How To Remove Gum from Wood
Gum is one of those stains that just seems to get everywhere! And then, once it has hitchhiked in on a shoe or dropped on a surface, it sticks, attracts dirt, and becomes even more difficult to remove. Gum is one of those stains where it really is much easier to treat if found promptly, some of these methods will be effective on older stains as well. Test all cleaning solutions and application techniques in an inconspicuous location before using them in a wider area.
For fresh gum stains, sometimes paper towels are too flimsy, and will get embedded in the gum. Instead, try using a page ripped from a magazine or heavy brown craft paper to place over the stain, grab, and twist away as much of the gum as possible. Small amounts of sticky residue that are left behind can be removed by rolling a tennis ball over the area, or rubbing gently with a high quality kneadable art eraser. Follow gum removal with a light overall cleansing using a soft cloth, and whichever wax, polishing compound or everyday cleaning solution is the appropriate and usual choice for your finish type.
Older gum stains can be hardened to such a degree that it's difficult to pry away the bulk of the stain. The application of heat is a good way to soften the gum, but caution should be used as prolonged heat may cause damage to the wood surface or finish. Pre-heat an iron, starting with lower settings first. Place a thick piece of brown craft paper or white cloth over the stain. Make sure the piece of paper or cloth is large enough that the iron can be kept moving, to help avoid heat damage. Apply the iron over the paper, moving constantly and cautiously increasing the temperature if need be. When the gum sticks to the paper or cloth, peel away with a wicking motion. Move to a clean piece of paper or cloth and repeat the process as needed, provided that the application of heat using the iron does not appear to be causing any disfigurement or damage. Follow gum removal with a light overall cleansing using a soft cloth, and whichever wax, polishing compound or everyday cleaning solution is the appropriate and usual choice for your finish type.
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.