DIY Cleaning & Organizing

The Best Way to Remove Gum From Carpet

If you’re stuck on how to remove gunky gum from the carpet, chew on these fast, easy, and damage-free fixes!
How to Remove Gum from Carpet - Stick of Gum
How to Remove Gum from Carpet - Stick of Gum Photo:

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Even if you’re not a gum chewer, you can still fall victim to the sticky substance if a wad on the concrete floor outside sneaks its way onto the soles of your shoes. The gunky guest then follows you home, where it takes up permanent residence in your carpet.

While you may be tempted to forcibly remove the clingy carpet dweller by pulling it by hand, this approach can cause collateral damage to the delicate fibers of your carpet. Here’s how to get gum out of carpet more easily (of course, it’s best to try these methods on an inconspicuous area first).

How to Remove Gum From Carpet

Of all the substances that can sully a carpet, gum is one that seems to cause the most grief. Put down those scissors—there are better ways to get chewing gum out of carpet than cutting it out! Below are three methods of gum removal. (For ultra-challenging situations—say, your kids have had a bubble gum–blowing contest and left the evidence underfoot—you may need to start with the ice cube method, then follow it up with the vinegar method.)

How to Remove Gum from Carpet - And Clothes
Photo: via jessyratfink
How to Remove Gum from Carpet - With Ice Cubes

Removing Gum via The Ice Cube Method

To prevent a sticky situation from getting even stickier, give lodged-in gum wads the cold shoulder—with ice cubes! This is why it pays to always keep ice on hand. Gather ice cubes from the freezer, and then complete the following steps:

  • Place a couple of ice cubes in a plastic bag. Press the bag of ice onto the offending gum wad. Leave the ice on the gum for at least 1 minute. This will freeze and harden the gum, making it easier to lift off.
  • Gently pick at and pull the frozen gum from the carpet using your fingers, a scraping tool, or a butter knife.
  • Start lifting along the edges and move toward the center of the wad, taking care not to remove the carpet fibers along with the gum! (Master this technique, and in the future you can even apply it to upholstery messes and gummed-up clothes.)
  • At this point, most of the gum should be out of sight and out of mind, but if stubborn residue remains, root it out with a few drops of a rub featuring methyl salicylate (such as the pain-relieving cream Bengay).
  • Scrub away any discoloration or carpet stains left in the gum’s wake with a mild carpet-cleaning detergent.
  • Rinse the area with warm water to send your gummy ordeal packing!
How to Get Gum Out of Carpet

The WD-40 Method to Remove Chewing Gum

Another household workhorse, WD-40 is also effective for getting gum out of carpet and rugs. Chewing gum is hydrophobic, which means it can’t be dissolved by water. To break it up, dissolve it using another hydrophobic material, like WD-40. (The WD-40 technique should be a quicker fix than the ice technique, because you won’t have to wait around for the gum to harden.) Here’s what to do:

  • Spray a liberal amount of WD-40 on the chewing-gum stain. Point the spray straw as close as you can to the underside of the area, where the gum meets the carpet. You may need to use your fingers to work the WD-40 into the carpet fibers.
  • Wait 5 or 10 minutes.
  • Using a rag or small scrub brush, wipe or lightly scrub the gum in one direction.
  • Add more WD-40 as needed to remove remaining gum from the carpet. Continue wiping in the same direction.
How to Get Gum Out of Carpet

And Finally, The Vinegar Method

White vinegar has so many uses around the home that it’s no surprise it can also be used to get gum out of carpet. Here’s how to put natural, do-everything vinegar can get chewing gum from carpet:

  • Warm ¼ cup of white vinegar in the microwave.
  • Dab a clean white cloth or towel into the vinegar, and then dab it onto the gum.
  • Use a putty knife, dull knife, or the side of a spoon to scrape away as much gum as you can.
  • Use an old toothbrush to brush away the remaining gum. (The gum remnants will gunk up the toothbrush entirely, so you’ll want to toss it after using it for this task.)
How to Get Gum Out of Carpet

FAQs About How to Get Gum Out of Carpet

Q. How do you get old black gum out of carpet?

Freeze it off. Place a couple of ice cubes in a plastic bag, and leave the ice on the gum until the gum is hard and brittle. Scrape off frozen gum residue with a putty knife or butter knife.

Q. How do you get gum out of a wool carpet?

The freezing tip mentioned above will also work on removing gum stuck in wool carpets. Simply freeze the gum and scrape it off with a sharp edge, without having to worry about whether a solvent will damage the wool.

Q. How do you get chewy sweets out of carpet?

Begin by blotting the candy with a rag dipped in cold water, which should loosen the sticky bond. Scrape away any large bits of candy, and then apply a stain remover or carpet cleaning solution. Wait a few minutes, then carefully blot the stain remover. If the stain persists, blot the stain with a clean cloth dipped in white vinegar.

Q. How do you get hard stuff out of carpet?

It depends on what the hard stuff is. If you know the substance is candle wax, you can either try the ice technique above, or use a warm iron. To remove the wax with an iron, lay a damp white cloth over the stain. Then, with an iron set to low heat, iron the cloth until it absorbs the wax. Repeat as needed, covering the wax with a clean portion of the cloth each time.