How To Get Gum Off Hardwood Floors

Chewing gum is perhaps the worst nightmare possible when it comes to cleaning any kind of surface.

The sticky stuff might help to make our mouths taste fresh, and they may be great stress relievers, but they can cause havoc for cleaners. Unlike other sweet snacks, chewing gum is not made to be swallowed, and needs to be disposed of externally.

How To Get Gum Off Hardwood Floors

The problem is, some people would prefer to simply drop the stuff straight onto the floor rather than find an appropriate waste receptacle. This is how those hard and persistent little patches of gum get stuck to tables or buried right into the concrete paths you walk outside your home. 

If you have a hardwood floor in your home, then you know that cleaning them is a crucial step in keeping them looking wonderful. Hardened chewing gum can only serve to make this process far more complicated. So how are you supposed to actually remove chewing gum from hardwood floors?

What products should you use? And what shouldn’t you do when trying to remove it? Before you start removing gum from your hardwood floors, check out our helpful guide, where we will show you the best way to go about removing it safely!

What Should You Use To Get Gum Off Hardwood Floors?

Most people’s first step when it comes to removing hardened gum from any surface is to use some kind of scraper to hack and chip away at the gum. If you wish to do this with your hardwood floor, you can, but it is important to exercise caution every step of the way.

Firstly, you want to make sure that you do not scrape too hard. Chip away bits of gum that you feel confident in chipping away at. If you push too hard you run the risk of damaging hardwood flooring, or the oil or lacquer solution that protects it.

You also need to be careful that, when a piece of gum is scraped off, it does not pull away a chip of the hardwood with it. 

Another homemade solution that many utilize is an ice pack. Simply place an ice pack onto the patch of gum and leave it to sit for around ten minutes. This will cause the gum to harden even more and will weaken its bonds to the wood.

Done properly, this should cause the gum to easily pop off when scraped. Once again, be sure not to overexert the gum, as it may damage the wood if forced off.

If the gum does not come off easily after the first application of ice, try once more for another ten minutes. If this does not work then it is best to move on to another solution. 

If you check your local grocery store, you may also find a number of specially designed solutions that are made for removing sticky and deep-set substances from surfaces.

These can make effective solutions, as they seek to weaken the bonds between the gum and the surface, to allow it to pull off without leaving excess residue.

However, before you purchase any of these solutions, you should be sure that it is safe for use on your floor, as certain harsh chemicals can tarnish wood, or degrade oil or lacquer solutions that are used to protect your floor. 

What Shouldn’t You Use To Get Gum Off Hardwood Floors?

As mentioned, you should only use solutions or products that are safe for use with hardwood floors, as they can degrade the quality of the wood or the sealant. You also don’t want to use a scraping tool that is too sharp.

It is likely that when you are scraping away at a piece of gum that you will occasionally nick the floor with the tool, which can leave tiny but superficial scratches. If your scraping tool is too sharp or too harsh, then you risk creating large and ugly scratches that may be too large to simply buff or polish away. 

What Do You Do To Remove Gum From Hardwood?

Once you have the right solutions or tools to carry out the job you can put them to use. You might want to start by lightly cleaning the area around the gum, to make it easier to scrape in that area without scratching. From here, try scraping away to see how much of the gum you can remove.

How To Get Gum Off Hardwood Floors

Use a little bit of force, to ease it off, but not too much to damage the floor. Check to see if the gum is giving way. If the gum is not easing up, then don’t push it any further.

If the gum is still stuck on the floor, then you should try using an ice pack. Put the ice pack on the gum, and allow the gum to harden, and its bonds to the wood to weaken. The gum may pop off easily after this. If not, repeat it as often as you feel is necessary. 

You can also use other cleaning solutions, or specially designed solutions to weaken the gum slowly. Be careful to use it sparingly, and not to be excessive. Rub the solution in circular motions around the affected area, to slowly weaken the gum from the outside, working in. 

What Should You Do After You Have Removed The Gum From The Hardwood?

After you have removed the gum from the hardwood floor, you may notice small amounts of residue left behind. Depending on the size of these bits of residue, you can simply continue to use the cleaning solution to work away at the smaller pieces.

These smaller pieces may, unfortunately, prove more persistent than the larger pieces of gum, and they usually occur when the gum has been stepped on and pressed into the wood. Carefully try to coerce them out, but if they do not budge, don’t force it too far, or you will damage the wood. 

You can opt to cover the patches of gum by painting over them and then revarnishing or oiling the wood, or by replacing the wood entirely, although this would be expensive, and you should be sure to exhaust all other options first. 

Once you are satisfied that you have cleared away all of the gum from the affected area, it is well worth giving it another wipe down with water and a light amount of cleaning solution, to get rid of any sticky patches that may remain but can’t be seen. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Vinegar Remove Gum?

Yes. Vinegar can remove gum from hard surfaces, and is often used by many people as a home remedy for such situations. Vinegar has some amount of acidic content, so can be used to slowly dissolve gum, and can be used to weaken its hold on a surface.

However, if you are planning on using it, you should be careful not to use too much, as vinegar is highly pungent, and you don’t want any lingering smells! 

Does Nail Polish Remover Remove Gum?

Nail polish remover can be used to remove gum from a surface. This is because nail polish remover contains alcohol, which can be used to slowly dissolve the bonds on the gum, which can weaken its grip on a certain surface.

However, it may not always work, so you should not depend on it exclusively. Nail polish remover can also tarnish wood if not used carefully. 

Final Thoughts

Cleaning gum away from a hardwood floor can be quite difficult, and if not done properly can cause further damage that would be expensive to have solved. If you have gum on your hardwood floor, follow our steps above to do it safely, without risking damaging your beloved and expensive floorboards. Gum is one of the worst things along with removing paint from wood flooring and isn’t something you want to rush into in case you damage the floor.

Use the right tools and solutions, and take the appropriate time, and you should have it off in no time at all! If it remains persistent you may also be able to call a professional to assist you. However, it is rare that it will ever come to that, and you should be able to easily rectify the problem solo!