Clouds of Juicy Fruit-smelling vapor blew through Pike Place Market’s Post Alley as men in protective suits raked and sprayed down the 20-year-old gum wall.

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Clouds of Juicy-Fruit smelling steam rose and blew through Pike Place Market’s Post Alley, so ripe with sugary flavor you could almost taste it, as two men in protective suits and masks raked and sprayed down the 20-year-old gum wall early Tuesday. Gum softened and dropped from the wall onto steel plates that lined the ground to catch the sticky, germ-laden mess. Onlookers snapped photos for Snapchat while TV reporters launched into live shots.

Work began today to clean the gum wall in Pike Place Market’s Post Alley for the first time in 20 years. Workers are using steam cleaners with 260-degree water and the process will take most of the week. (Lauren Frohne / The Seattle Times)

Ironically, the steam wands were not working at nearby Ghost Alley Espresso. Abby Fico, who was tending the coffee bar, said she wasn’t worried about the newly cleaned tourist attraction hurting business.

“People are going to come down here to see the naked gum wall,” she said.

The store sells bubble gum for 50 cents, so people can slap it on the alley bricks. Kids love it, Fico said, but it’s “sticky and disgusting.”

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Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority plans to weigh the gum once it’s removed, then throw it out.

Jessica Ness, who leads Pike Place Market ghost tours nearby, had faith that the wall would return.

“In the summer, the smell was getting to be sickly sweet. Hopefully it mellows out. I have no doubt it will re-emerge as the monster it once was,” she said with a laugh.