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Seattle’s ‘Gum Wall’ Getting a Deep Cleaning

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Seattle's Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority has hired a contractor to clean its famous gum wall, the Seattle Times reports.

SEATTLE, Washington (CNN)–

It’s a sticky situation best addressed by professionals.

That’s what Seattle’s Pike Place Market has decided about cleaning its famous gum wall, which has accumulated 20 years worth of colorful chew.

The Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority has hired a contractor to handle next week’s deep clean, the Seattle Times reports.

The job will involve an “industrial steam machine that works like a pressure washer,” Kelly Foster, of Cascadian Building Maintenance, told the Times.

“This is probably the weirdest job we’ve done,” Foster said. In some places, the estimated 1 million pieces of gum are piled on up to 6 inches thick.

Although the market cleans the curious tourist attraction every other month with a steamer, this is the first time anyone has tackled the gum’s complete removal from the original wall, the Times reports.

The job is expected to cost $4,000. Market officials know that avid chewers are still likely to deposit their gum on the wall, but they’re hoping the clean-up helps contain its spread across the market’s historic walls.

The gum wall has earned the dubious distinction of being named the world’s second-germiest attraction, after Ireland’s Blarney Stone. And to mark the big clean, the market is having a gum wall photo contest on its Facebook page.

A must-see for Seattle visitors, Pike Place Market opened more than a century ago on August 17, 1907.

Fishmongers at the market toss the day’s catch with great flourish. The market is also known for the flagship Starbucks location, which opened in 1971.