How to Get Gum Out of Clothes

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Categories Doing Laundry
Let’s get you out of this sticky situation.

Yikes. So you just discovered gum on your clothing. You’re asking yourself, “What do I do?” Well, not to worry. Because we have 11 methods for how to get gum out of clothes.

Each method uses common household products, so it should be a quick and easy journey. In fact, even if you’re out and about when you discover the gum, you might have a few of these objects in your bag!

How to Get Gum Out of Clothes Using Alcohol

Pour rubbing alcohol onto a cloth. Rub it into the gum. It’s okay if the rubbing alcohol contacts the clothing — it won’t stain. Once the gum starts to loosen, use a butter knife to gently scrape it from the clothes. Launder as normal.


Will Gum Come Out in the Wash?

If you find gum on your clothes, don’t just toss the garment into the wash. This can create an even bigger mess. Cold water can cement the gum into the clothes even further, while hot water can melt the gum and create a sticky gooey mess inside the machine.

Before you put gum stained clothes in the wash, it’s important to remove as much of the gum as possible using one of our methods. Then, we’ll let you know if it’s safe for the machine.

How to Get Gum Out of Clothes

There are 11 different methods, so you can choose the one that sounds the easiest — and most practical — for you.

Detergent

  1. Pour liquid laundry detergent over the gum.
  2. Use a toothbrush to saturate the detergent into and around the gum.
  3. Use a butter knife to gently scrape the gum off the clothes.
  4. Scrape off the excess gum with your fingernails.
  5. Wash as normal, using a stain remover if necessary.

Toothpaste

  1. Apply a drop of toothpaste to the gum.
  2. Using the heel of your hand or an old ruler, flatten the toothpaste into the gum.
  3. Let the toothpaste dry completely.
  4. When it’s dry, the gum should be hard. Plus the toothpaste should have broken down the gum’s stickiness. Try peeling or scraping the gum off.
  5. Wash the fabric normally.

Using Vinegar

  1. Heat a cup of distilled white vinegar in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  2. Dip a toothbrush into the vinegar and rub it over the gum. Do this while the vinegar is hot.
  3. Repeat until the gum is gone.
  4. When the gum has lifted, wash the garment as normal using a stain remover if necessary.

By Ironing

  1. Put a piece of cardboard on your ironing board.
  2. Lay the gum-stained garment over the cardboard, with the gum face to face with the cardboard.
  3. Turn the iron onto a medium setting.
  4. Iron over the back of the fabric. The gum should begin to transfer to the cardboard. Repeat until the gum has removed from the clothing.
  5. You may need to move the cardboard so the gum can stick to a different section.
  6. Wash the garment as normal when the gum has been removed.

Keep in Mind

Never dry a garment unless the gum and stain is completely removed. Otherwise, you can set the gum into the clothing permanently.

Using Peanut Butter

  1. Spread the peanut butter over the gum, aiming to cover as much of the gum but as little of the fabric.
  2. Let it sit for a few minutes so the gum can soften and lose its stickiness.
  3. Use a butter knife to gently scrape the gum off the fabric.
  4. Apply necessary stain remover and launder as normal.

Warning

Peanut butter can stain clothes so always test in an inconspicuous area first, or use oil-free peanut butter.

Freezing the Garment

  1. Fold the garment so the gum faces outwards.
  2. Put the garment inside a plastic bag. Make sure the gum doesn’t stick to the bag. If you can’t find a way, simply place the garment on top of the plastic bag.
  3. Put the bag and garment in the freezer for two hours, or until the gum has frozen.
  4. Remove the gum from the freezer and using a butter knife, gently scrape off the gum immediately. The gum must be frozen hard before you do this otherwise it will start to stick to the clothing again.

Using Alcohol

  1. Pour a little bit of rubbing alcohol onto a sponge or cloth.
  2. Start rubbing the alcohol into the gum. This can take a few minutes to start working. Keep in mind that it’s okay if the rubbing alcohol contacts the clothing — it won’t stain.
  3. Once the gum has started to loosen, use a butter knife to gently scrape it from the fabric.
  4. Launder as normal.

Duct Tape

  1. Cut off a piece of duct tape that’s big enough to cover the size of the gum.
  2. Press the duct tape onto the gum. Try to avoid placing it onto the fabric as best as you can.
  3. Lift the duct tape and the gum will come with it.
  4. Repeat until the gum is gone.
  5. Use a stain remover if necessary and launder as normal.

