back to top

This Gross Wall With 20 Years Of Gum On It Is Finally Being Cleaned

Now, that's what I call a sticky situation.

Posted on

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.

Advertisement

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.

(relevant)

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

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.

Video shared by @ErikaJSchultz shows crew beginning the process of clearing up Seattle's gum wall

Reporters on the scene described the smell as "fruity" and "minty."

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Gradually, the gum disappeared and the bricks re-emerged. 🙌

Finally, a bit of brick appears, shiny and clean, as the #GumWall falls.

David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.

Contact David Mack at david.mack@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.