In news pleasing to germophobes everywhere, a famous gum-covered wall in Seattle has received a deep clean after more than 20 years of sticky buildup.
Bricks in the so-called Gum Wall have been slowly damaged by all the sugary gum, according to the Pike Place Market, which is home to the wall.
There are an estimated 1 million pieces of gum affixed to the wall, which in 2009 was named by TripAdvisor as the second germiest tourist attraction in the world after Ireland's Blarney Stone.
The tradition began 20 years ago when people waiting in line for a local theater began leaving their gum on the wall. Since then, it's grown to over 8 feet high and 54 feet wide.
Although the wall is occasionally cleaned, this will be its first major scrub. However, officials expect — and hope — the gum will return.
"We expect the Gum Wall will live on — it's a Seattle tradition and a crowd-sourced piece of public art that people really enjoy," Pike Place marketing director Emily Crawford said. "But it's time to start with a clean canvass."
The cleaning is expected to last until Friday due to its multi-ton volume.
On Tuesday, workers in protective gear used high pressure hoses to fire water heated to 260 degrees Fahrenheit at the wall.
Reporters on the scene described the smell as "fruity" and "minty."
Gradually, the gum disappeared and the bricks re-emerged. 🙌
"Goodbye, Gum Wall," this note reads. "We will miss you." 😷
David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.
Contact David Mack at email@example.com.
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