Boiling the Clothes

  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to the boil.
  2. Submerge the gum affected area of the garment into the water. We recommend wearing protective gloves so you don’t burn yourself.
  3. While the garment is submerged, use a butter knife to scrape off the gum.
  4. Keep the garment under the water. Use an old toothbrush to scrape off the extra gum residue.
  5. Air dry the garment.
  6. Repeat if necessary.
  7. If not, launder as normal.

Using Canned Air

  1. Spray canned air onto the chewing gum until it hardens.
  2. Use a butter knife or the edge of a credit card to scrape the gum from the clothing.
  3. Launder as normal.

With Hairspray

  1. Spray a little bit of hairspray onto the gum until it hardens.
  2. Scrape it off with a butter knife. It might crack and break, but that’s okay. As long as it comes off.
  3. Continue until all the gum is off.
  4. Launder as normal.

How to Get Gum Out of Delicate Clothing

If you have gum on delicate clothes such as lace, wool or cashmere, use a tiny bit of rubbing alcohol. Instead of soaking a sponge or cloth, use a Q-tip and carefully dab it over the gum. Gently peel it off with the back of a spoon or another dull item.

How to Get Gum Out of Clothes After Washing and Drying

If you’ve only noticed chewing gum in your clothes after washing and drying the garments, fear not. You can still remove it. It will just be a bit harder.

We recommend the freezer method. This will harden the gum and it should be pretty simple to remove.

However, the ironing method also works wonders! Just have a little bit of patience, as it can take longer since the gum is now set in.

Have a stain remover at the ready to remove any stains on the garment that have appeared from the gum.

Launder as normal afterwards. Don’t dry the garment unless the gum stains are definitely gone.

Other Cleaning Products for Removing Gum From Clothes

If you want a store-bought product that has proven effective at removing gum from clothes, here’s our comprehensive list.

1. Goo Gone

Goo Gone Original - 2 Ounce - Surface Safe Adhesive Remover Safely Removes Stickers Labels Decals Residue Tape Chewing Gum Grease Tar
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Goo Gone effectively removes sticky messes, whether that’s from crayons, tree sap or, of course, gum. Simply apply the product to the gum. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then scrape off the gum with a butterknife. Launder as normal.

2. Adhesive Remover Spray

Duck Brand 527263 Adhesive Remover 5.45-Ounce Bottle with Scraper Cap,Multicolor
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Many adhesive remover sprays, such as the Duck Adhesive Remover, work for gum, too. Always double check the manufacturer’s advice around gum and whether it’s safe to use on clothing. Spray onto the gum, let it sit for a few minutes, then scrape off with the included scraper or a butter knife.

3. WD-40

WD-40 Multi-Use Product with SMART STRAW SPRAYS 2 WAYS, 8 OZ [3-PACK]
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WD-40 can remove gum and other sticky residue from a multitude of surfaces, including clothes. Simply spray it onto the affected area, let it sit for a couple of minutes, then scrape the gum off with a butter knife.

4. Lanacane

Lanacane Maximum Strength Anti-itch Cream, 1 oz., 2in1 Fast Acting Itch Relief and Kills Germs
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Lanacane contains ingredients, such as alcohol and glycerin, which can help to loosen the gum from fabric. Apply it to the gum and let it sit for one minute. Scrape the gum off with a butter knife.

We recommend testing the Lanacane in an inconspicuous area of your clothing first, to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage.

5. Zippo Lighter Fluid

Zippo 12FC Lighter Fluid, 12 Ounce
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Rub a little bit of lighter fluid onto the gum. Make sure to wear protective gloves, and keep the garment away from fire. Scrub the gum with a toothbrush to saturate the lighter fluid into it. Then scrape off the gum with a butterknife. Put the garment in the washing machine by itself with detergent and warm water. Dry as normal if the stain has gone.


Goodbye Gum

Getting gum in your clothing is seriously annoying. Whether you sat on it at the park, or a child thought it would be funny to stick gum to your jeans, it can make or break your day.

Thankfully, with these top methods for getting gum out of clothes, there’s no reason to panic. Simply choose your preferred method, or try a store-bought product, and watch the gum fade away in no time.

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a 20-something freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. Beth firmly believes that a tidy house is a tidy mind. She is always looking for new ways to sustainably clean and tidy her house, that's kind on the environment but effective in the house, too!
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