If you ever look down at the concrete in a gas station or outside a convenience store, you will probably see several unsightly black spots. These spots are what are often left behind after chewing gum has been removed. To avoid dark spots on your driveway or patio, you should remove chewing gum right away. This chore can be accomplished if you have a commercial-grade power washer relatively quickly and easily, but there are other approaches you can take that are almost as simple. This article will cover how you can safely remove chewing gum from concrete with items that you can probably find in your kitchen or garage.
The 6 Best Ways to Remove Old Gum from Concrete
Removing chewing gum from a driveway or sidewalk is often challenging because concrete is porous. Fresh gum is easier to remove because the absorption process is slow. This characteristic means that the first thing you need to do is determine how old the gum you want to remove is. Here are six ways that you can remove old or fresh gum.
Rub an Ice Cube
If the chewing gum is soft and fresh and has not yet penetrated the concrete, the first step in the removal process is cooling it down to make it hard, so it does not stick to your tools. This step can either be done by using an ice cube or with cans of freeze sprays like BW-100 or CRC. Patience key here, as cooling chewing gum to the point where it can be removed easily takes time. If the ice cube keeps slipping out of your hand, put it in a plastic bag.
Scrape It Off
When the chewing gum has hardened, it is time to get to work with a scraper. Putty knives work best, but just about any flat and pliable implement will do. Avoid tools with a sharp edge as they could damage your concrete. Start by chiseling or sawing at the edge of the gum until it starts to loosen, and then use leverage to lift it off. Spraying the gum with a bit of WD-40 before you start makes the job a little easier. If the wad of gum is large, you may notice that it is still soft in the middle. If this happens, just use the ice cube or freeze spray again. Once you have removed the gum, wrap it in paper and dispose of it. This precaution will prevent you from inadvertently stepping on the gum and having to start all over again.
The Detergent Solution
After you have finished cooling and scraping, it will be time to get rid of any remaining chewing gum. This step is actually a lot easier than it sounds. All you have to do is add about half a tablespoon of dish detergent to a bowl of hot water and use a stiff brush. If the solution does not seem to be working, it is probably because you are not using enough detergent. You could also use denatured alcohol. Just make sure that you allow the alcohol to sit for about five minutes before you start scrubbing.
Brush It Off
Once you have mixed the detergent solution or applied denatured alcohol, you can use a brush to get rid of any remaining chewing gum. Make sure that the brush has bristles tough enough to make the job easy but not so hard that they could scratch your concrete. Dip the brush in the solution and use small circular scrubbing motions. If the chewing gum is old and has started to be absorbed by the concrete, it could take quite a bit of elbow grease to get the job done.
Clean off the Concrete
You’ve reached the point where most people put away their tools and head inside. However, that would be a mistake because there could still be tiny particles of gum in the pores of your concrete. To get rid of these particles, you first have to dissolve them. To do this, pour a little vinegar on the area where the gum was and let it sit for about five minutes. Then use a stiff toothbrush to scrub the area thoroughly. You should perform this step two or three times to make sure that you get every last trace of gum out of your concrete.
Rinse It Off
The chewing gum has now been removed, but there is still work to do. Rinsing the area with clean water will remove any small gum particles and prevent them from sticking to the surface again, and it will also get rid of any traces of detergent, alcohol and WD-40 that could stain your concrete. A hose pipe or pressure washer makes this chore very easy, but a large bucket works just as well.
Leave the Sticky Work to a Professional
If all of this sounds like a little too much work to remove some chewing gum, you may want to leave the job to a professional. The experts at Nashville Concrete have the equipment and experience needed to keep your driveway or patio looking great, and we encounter chewing gum almost every day.
Our technicians will check the density and porosity of your concrete to determine the best way to proceed, and then they will go the extra mile to make sure that the results are stunning. If you want to find out more about our concrete installation, repair and cleaning services, you can fill out our online form or call us at (615) 505-3595.