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If you’ve ever tried removing chewing gum by scrubbing it off, then spotting a bit of gum that’s been squashed into a sofa or a carpet will leave you with a familiar pang of despair. No amount of strong scrubbing seems to make a difference; the plasticky surface of the gum remains unconcerned no matter how much soap you attack it with. And you’re left wondering how to get chewing gum off sofa fabrics and carpets – is it a mystery?
Fear not. Chewing gum is not invincible – you might just be using the wrong weapons. The best approaches to removing chewing gum on carpet fibres and upholstery uses the power of temperature, not physical strength. Here’s how to get chewing gum off carpet fibres and sofa surfaces using ice and heat.
Method 1: How to remove chewing gum from a carpet or sofa with ice
You will need:
- An ice cube or two
- A strong paper towel
- A metal spoon or a blunt knife (like a butter knife)
‘How to get chewing gum out of carpet fibres using ice? Really?’ We hear you. Freezing chewing gum with an ice cube reduces its sticking strength – its rubbery softness at room temperature is what allows it to cling so stubbornly. Once it’s hard and brittle, you can chip it off with a blunt knife or a spoon. Here’s how to get chewing gum out of carpet fibres and sofa fabrics with ice:
- Wrap an ice cube in a paper towel so it’s easy to handle, and rub it over the gum.
- Keep the ice in contact with the gum for 5 minutes or more to make sure it’s frozen solid.
- Use a metal spoon or a blunt knife to gently chisel between the gum and the sofa or carpet fabric.
Using a good quality paper towel makes light work of the job, but you won’t need much. Use just one piece of Plenty The Original One to avoid waste.
Method 2: Using heat to remove chewing gum from carpet and sofas
How to remove chewing gum from a carpet: What you’ll need
- An iron
- A few strong paper towels
- A metal spoon or a blunt knife like a butter knife
This is a little messier than the freezing technique, but it’s still a helpful trick for removing chewing gum on carpets and upholstery if you don’t have any ice to hand. While ice makes the sticky properties of the gum freeze up and release their grip, melting the gum with an iron relaxes the sticky bond, making the whole molten blob easy to scrape off. Here’s how to remove chewing gum from carpet and sofa surfaces using heat:
- Place a couple of strong paper towels over the area where the gum is stuck.
- Set the iron to a medium heat and place it where the gum is stuck, so that the layer of paper towels is a barrier between the iron and the gum.
- Do not move the iron around (this could spread the gum further) but lift it up frequently to check if the gum is melted. Make sure you’re not burning through the paper towels.
- When the gum is very soft, lift off the paper towels. Some of the gum should come off with the towels.
- While the gum is still molten, use a metal spoon or a butter knife to scrape as much of the remaining gum as possible off the fabric.
Getting rid of the residue
After you’ve got as much of the gum as possible out of the material, it’s time to tackle the residual traces of chewing gum on carpet. To get rid of the really stubborn bits of gum, you might need to use an oil-based product. An oil soap for wood works well if you have it, but peanut butter is a good kitchen cupboard alternative to remove chewing gum from carpet and upholstery. Just remember to test whichever you choose on a small, hidden area first to avoid damage. Here’s how to get chewing gum off carpet and upholstery entirely:
- Apply your chosen product to the gum residue. Make sure this is concentrated on the gum itself and not spread around too much, as you’ll need to wash it off quickly afterwards.
- Work the product around the gum gently with your fingers.
- Ease the remaining traces of gum away from the carpet or upholstery with a clean kitchen towel.
The best way to avoid gum stains is to remove the gum quickly, before it has a time to fuse to the fibres. Keep a pack of Plenty Handy Towels in the car in case you have a gum disaster when you’re on the go. Their waterproof packaging keeps them well protected.
Once the material is clear, clean it up to prevent any staining. Blot the area with warm soapy water, then rinse by blotting with warm clean water. Now your carpet or upholstery is free of chewing gum, all that’s left is to leave the damp area to air dry. And you can feel confident you know how to get chewing gum off sofas and carpets the next time disaster strikes.