4 Easy Ways to Remove Gum From Carpet

Mariel Loveland
Written by Mariel Loveland
Reviewed by Asya Biddle
Updated July 29, 2022
Kids using tablet together on living room floor
Photo: Syda Productions / Adobe Stock

Get yourself out of a sticky situation with these tips

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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 gum, as hasty removal can easily damage delicate carpet fibers. Resist the urge to yank at the goo—try one of these methods instead. Here’s how to get gum out of carpet the easy way.

How to Prep For Getting Gum Out of Carpet

Most of the time, you'll need to soften or dissolve gum to remove it from a carpet. You can use heat, though most methods involve a cleaning solution (whether it’s DIY or store-bought). A gentle acid like white vinegar or isopropyl alcohol will soften hardened gum enough to pull it up without damaging your carpet. A gel or oil-based solution also works because it loosens the gum’s grip on the fibers.

Keep in mind that not every method works on every kind of carpet. Oil can leave stains, though most of the time, you can remove them with dish detergent and water. Certain household cleaners can damage natural fibers like wool. Bleach-based cleaners can discolor dyed rugs. Make sure you read the manufacturer’s directions before choosing a cleaner.

How to Get Gum Out of Carpet

The way you remove gum from your carpet depends on the state of the gum. Perhaps that wad of gum was hiding behind your couch and is old and hardened, or maybe you only dropped it five minutes ago. You may have to try multiple methods before successfully removing gum, but take your time to avoid a sticky situation.

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.

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.

3: Remove Gum From Carpeting With Vinegar

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.

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

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

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.


Does rubbing alcohol remove gum from carpet?

Yes, rubbing alcohol—known as isopropyl alcohol—can help you get gum out of carpeting, especially if the gum has already hardened. It helps break down the polymers in the gum and doesn’t tend to damage dyes or fabrics like other cleaning methods. Just follow these steps:

  1. Soak the piece of gum in alcohol.

  2. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes so the alcohol has a chance to soften the gum.

  3. Try to pull the gum away with your fingers.

What dissolves chewing gum?

You need a cleaning solution that’s slightly acidic to dissolve chewing gum. Lemon juice, vinegar, and rubbing alcohol (which is a very weak acid) are effective. Keep in mind that lemon juice can cause discoloration when used with certain dyes. Vinegar and rubbing alcohol are typically more color safe.

Does WD-40 remove chewing gum?

A lubricant like WD-40 can be used as a cleaning hack to remove stubborn chewing gum, whether it’s stuck on your shoe or on your favorite rug. It mainly works because gum is hydrophobic, which means it repels water. WD-40 is the same, so it can really loosen gum’s hold where water would simply roll away. 

  1. Spray the gum with a generous amount of WD-40 or a similar lubricant.

  2. Make sure you’re spraying the carpet fibers that actually touch the gum.

  3. Let the gum soak for 5 to 10 minutes.

  4. Rub the gum away using your fingers or a towel, scrubbing in a single direction.

  5. Repeat the process until the gum almost entirely lifts.

Keep in mind that lubricants can leave an oily residue on carpets. You’ll need to clean the area using a detergent or degreaser, and it may stain some particularly unforgiving fabrics like wool.

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