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How To Clean Gum from Carpet

When removing a gum stain from non-porous materials like a vinyl or tile floor, there are options like peanut butter or oil. For carpet and other similar materials, these might not be the best techniques as they could encourage further staining. Instead, there are non-greasy alternatives. Prior to removing ground in portions of the gum stain, remove as much of the gum as possible using a scraping tool or plastic knife. Cooling the gum with an ice pack or heating with a hairdryer may aid bulk removal. Once as much of the gum as possible has been scraped away, use the following techniques to address persistent stains and sticky residue.

Keep in mind that carpets come in a wide variety of materials, and unusual carpet pigments or materials such as leather, suede or exotic synthetics may not react favorably with cleaning solutions. You may also wish to consider the backing material of your carpet or rug, and whether or not it will react to the cleaning solution. Any stain remedy should be tested in an inconspicuous area.

Citrus-based cleansers containing the active ingredient d-limonene will help break down gum stains. Use the product according to the manufacturer's directions, and follow with a light overall cleansing of the area with a mild dishwashing liquid diluted in water, a clear water rinse, and blotting dry. D-limonene remedies may not be suitable for synthetics or treated surfaces, as they will break down petroleum based materials.

An effective and accessible technique is to use a product like Bengay, Vicks VapoRub, IcyHot Chill Stick (300% active)  containing the active ingredient methyl salicylate, to break down the stain. Apply dabs of a salve containing methyl salicylate directly to the sticky residue or persistent stains. Allow the salve to sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Follow with a light overall cleansing of the area with a mild dishwashing liquid diluted in water, a clear water rinse, and blotting dry.

For a carpet with a dense low pile, like those designed for high traffic areas, industrial/office use, you can also use a plastic or kneadable eraser. High quality erasers  are affordable and readily available at stationery and art stores. Use the erasers to gently remove sticky residue. Apply the eraser directly to the stain with a light rubbing motion for plastic erasers, or a wicking motion for kneadable erasers. When finished, vacuum up the eraser residue. This method is helpful for synthetics and treated surfaces

Caution: Never mix cleaning agents or chemicals, the result can be dangerous or deadly. Before cleaning, always test the agent on an inconspicuous location to determine its suitability and to make certain it does not damage the material. Wear appropriate clothing such as gloves and protective eyewear, and work in a well-ventilated area. Accidental inhalation or ingestion of cleaning agents can be hazardous and even fatal, particularly to pets and children.

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