loosen the gum from the carpet’s fibers, helping you to remove the remainder of the gum.
Scoop a small glob of peanut butter onto the stain-affected area of the carpet, using just enough to cover the space where the gum remains and taking care not to spread the peanut butter to other areas of the carpet.
Massage the peanut butter into the gum gently.
Peanut butter, however, may present its own problems for you when it comes to taking care of a stain. The oil in the peanut butter may leave an additional stain in your carpet, which you will then need to address once the gum has been removed.
However, such a stain should not be too difficult to overcome, especially if it is treated right away and not allowed to set for too long into the carpet.
We’ll highlight several options for treating the remaining stain in the section below.
Alternatively, if you do not wish to use peanut butter on your carpet, you may find that petroleum jelly produces a similar effect, though it can be difficult to remove from carpet, too. But it may, at least, prove sufficient for removing the gum.
Other oil-based products, such as vegetable oil or coconut oil, may work, as well. With any of these methods, however, you will have an oil stain requiring prompt treatment once you’ve removed the gum.
Like peanut butter, it may not make much sense to apply toothpaste to a gum stain, but it, too, can be quite effective.
Toothpaste works to target the stickiness of the gum, reducing it and allowing you to more easily scrape away any remaining gum from the carpet.
Avoid gel toothpastes and stick with more solid, paste-like products.
Useful for more than just lubricating squeaky mechanical joints, WD-40 can be useful for removing gum embedded in carpet. It serves as a lubricant and works to loosen the gum from the carpet.
After you’ve managed to remove the gum, act quickly to clean up the lubricant. Use water and dish detergent to remove the greasy gum stain and soak up the remainder of the WD-40 using a sponge.
Just as ice and cold temperatures can prove useful for freezing gum in carpet to aid in its removal, so also can a hair dryer and warmer temperatures be used to melt it, making it easier to remove.
This method requires a bit of caution, however, as you don’t want your carpet to become so hot that it is damaged or catches fire.
Hold your hair dryer several inches from the spot of gum and set it to high heat, allowing the gum the chance to melt.
As it melts, use a paper towel, a wet wipe, or a plastic scraping tool to remove the gum from your carpet.
Removing the remainder of the stain
Although the methods highlighted above may work well to remove gum from your carpet, they may not make much headway in removing the small grease stain that will likely remain after the gum is scraped away.
For that, you will need to take an additional step to remove the remaining stain.
Any number of natural, DIY stain removal methods could work well, and you can always just use a commercial stain remover product, too.
One potential method includes the use of salt and lemon juice. Salt works to absorb the stain, while lemon juice serves as a bleaching agent.
Apply a small amount of lemon juice to the stain-affected area and then cover the stain with regular table salt. Allow it to sit for several hours to overnight.
This allows time for the stain to fully absorb into the salt.
Once the step is complete, you can then vacuum the remaining salt, taking care to pull it up from deep within the carpet fibers.
Use cold water and a gentle rag or a soft sponge to remove the remaining lemon juice.
The use of white vinegar on the stain may also prove useful. Mix one part vinegar with one part water into a spray bottle and apply as needed to the stain, dabbing with a gentle cloth, paper towel, or soft sponge.
Clean with water once the stain is removed to absorb the vinegar.
Finally, a great option can be the use of dish detergent and warm water. Just a small amount of dish detergent – less than a teaspoon – should suffice. You want to avoid using too much product, as it can produce suds quite easily and can quickly become quite the mess to deal with.
Dab gently with a soft cloth or sponge until stain is gone.
Use cold water and a gentle cloth to remove any remaining detergent.
Once you have successfully removed the stain and cleaned up any remaining product used to do so, you will then want to take some time to dry the spot.
Using a dry, soft rag or sponge, blot the area dry as much as you can. For any remaining moisture, point a fan on a low setting toward the moist area until it is completely dry. This will help to avoid the growth of mold and mildew.
After the area is dry, you can then run a vacuum cleaner over the treated area to help restore your carpet’s natural appearance.
With a little bit of effort and some experimentation, you really can successfully remove gum from your carpet and remove any stain it leaves behind.