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How to Get Gum Out of Carpet in Six Steps

Person cleaning carpet with blue gloves, spray bottle, and sponge
Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

Of all the things to get in your carpet, chewing gum is one of the worst. Gum is a sticky substance that is difficult to remove from most surfaces, especially the soft fibers of a carpet. The pliable texture of chewing gum means that it easily gets into microscopic crevices, forming a tight bond with just about anything it comes into contact with.

If you try to pull a piece of gum off the carpet with your hand, it’ll only stretch and break apart, leaving an ugly chunk of tacky residue behind. The gooey remains are particularly challenging to remove for the unprepared, but once you learn how to do it you’ll realize that extracting gum from carpets is no big deal. Keep reading to learn how to remove gum from carpet and which items you need to complete the task.

How to remove gum from carpet in 6 steps

If you’ve struggled with removing gum from a carpet or rug in the past, clear those failed attempts from your mind. The following method works for various types of rugs including those made of hemp, jute, wool, other natural fibers, synthetic fibers, and blended fibers. Also, remember that the sooner you’re able to remove the gum, the easier the entire process is.

Ready to get started? Take a deep breath and complete the following frustration-free steps to remove gum from carpet without the stress.

Step 1: Prepare the area.

Obtain a thin piece of cardboard and cut a small hole in the shape of the gum. The back of a spiral notebook, for example, would work well. This piece of cardboard acts as a guard to protect the surrounding carpet while you remove the gum. Place the cardboard over the spot.

Step 2: Freeze the gum.

Place an ice cube inside of a plastic bag and rub it over the gum. The plastic bag keeps the melting ice from wetting everything. Continue to rub the ice over the gum until the gum becomes hard. The frozen gum is easier to remove since the process causes the molecules to contract and relax its bond to the carpet. Instead of ice, you could also use a commercial aerosol product like Zenex ZenaFreeze to spray on the gum.

Step 3: Scrape the gum.

Once the gum sufficiently hardens, use a dull knife, spatula, or silicone kitchen scraper to carefully remove the gum. If a few stubborn pieces or a stain stay behind, continue with the following steps.

Step 4: Clean remaining residue.

Use a sponge to carefully apply lacquer thinner, such as Klean-Strip Green, to the remaining pieces of gum. Follow any safety precautions on the label, as lacquer thinners are flammable and may emit noxious fumes. You might also try citrus-based adhesive removers like Goo Gone or De-Solv-It. Carefully blot or scrape the last bits of gum until they’re gone.

Step 5: Remove the stain.

Even after you remove all of the gum, there may be a stain left behind. To remove it, mix one part mineral oil with eight parts liquid dry-cleaning solvent, such as Forcefield. Apply a small amount to the stain and press down firmly with a sponge. You should also go ahead and remove the cardboard at this point, so you can blot the stain more easily. Don’t rub, as this could make the stain worse. Repeat the application and blot until the stain lifts from the carpet.

Step 6: Rinse and dry the area.

Finally, rinse the spot with a little bit of water and blot the excess moisture with a towel until it’s dry.

What you’ll need to get gum out of your carpet

  • A small piece of cardboard and scissors: While this isn’t completely necessary, this extra item makes the clean-up process tidier overall.
  • Ice or Zenex ZenaFreeze (or similar):
  • A plastic bag: Make sure the bag doesn’t have any holes, otherwise it’ll defeat the purpose. Using a plastic bag keeps the ice from melting all over the place.
  • A scraping device: Don’t use anything with a sharp edge, as this can damage your carpet or rug. One good option is a thumb scraper. The durable texture is ideal for breaking up hardened gum without destroying your carpet in the process.
  • Lacquer thinner: This is essential for breaking up lingering remnants of gum. Klean-Strip Green does the job, plus it contains 20% biodegradable and sustainable content and contains no ozone-depleting chemicals. You’ll find it useful for many other tasks, such as removing paint and as a cleaning tool.
  • Citrus-based cleaners: These cleaners are an alternative to lacquer thinners, but they may require a bit more elbow grease and time to soak and thoroughly remove the residue.
  • Dry cleaning solvent: Forcefield works wonders on all kinds of upholstery, carpets included. You might test it first on an inconspicuous spot, as some users report it causes colors to run.
  • Sponges and paper towels: Use either, or both, to blot and lift gum stains and small pieces from your carpet.

The bottom line on removing gum from carpet

When it comes to removing gum from your carpet, slow and steady wins the race. Take your time and follow the method step-by-step. If at first it doesn’t seem like a step is working, simply repeat and try again. Eventually, the gum will come off. Also, remember a little bit goes a long way when it comes to solvents and stain removers. Start with a small amount and gradually apply more as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What home remedies take chewing gum out of carpet?
You can remove chewing gum from carpet by freezing the gum with ice, scraping it off, and then blotting away any remaining gum with a solvent or citrus-based cleaner.

Does WD-40 remove chewing gum?
You can use WD-40 to remove chewing gum from carpet. Try spraying the gum and rubbing it between a separate piece of carpet. Repeat application until the gum lifts out of the carpet.

Which gum remover works best?
There are a number of store-bought products that do a good job of removing gum from carpets. ZenaFreeze does a fine job freezing gum for commercial applications. For household use, citrus-based cleaners like Goo Gone or a lacquer thinner aid with gum removal.

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