The world’s second “germiest” attraction is being wiped clean. Seattle’s famous “gum wall,” dried onto the bricks of a corridor in the city’s Pike Place Market, is undergoing deep cleaning this week to remove hundreds of pounds of gum. According to the Associated Press, officials estimate that 2,200 pounds will be pried off the wall with powerful steam cleaners during the three-day cleanse.
The wall started as a simple depository for unwanted gum from theatergoers at the nearby Market Theater. For the past 20 years, it has grown to become a Seattle landmark. Tourists and citizens alike flock to the wall each year to leave their chewed-up Dubble Bubble and Juicy Fruit. And of course, to take selfies.
The decision was made after a busy summer tourist season when the wall began encroaching on nearby alley walls and pipes. And the sickly sweet scent began attracting vermin around the wall’s larger home, the Pike Place Market. The cleaning contractors, Cascadian Building Maintenance, are collecting and weighing the removed gum as they go and will have a final total at the end of the week. But no one can say just how long the wall will stay gum-free.