4 Easy Ways to Remove Gum From Carpet

Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Reviewed by Asya Biddle
Updated December 13, 2021
Kids using tablet together on living room floor
Photo: Syda Productions / Adobe Stock

Prevent a sticky situation: Follow these methods to keep gum from becoming a permanent carpet stain

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Chewing gum might come in clutch after you polish off a chili dog, but it can betray you if it ends up somewhere it’s not supposed to be. Your carpet is an especially bad spot for a wad of ABC gum, as hasty removal can easily damage delicate carpet fibers. Resist the urge to yank at the goo—try one of these methods instead.

Difficulty: 1/5

Time: <1 day

Time and materials needed: Varies by method

Method 1: Use a Hair Dryer to Soften the Gum

The heat from your hair dryer can soften the chewing gum, making it easier to lift from your carpet fibers. Proceed slowly to avoid harming the carpet fibers, and repeat the blotting/lifting process until the gum gets removed.

Materials needed:

  • Hair dryer

  • Cleaning rag or plastic bag

Once you’ve got those items handy, here’s what to do:

  1. Carefully apply heat from the hair dryer to soften the gum* 

  2. Blot the softened gum with a cleaning rag or plastic bag; it should stick and release from the carpet fibers

  3. Slowly lift the chewing gum away from the floor

  4. Reapply heat if the gum starts to harden

  5. If there are any leftover gum stains, try method three below

The hot method of gum removal requires extreme caution. If the carpet is wool or a synthetic material, high heat can melt the fibers. Watch for any melting while using the hair dryer. If in doubt, test on a small section of carpet in a hidden area.

Method 2: Use Ice Cubes to Harden and Lift Gum From the Carpet

This gum removal method involves using ice cubes to freeze the gum off the carpet. Applying ice won’t remove the gum, but can cause it to harden, which makes it easier to lift off the carpet.

Materials needed:

  • Ice cubes

  • Sealable plastic bag

  • Dull butter knife or plastic spoon

  • Carpet cleaner

  • Vacuum

After you’ve rounded up those items, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Place ice in a resealable bag to avoid dripping

  2. Apply the ice pack to the gum for about 20 minutes

  3. After the ice has hardened the gum, gently scrape at the edges with a dull butter knife or plastic spoon (go slowly to avoid pulling up carpet fibers with the gum)

  4. Remove any leftover traces of gum by lightly scrubbing the carpet with carpet cleaning detergent or spray degreaser*

  5. Vacuum up any leftover balls of gum residue

If there are any leftover gum stains, try method three below

Test these carpet cleaners on an inconspicuous area of the carpet, as they may leave behind stains of their own.

Method 3: Remove Gum From Carpeting With Vinegar

Person cleaning carpet with spray bottle and cloth
Photo: REDPIXEL / Adobe Stock

Is there anything vinegar can’t do? This household hero can help eliminate gum stains leftover from either of the first two removal methods.

Materials needed:

  • White vinegar

  • Damp, clean cloth

  • Soft-bristled brush or old toothbrush

Once you have the supplies, here’s what to do:

  1. Apply a small amount of white vinegar to the gum stain*

  2. Gently work the vinegar into the stain with an old toothbrush or soft-bristled brush

  3. Let it sit for about 20 minutes

  4. Blot away the vinegar with a clean, damp cloth

*Again, be sure to test the vinegar on an unseen area before using it on the stain. For delicate carpets, consider diluting with a 1:2 or 1:4 ratio of vinegar to water.

Method 4: Use a Carpet Cleaning Solution on Old or Hardened Chewing Gum Stains

For old and hardened gum on carpeting, it may be necessary to apply a dry cleaning or gel-based solvent, such as a paint, oil, and grease remover.

Materials needed:

  • Dull butter knife or plastic spoon

  • Dry cleaning or gel-based solvent (e.g. mineral spirits, Goo Gone, etc.)

Here’s what to do:

  1. Test the cleaner or solvent on an inconspicuous area of the carpet to ensure it won’t cause any damage or discoloration

  2. Apply the solvent to the chewing gum

  3. Let it sit for about 10 minutes

  4. Scrape the gum gently with a plastic spoon or dull butter knife (sharp edges can damage the carpet pile)

What to Do When the Gum Won’t Budge

While the above methods can be effective against gum stains on carpeting, there may be stubborn spots or discoloration left behind. What’s more, some carpets are very delicate and might not respond well to scrubbing and scraping. 

Avoiding damaging products or cleaning protocols can keep your carpet looking new for longer, so it never hurts to have an abundance of caution. "I would start with a very small amount and begin working in the area where the gum is located," says Asya Biddle, Angi Expert Review Board member and manager of The Dust Busters janitorial company in Williamsport, PA.

Cost to DIY Gum Removal vs. Hiring a Professional Carpet Cleaner

It could cost you nothing to DIY gum removal, since many of the needed materials are probably items you already have at home. 

If you’re not sure what your carpet can handle, however, consider investing in the cost of cleaning your carpet professionally. It’ll run you around $120 to $230 on average, but prices vary based on the square footage and type of carpeting. 

This can help tackle stains, refresh your carpeting, and even create a healthier home environment as well, so it’s worth the extra price tag. Contact professional carpet cleaners in your area to learn more.

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