Xanthan gum originates from a microorganism whose cell coat has the uncanny ability to form strong gels in most liquid solutions. This unique property makes it a desired ingredient in many food items, particularly gluten free baked goods.
However, this gelling quality can also pose problems when spilled; often leaving us with the question, “I spilled xanthan gum on my counter. What is the best way to clean it up?” And, unfortunately we did not have a concrete answer, until now.
Our test kitchen compiled a list of 8 viable household items and put them to the test.
We divided the test kitchen counter into 8 squares (one for each item), distinguished by painters tape. In each square, 1 tablespoon of dry xanthan gum was sprinkled to create an even layer.
The designated household item was applied to the xanthan gum covered surface and wiped with a paper towel. The results are listed below.
1 tablespoon of baking soda was added to 1/4 cup of water. This solution caused the xanthan gum to smear.
Though the xanthan gum did not gel, the surface was left oily, and it was undecided if the oil had cleaned the surface or simply absorbed and smeared the xanthan gum.
When xanthan gum was wiped with dish soap, the soap acted as a surfactant and successfully removed the majority of xanthan gum from the surface. The amount of residue left behind was miniscule.
Hydrogen peroxide was allowed to sit on the surface for a couple of minutes before being wiped. Though some of the xanthan gum of successfully removed, gelled portions remained on the counter.
When ice water was applied to the xanthan gum coated surface, the xanthan gum immediately began to gel and was not able to be wiped off.
Acted in the same manner as dish soap.
Lemon juice was poured on the surface and wiped. The xanthan gum had gelled and was smeared on the surface.
Rubbing alcohol was allowed to sit on the surface for a couple of minutes before being wiped. When wiped with a paper towel the surface was clear of xanthan gum and all residues.
Acted in the same manner as lemon juice.
Reviewing the results, a multi-step process was tested and agreed upon.
Step 1: Scrape or sweep as much dry xanthan gum as possible off the surface.
Step 2: Using a paper towel or clean cloth, wipe the surface clean with rubbing alcohol.
Step 3: Add soap to a soft sponge and gently scrub the surface.
Step 4: Wipe the soapy surface thoroughly with a dry clean cloth.
Step 5: Use hot soapy water to thoroughly wash the surface clean, repeating if necessary.
It is important to note that water should not be used until Step 5.
Though we did not test this clean up process on guar gum, it possesses the same properties, and we are confident that the above method will yield the same results--a clean counter or floor.