How to Get Gum Out of Carpet

Chewed gum has a way of showing up in places you may never expect it and don't want it, such as the carpet. Instead of cutting the gum out of the carpet, leaving a bare or uneven patch, remove it using a combination of cold and hot treatments and another tasty treat: peanut butter.

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Stretch and Pick

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Pluck as much gum out of the carpet as possible as soon as you notice it to prevent anyone from stepping in it, which may create a worse cleaning problem. Pick off a large piece with a paper towel or use your fingers. Use tweezers to grab at small bits clinging to carpet fibers. Tug gently to avoid pulling loose or delicate fibers out of the carpet -- if any gum doesn't come up easily at this stage, leave it in place for another removal method.

A Snappy Solution

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The colder the gum, the more firm it becomes. Once it's well chilled, you may be able to snap and break it away from the carpet. Place a few ice cubes in a zippered sandwich bag, and rest the cold bag atop the gum for at least 10 minutes. Remove the bag and tug at the gum. If it's still soft, rest the bag over it a little longer. Scrape and pry the gum off using the edge of a plastic knife or the bowl of a sturdy plastic spoon. If some gum remains, slide the tines of a fork under the gum and between the carpet fibers to pry and lift from beneath the mess.

Gooey Grab Method

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If parts of the gum are so stubborn they cling even after an icy treatment, give the mess a dose of the opposite -- hot air. Place a plastic bag over one hand, and then apply hot air to the gummy area with a hair dryer set on medium heat. Move the hair dryer around slightly, holding it a few inches from the carpet, to avoid melting or damaging the carpet fibers. Move the hair dryer away and touch the gum with your bag-covered hand; if it is gooey, grab the gum, rotating the bag to a fresh area once one area gums up. Continue heating and grabbing the gum until you've removed as much residue as possible, using care not to touch the gummy parts of the bag to clean areas of the carpet.

Peanut Butter Pickup Time

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If all else fails, apply a bit of a soft, creamy peanut butter directly onto the gum -- the softer the peanut butter, the better, as it will be easier to apply directly where needed. Any nut butter will suffice in place of peanut butter -- they all have a similar oily consistency that works wonders on gum. Allow the peanut butter to sit for several minutes, and then blot and grab the peanut butter and gum residue with a damp white cloth. Limit the peanut butter to the gum spots as much as possible, as it may leave behind a bit of oil. Clean up the remaining peanut butter with a soft, soapy cloth or a bit of vinegar applied to a damp cloth. Rinse with a fresh damp cloth, and blot up any remaining water, allowing the carpet to air dry the rest of the way.