I think my son has a superpower. He has this ability to get gum stuck in places where it is impossible to. I found chewing gum stuck in his jeans pockets, jumpers, hair, on the carpet, under my fabric couch and once, even on his ceiling. I don’t know why or how he does what he does. It is a complete mystery.
Since I cannot convince him to dispose of his gum in a civilized manner, I have had to master various techniques to get gum out of clothes. As a result, I now know how to clean gum from all sorts of surfaces, using various methods. I am happy to share my ways with you.
With these tips and tricks, you too won’t have to struggle with removing bubble gum out of clothes. Before you proceed with any of the techniques prescribed below, consider the following factors.
- Many people are allergic to cleaning agents. If you have contact dermatitis or simply sensitive skin, proceed with caution. Consider wearing rubber gloves while cleaning. Otherwise, you may find yourself suffering from skin problems like rashes, allergies or even serious conditions like eczema.
- Know your fabric. Not all cleaning agents are suitable for all kinds of fabrics. If you do not choose your cleaning agent with caution, you might end up discoloring or damaging your fabric.
Five Ways To Get Gum Out Of Clothes
There are multiple procedures you can follow to get gum out of clothes. However, before you do so, it is a good idea to pick off as much gum as you can before proceeding. This will make your fabric easier to clean and minimize staining.
You should also consider pre-treating the area with a cleaning spray or simply dish soap. This will make the gum come out more easily.
After you are prepared to clean, you can follow any of the following procedures.
Freezing gum to harden it is one of the most effective ways to get gum out of clothes. However, this technique will work only if the gum is not stuck to your fabric too hard. If you are dealing with a situation where the gum is completely mashed to the fabric, do not use this technique. The gum may get stuck even more stubbornly.
To remove gum from clothes using ice, follow these steps.
- Cover the gum with a few ice cubes or a freezer pack for 15-20 minutes.
- When the gum is hardened, scrape it off using a dull knife. It will come off easily.
Using ice cubes directly on the gum often results in the ice melting and wetting your fabric. If you do not want that, you can use this hack instead.
- Put the cloth with gum stuck on it in a ziplock bag. Ensure that there is some gap between the gum and the surface of the ziplock bag.
- Put the ziplock bag in the freezer and wait for one hour.
- When you take out your fabric from the freezer, the gum should be hardened well. Now scrape it off gently using a dull knife.
Both of these hacks are equally effective. They act on the same principle that gum is made of polymers that react to temperature changes fast. You can use any of the above techniques. The results will be the same.
Remove Gum By Ironing
Just like the polymers in gum respond to cold, they also respond to heat. Ironing, therefore, is another way of getting chewing gum out of clothes. For this technique, follow these steps.
- Place cardboard on top of your ironing board. This is where the gum will be transferred.
- Place your fabric on the cupboard so that the gum touches the cardboard.
- Iron your cloth so that the gum melts and transfers on the cardboard.
- After the gum has melted and transferred, wash your cloth with liquid detergent. The gum should be gone and there should be no residue.
Use Distilled Vinegar To Soften The Gum
Distilled vinegar works wonders when it comes to removing gum from clothes. Since vinegar is an acidic substance, it immediately affects the consistency of the gum. All you need to do is pour vinegar into a small bowl, dip a toothbrush in it and rub it on the gum until it softens and comes out. The great part of using vinegar is that it makes the gum lose its hardness, but does not restore its stickiness. So, when you use vinegar on gum, the gum will reach a rubber-like consistency. It will peel off very easily.
You can also use the “volcano effect” if simple vinegar does not work. You can do it by mixing vinegar with baking soda.
The volcano effect works because vinegar is acidic while baking soda is a base. When mixed, an acid-base reaction occurs. This reaction almost dissolves the gum. Follow these steps to use the volcano effect to get gum out of clothes.
- Dip a toothbrush in the vinegar and rub it on your fabric.
- When the vinegar sets in, add a few pinches of baking soda. You will immediately notice some bubbling.
- When the bubbling stops, use a spatula to scrape off the gum from your cloth.
- Wash the cloth with liquid soap and follow up with a fabric conditioner. Voila! Your cloth should look good as new.
Use Oil To Remove Gum
Got gum stuck on your carpet or upholstery? Do not panic. You can easily clean it using oil. You can also use creamy peanut butter. This method also works if you are looking to remove gum from your hair without damaging it. To use this method, follow these steps.
- Cover the gum with sunflower oil, olive oil, or creamy peanut butter. It will stiffen the gum and make it much less sticky.
- Wait for 15-20 minutes and allow the product to do its work.
- After the wait is over, peel off the gum.
- Wash the product or your hair to remove excess oil.
Hairspray hardens gum like magic and makes it lose its stickiness. If you are a laid-back person, this method is perfect for you. However, do not use it on light-colored clothing since there might be some staining.
For this method, all you need to do is follow these steps.
- Cover the gum completely with hairspray. It should harden the gum pretty fast.
- After the gum is hardened, use a spatula or a credit card to scrape it off in one swift motion.
- To make sure that there is no residue, wash your cloth once again with liquid laundry soap.
Gum Stain Removal Tips
If you follow any of the above steps, you should be able to remove gum from clothes successfully. However, cleaning gum stains is quite another matter. Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. You can use any of the methods below to remove gum stains.
- Wash With Soap And Water
Wash your gum stained clothes in lukewarm water with a few drops of liquid soap. Do not use cold water. Warm water will disintegrate the residues and make it much easier for the stain to come out.
- Use A Vacuum Cleaner
If you have gum stains stuck on your carpet, using a vacuum cleaner is the easiest way to get it out. First, scrape the surface gently with a spatula so that the gum is not stuck to the carpet. Once done, run a vacuum cleaner over your carpet. The stain should be gone.
- Salt It
If you have a piece of clothing which has a coloured stain from a gum, using salt to remove it is the best method to remove the stain. For this method, wet the stained portion of the cloth with warm water. Next, cover the stain with some salt. Next, run lukewarm water over the stain until the water runs clear. This should remove the stain effectively.
- Use Gasoline Or Lighter Fuel
Be very careful while following this method since you will be dealing with flammable and hazardous fluids. Cover the stain with gasoline or lighter fluid. Wait for a few minutes and wash the cloth thoroughly. Make sure that there is no fluid left on your fabric. It might irritate your skin.
If you follow these tips, tricks, and hacks, you should be able to remove gum from your clothes with no trouble at all. No matter how sticky and stubborn the gum is, you will be able to remove it with a bit of effort.
However, if you have gum stuck on an expensive piece of clothing, think twice before trying a new method to remove the gum. You may end up staining or damaging it. It is better to hire a professional to clean it instead.