Everybody has been there; they don’t know how but there’s gum stuck to their pants, maybe they sat on a public seat without checking, or leaned against a railing without noticing. Trying to remove chewing gum from clothes without the proper technique can cause a bigger mess, and gum doesn’t yield to washing machines either. If you find yourself in this sticky situation, continue reading to learn how to get chewing gum off clothes.
Simple Ways to Remove Chewing Gum From Clothes at Home
There are numerous methods of getting rid of chewing gum on clothes without too much work or messing up the fabric. Here are 10 tips that work:
1. Freeze Remove Using Your Refrigerator
Chewing gums contain special polymers that react to changes in temperature quickly and harden when they are cooled. This can be used to remove them from fabrics into which they are not too deeply mashed. Although this method can be used with all clothing items, it’s best to use this method to remove gum stuck to smoother fabrics.
- Take the clothing and seal it securely inside a freezer bag. Ensure there’s enough air inside the bag, so the gum doesn’t stick to the freezer bag.
- Seal this freezer bag securely and keep it in the freezer for a few hours.
- Remove the clothing from the freezer and get to work on the gum immediately.
- Using your fingernails, try to pull off the gum gently and remove as much as you can.
- A blunt knife or wedge can also do the trick to remove the gum.
- Since it is frozen, it should de-bond from the fabric quickly. Machine wash it afterwards.
- Alternatively, ice cubes can be used to freeze just the gum and the area around it to peel it off if you need to get the job done quickly.
2. Iron Removing the Gum
It is also possible to remove chewing gum from clothes with iron as the gum responds just as well to heating as it does to cooling. Heating works by making the chewing gum soft and pliable so that it can be easily scraped off. However, that is only half of the trick. To remove them completely, another ingredient such as a pain relief rub can be used to loosen it from the fabric. As recommended by the International Chewing Gum Association, deep-heat rub or Bengay work effectively to de-bond by dissolving the gum base.
- Before you begin, evenly spread a small amount of Bengay or deep heat rub on the opposite side of the gum on the cloth.
- Get a piece of cardboard, preferably with a rough surface.
- Place the gum side of the cloth on the cardboard such that the gum sticks to the cardboard.
- Using a medium heat setting, iron all over the opposite the side of the gum.
- The heat should soften the chewing gum and transfer it to the cardboard.
- Repeat the procedure if there is still any residue left.
- Wash it with a detergent afterwards to remove the rub.
3. Hot Blast Removing the Gum
When the chewing gum has adhered strongly to the cloth garment or has been stuck for a long time, you may have to use a little extra heat and harsher method to soften and remove it. Hairdryers and hot steam work well in such instances.
- Apply a little bit of Bengay or deep heat rub to the opposite side of the chewing gum.
- Use a hair dryer set to hot to blow over the gum to soften it.
- Use your finger nails or a blunt knife to peel the chewing gum off.
- Alternatively, you can use a source of hot steam such as a kettle or steam vaporiser to do the same.
4. Other Hot Liquids
When you are removing chewing gum from jeans that is stuck deeply to the fabric, a harsher treatment can be used as jeans quite a resilient material. Boiling water or warm vinegar are effective.
- Boil some water in a vessel and dip the chewing gum affected area of the pants into the boiling water.
- Allow it to soften for a while and use a toothbrush to scrape away the gooey chewing gum.
- Scrape away the soft gum with a toothbrush and repeat until all of it is out.
- The same can be done with warm vinegar.
5. Using Peanut Butter to Remove Gum
Using peanut butter is a good way to remove gum from clothes as some of the oils present in the butter helps loosen up the gum and peel off easily. It should be done quickly, however, to avoid staining the cloth.
- Scoop a gob of peanut butter in a spoon and smear it all over the chewing gum.
- Apply thoroughly over the gum and a little around it as well.
- Allow it to sit on the gum for about a minute to do its thing, but not too long as it would stain the cloth.
- With a butter knife, scrape off the gum quickly.
- Use a stain remover to remove the peanut butter traces.
6. Using Coconut Oil
Coconut oil works well in removing chewing gum stuck to synthetic fabrics. It helps to soften the gum and to release it from the cloth fibres.
- Pour one or two tablespoons of coconut oil into a cup.
- Heat this oil until it is hot, but not actually boiling.
- Dip the gum-stained spot of the cloth into the warm oil.
- Use a toothbrush to scrape off the softened chewing gum.
- Repeat until you’re able to scrape all the gum off.
- Scrub the fabric until all traces of gum is removed and air dry the garment.
- Wash it using warm water and detergent to remove the coconut oil.
7. Remove With Liquid Laundry Soap
Liquid laundry soaps also work well to remove chewing gum from clothes. They are a bit labour intensive but can get the job done well.
- Apply liquid laundry detergent all over the chewing gum and the area around it.
- Work the liquid into the gum using a toothbrush, so it breaks up the chewing gum into little crumbs.
- Scrape away the gum with a blunt knife and use more liquid if you have to.
- Wash the garment as usual after all the gum is out.
8. Removing With Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is a solvent that dissolves the gum base. It works very well with delicate fabrics where you can’t use the other methods.
- Using a little sponge apply a little rubbing alcohol all over the gum.
- Scrub the gum gently with the sponge and wait for a few minutes for it to start working.
- Using a blunt knife, scrape away the gum which will come off with little effort.
- Wash the garment with normal detergent to finish up.
9. Removing Using Petrol or Lighter Fluid
Petrol and lighter fluid are powerful organic solvents and therefore should only be used to remove the most stubborn of gum stuck to fabrics that are not too delicate. They are also highly flammable and give off vapours that can cause lightheadedness when inhaled, therefore, use them with caution.
- Pour some petrol into a sponge or piece of cloth.
- Apply the solvent all over the gum and allow it to dissolve the gum base.
- Use a blunt knife to scrape away the gum which comes off easily.
- When using lighter fluid, apply some of it to the back side of the fabric.
- Use a blunt knife to scrape away the gum.
- Wash with detergent to remove any leftover residue and odour.
10. Removing Using Duct Tape
Duct tape is a quick-fix method to remove gum when you’re on the move. Since it’s available everywhere, it shouldn’t be hard to source a strip.
- Take the sticky side of the duct tape strip and press firmly into the chewing gum.
- Get as much gum to stick to it as possible.
- Avoid sticking the tape to the cloth, or you will have a tougher time getting it off.
- Peel the tape off, and the gum comes off with it.
- Repeat if needed to remove any leftover gum.
Successfully removing chewing gum stuck to your clothes depends on what type of fabric it is and what method is being used. With some patience and care, you can work the gum out of any fabric.