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5 of the Easiest Methods to Get Gum Out of Clothes

woman pulling off white chewing gum from jeans

For whatever clumsy or unfortunate reason that you ended up with gum on your clothes, there is no need to panic! Yes, it’s a real ‘sticky situation’, but it needn’t be the end of a piece of clothing that you love. There are actually quite a few ways to remove chewing gum from clothes without damaging the fabric in the process. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of these proper gum removal methods and therefore, either give up on the article of clothing, or simply resort to cleaning techniques that ruin the piece altogether. 

Today, Maid For You is coming to your aid with 5 surefire ways to get gum out of clothing! In fact, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how simple the task really is. All you need is a little patience, some basic household items, and an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide. Well, that’s exactly what we are sharing with you below! Read on.

1. Rubbing Alcohol

woman removing dried white chewing gum from navy blue pants

STEPS:

  • Dampen a clean sponge with a small amount of rubbing alcohol (preferably 70% isopropyl alcohol).
  • Place it over the gum, and gently press down for 30 seconds to break down the adhesive.
  • While holding the sponge in place, try to gently peel off the gum. Depending on the resistance, you might need to use more rubbing alcohol (especially to soak the underneath of the gum as it lifts up).
  • After patiently following the steps above, use a plastic spoon or butter knife to gently scrape off any remaining bits of gum.
  • Apply a fabric-appropriate stain remover to the affected area (follow the instructions on the label), and then wash the clothing item as you normally would.

2. White Vinegar

white chewing gum stuck on the back pocket of navy blue denim pants

STEPS:

  • In a pot, mix 1 part water to 2 parts white vinegar, and heat it until it is just hot, not boiling hot.
  • Using a dropper or teaspoon, soak the gum with the heated water-vinegar solution, and let it sit for 1-2 minutes.
  • Dampen the bristles of a clean medium-hard toothbrush in the solution, and clean off the gum by brushing upwards from the bottom of the piece. The heated vinegar should harden the gum and break down the adhesive, thus making it possible to remove the gum slowly but effectively.
  • If needed, clean off the brush and apply more (heated) water-vinegar until the chewing gum comes out completely.
  • Finally, apply a stain remover to the area and machine-wash the clothing item.

NOTE: Since vinegar has a rather strong smell, it might take more than one wash to eliminate the odour from your clothing. It is also advisable to wash the item separately to prevent spreading the vinegar smell to other fabrics.

3. Freezing

two chewing gum tablets on ice cubes

STEPS:

  • Before you place the clothing item in the freezer, fold it neatly while keeping the gum exposed at the top; then cover it with a cup or small plastic container. Next, place the folded piece of clothing (with the cup/container over it) into a Ziploc bag; seal it properly, and put it in the freezer.
  • After a few hours, check if the gum has hardened completely. Only when it is solidified should you move on to the next step.
  • Take the clothing article out of the bag and immediately peel it off with a putty knife or butter knife. Do this gently to avoid damaging the fabric.
  • It is important to work as fast as possible because the gum will begin to soften at room temperature. If you are unable to remove the whole piece of gum in one go, place it back into the freezer and try again once it is frozen.
  • After the chewing gum has been removed, use a stain remover over the area (if needed), and machine-wash the item thereafter.

4. Hairspray

two gray bottles of hairspray in front of a white background

STEPS:

  • Fold the clothing, and place it flat down on a table or flat surface with the gum facing up. 
  • Take an approximate measurement of the gum and then cut out a small hole (as per the dimensions) in a piece of cardboard that is large enough to cover the folded clothing item. 
  • Position the cardboard in a way that allows the gum to poke through the hole (even 70% of exposure will suffice). Make sure that none of the fabric is exposed as hairspray can leave stains.
  • With everything in place, spray the gum with hairspray while holding it approximately 1 foot away. 2-3 spritzes and about 1 minute of sitting time are generally all it takes to harden chewing gum. 
  • Using a butter knife or plastic spoon, peel off the gum from the fabric. If the hairspray has hardened the gum completely, it will break off in bits. 
  • As pieces of the chewing gum are removed from your clothing, some of the freshly exposed gum may be soft and sticky which will need to be sprayed again as explained in step #4. 
  • Gently scrape off remnants of the gum before applying a stain remover. Finish off by washing the fabric in a regular wash cycle. 

5. Label Remover

white chewing gum on a blue scarf

STEPS:

  • Since there are specially-formulated label removers for fabrics, the chewing gum can be sprayed properly and generously without missing any part of it. 
  • Wait for a few minutes, then coat the gum in talcum powder so that it will not be sticky to touch.
  • Dust some talcum powder over a butter knife and use it to peel off the gum. As it lifts and more sticky gum is exposed, spray it with the label remover, and continue peeling off the gum.
  • Be sure to use talcum powder and the spray, as and when needed for best results.
  • Finish off by using an appropriate stain remover on the affected area before washing the clothing item.

It’s important to note that no one should be discouraged if one of these methods don’t seem to be working on a stubborn or old piece of gum stuck to clothing; instead, simply move on to the next method and your sticky situation is sure to disappear!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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