A Sticky Issue: How to Remove Gum

Despite its refreshing taste and breath-freshening abilities, chewing gum often finds its way onto and into places it doesn’t belong, stubbornly sticking to surfaces and creating a mess. Fortunately, removing gum isn’t terribly tedious if you know the proper methods. Chewing gum is challenging to remove when warm, so hardening it is the first step in any gum removal process. This can be achieved by using ice cubes or freezing the gum-adhered item, making removing it easier without stretching or damaging the
underlying surface.

Fabric, carpet, and rugs
For fabric, carpet, or rugs, apply an ice cube directly to the gum, rubbing it until it hardens. Placing the gum in the freezer is an efficient alternative if it is on a small, portable item like an item of clothing. Consider putting the ice cube in a plastic bag for rugs or carpet to avoid soaking the material with water. Once the gum hardens, gently scrape it off using a blunt knife, like a dinner or putty knife. Though it requires effort, being cautious can help avoid damage to the fibers.

Removing gum from hair necessitates a slightly different approach. Instead of hardening the gum, applying cooking oil or another natural lubricant (some use peanut butter) can ease the removal process. Gently work the substance into the gum and surrounding hair before carefully picking or combing out the gum. This method requires caution, especially when working on someone else, as it can be painful. Alternatively, one can use the freezing process to ‘crack’ the gum off, followed by an oil treatment to remove all remnants.

Regardless of the method used, removing gum demands patience and careful handling. Sometimes, it may require combining techniques, especially for more stubborn pieces. However, diligent application of these methods usually results in successful gum removal, leaving the surface unharmed. By approaching this sticky situation with patience and the proper techniques, you can ensure that the unwelcome gum finds its way out without leaving a trace behind. But at times this type of sticky situation is just too much to handle on your own, such as when gum is embedded and hardened into your carpet or expensive area rug. When that happens, you have a resource you can rely on: Your favorite cleaning company. Do the right thing and let them handle this. After all, it pays to call a pro!

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