Gum may seem like an innocent, refreshing snack. However, the sweet little treat is sticky and difficult to clean from almost any surface.
We’ve all seen new and old gum remnants stuck on the sidewalk; it’s unsightly and unnecessary. Gum can last for decades on concrete unless someone makes a concerted effort to remove it.
Discarded gum can look white and eye-catching or even black and subtle; in either scenario, it’s not an aesthetic choice.
Fortunately, there are several methods you can try to remove gum that is stuck to the concrete.
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Fresh gum is easier to remove and can be peeled away if ice is applied immediately. Then, use a scraper to remove the gum from the concrete.
If the gum is older, use a pressure washer to force the gum off the floor. And if all else fails, there are several acid-based cleaners you can use to remove the gum chemically.
Prevention is Easier than Fixing
Gum is a nightmare to deal with, particularly on concrete. Concrete is covered in lots of tiny pores, with the gum seeping into and clinging onto each one.
It can be extremely challenging and time-consuming to remove gum from concrete; hence our number one recommendation is not to litter gum in the first place.
Many of us have been in a situation where we’re chewing gum and want to get rid of it but don’t know what to do with it, so we toss it out. Although it solves your immediate issue, it creates so many more problems for years to come.
So, before you pop a piece of gum in your mouth, check that you have a napkin or an old receipt to put it in.
Method 1: Removing Fresh Gum from Concrete Using Ice
If you’re trying to remove a piece of fresh gum from the ground that has not yet penetrated the porous surface, get to work fast.
Working quickly is especially important in warm conditions, as the heat melts the gum into the ground and encourages it to stick.
What you will need:
- An Umbrella.
- Ice or a freezing agent.
- A scraper.
To remove the fresh, sticky gum, quickly shade the area with an umbrella or something similar and place some ice on the gum.
The ice forces the gum to freeze, tighten and become workable instead of stringy and sticky. Alternatively, you can use an aerosol, freezing agent.
After freezing the ice, grab a scraping device and slide it under the gum. Ideally, you should use a thin metal scraper.
Try to avoid scraping the concrete in the process. The piece should peel off the concrete with relative ease. If it doesn’t, keep reading.
Follow the link below to check out the kind of scraper you should use.
Most of the time, you will be dealing with old, hardened chewing gum. The method that suits you will depend on the age of the gum, how many pieces you are trying to tackle, whether the concrete is indoors or outdoors, and what resources you have available.
Method 2: Power Washing
You’re in luck if you have access to a pressure washing machine. Using a power washer is one of the most effective and easy ways to remove multiple pieces of gum at once.
However, if you don’t have one to hand, renting one may still be worthwhile, as it can tackle lots of pieces of gum at once.
Another bonus of using a pressure washer is that you do not need to add any chemicals, making it safer to use for skin, pet paws, and plants.
However, you need to be careful not to use too much pressure or use the machine too close to the concrete, as it can damage the surface and give the appearance of etching.
To pressure wash the gum away, plug the machine in and get to work in sections. You may need to pressure wash a large section of the concrete, as the clean area will stick out when sitting next to a dirty patch of concrete.
So, if you’re tackling your driveway, it may be an excellent opportunity to clean the whole thing.
Warning: the pressure from their machines can cause injury, so be careful not to direct the stream at yourself or others when using it.
You can just use water, but you can also add some manufacturer-approved soap for improved results.
If you’re looking to invest in a pressure washer, now might be the time. They are handy for refreshing fences and patios and even cleaning cars.
They can range from around $60 to $300. Check out the link below to buy one.
Method 3: Using Chemicals to Remove Gum from Concrete
Although other methods may remove the majority of the gum matter, some residue may remain and discolor the concrete. To tackle these marks, you might need to move on to some chemicals.
You can begin by using safer chemicals first, such as detergents.
First, thoroughly clean the surface with soap and water. Then, apply detergent to the affected areas. Detergents aren’t super heavy duty; thus, it’s unlikely they will entirely remove the stain, but they may make it less visible.
After applying the detergent, allow it to sit for a few minutes, then pressure wash it again.
Check out the link below to buy a concrete detergent:
If the detergent didn’t help eradicate the gum residue, you might need to move on to more intense cleaners. Concrete is usually cleaned with one of three different types of acid; sulfamic, phosphoric, and muriatic.
If you’re dealing with standard concrete outdoors, you should start by using a Sulfamic based cleaner, as this is one of the safer acid types.
Whereas, if you’re cleaning concrete indoors, you will need to use phosphoric acid. This acid type produces fewer fumes and is safer. Regardless, you must ensure the area is well-ventilated when cleaning with acid indoors.
Muriatic acid is the most dangerous acid type used to clean concrete and should only be used by professionals. It is not safe for use indoors and must be used with caution.
When using any harsh cleaner or acid, you should be careful to protect yourself with gloves, face masks, and other protective wear. However, if in doubt, refrain from venturing into acid-based cleaners. Instead, hire or consult a professional.
Phosphoric acid cleaner:
Method 4: DIY Cleaning Solution
You can use some home remedies to remove gum residue from concrete. Using either orange peel oil or a paint stripper is effective at gum removal.
Locate your chosen chemical, and work the liquid into the affected area. Leave the chemical to sit, then scrape it off with a scraper.
If you’re concerned about marking the concrete, you can first use the chemicals on a less visible test patch.
Check out the link below to buy some orange peel oil:
All in all, chewing gum is one of the most frustrating substances to remove. It’s sticky, unsightly, leaves staining, and pretty gross. The only upside is that if you have ever had to remove gum, you will never litter the stuff again!
With some ice, detergent, or a pressure washer, you should be able to remove the majority of gum. However, you will need the perseverance to eradicate all residue and staining.
Last update on 2022-12-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API