Chewing gum can be one of the toughest things to get out of fabric, hair, and other places it doesn’t belong. Because gum is so sticky, you can’t just scrape it away or pick it out of fibers or hair like some other messes. The easiest way to get gum out of anything is to change its composition from a sticky goo to something more manageable—using things you already have around the house.
From how to get gum out of clothing to how to get gum out of hair, here are field-tested tips for getting stuck-on gum unstuck.
How to Get Gum Out of Clothing
Ice, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and even your iron are all proven ways to remove gum from clothing. Whenever you get a sticky gum stain on your clothes, use these tips to save the day. And if you need to know how to get gum off shoes, these tips work just as well on sneakers as they do shirts.
Remove Gum From Clothes with Ice
Put a freezer pack or sandwich bag filled with ice on the gum for 20 minutes. Once the gum has hardened, scrape it off using a plastic putty knife and pick out the remaining gum with your fingers. If any gum remains, use some dish soap to scrub it with a toothbrush, then rinse the stain and let it air dry.
Use an Iron to Get Gum Out of Clothing
Place your clothing gum-side down on a piece of cardboard. Use your iron on medium heat and press the iron down on the area with the gum. Don’t move the iron around or you could cause the stain to spread. Once the gum heats up and becomes elastic, you can remove the iron. The gum will then easily transfer to the cardboard.
Get Rid of Gum With Vinegar
Distilled white vinegar is a safe, natural cleaner, disinfectant, and degreaser you can use for so many chores, including gum removal. Put a bowl of distilled white vinegar in your microwave and heat it until it’s warm. Dip a toothbrush into the warm vinegar and use it to work the vinegar into the gum until it starts to loosen from the fabric. Pull the gum out with your hands. You may need to use a plastic scraper to pick out what’s left, but it will be a lot easier after using the vinegar.
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Loosen Stuck On Gum With Rubbing Alcohol
Dab rubbing alcohol onto the gum until it’s soaked. When the alcohol dries, press a strip of duct tape onto the gum and pull it off. Remove any remaining gum and rinse the stained area with warm water.
How to Get Gum Out Of Carpet
Getting gum stuck on your clothes is one thing, but when it sticks to your carpet, there are many more fabric fibers to stick to. That means you may have to try several methods to get the gum out and you can start with these:
Remove Gum From Carpet Using Ice
Put some ice cubes or a freezer pack on the gum until it hardens, then scrape away as much as you can with a dull butter knife. Use a citrus cleaner to blot up any remaining gum. Once the gum is out, cover the damp area with a clean cloth to soak up excess moisture.
Get Rid of Gum on Carpet With Your Hair Dryer
Plug in your hair dryer and use a medium heat setting to begin. Heat the gum and pay close attention so you don’t melt the carpet fibers. When the gum begins to melt, use a plastic sandwich bag to remove it. The gum should stick easily to the plastic bag and loosen its hold on your carpet. Continue heating the gum and removing it until the stain is no longer visible.
Use WD-40 to Remove Gum Stuck on Carpet
We’re not big fans of the harsh chemicals in many commercial products, but sometimes you have to use more firepower to get gum out of carpeting. Grab some WD-40, a toothbrush, dish soap, water, and a microfiber cloth. Spray the WD-40 on the gum and let it sit for five minutes. Use the toothbrush to scrub away the dissolved gum and repeat as needed. When finished, put the soap and water on your microfiber cloth to clean and remove any residue.
How to Get Gum Out Of Fabric and Upholstery
If you have sofas, chairs, and other upholstered furniture in your home, you already know how hard they can be to keep clean. If you have kids, or you just chew a lot of gum, you will inevitably have to learn how to get gum out of fabric. Here’s how to do it without ruining your beautiful upholstery:
Ice Down Your Upholstery
Use ice cubes if you must, but an ice pack or ice in a plastic bag will keep the fabric from getting too wet. Place the ice on the gum until it hardens, then pry it up with a dull butter knife. Repeat until the gum is gone. Because upholstery is made with so many different fabrics, it’s best to check the care label for the recommended way to clean any remaining stain.
Freeze Your Fabric
This method is pretty much like the one above, but it can be especially handy if gum is stuck to more than one spot on removable cushion and pillow covers. Remove the covering with the gum on it and put it in your freezer. Wait 30 minutes, pull out your frozen cushion cover, and start prying up that gum.
Skip the Ice, But Not the Cold
One more “cool” way to remove gum from upholstery is to use a can of compressed air. This method is perfect for silk and other delicate fabrics that are susceptible to water stains. Spray the gum until it hardens and then break off pieces to remove them. Use your vacuum and brush attachment to remove the final pieces. Check the label or consider a professional service if the fabric is still stained.
How to Get Gum Out of Hair
If you or your children have ever gotten gum in your hair, you know how terrifying the thought of an emergency haircut can be. But don’t panic just yet! When you need to know how to get gum out of hair, skip the scissors and try these remedies instead:
Because peanut butter is oily, it can neutralize the stickiness in gum and make it much easier to remove from hair. You’ll need a few towels for this method because there’s no way you’re not going to make a mess. Isolate the gum-stuck hair and smother it in peanut butter from roots to tips. Wait five minutes, then use a comb to gently pull the gum away from the hair.
The acid in vinegar breaks the chemical bond between the gum and the hair, making the gum easy to remove. Soak the affected area with vinegar, hold your nose, and wait at least five minutes. When you see the gum has loosened up, use a comb to remove it.
This method takes a little more precision than the two above, but it might not be as messy. All you need is some vegetable oil and cotton swabs. Isolate the area where the gum is stuck and dab at it with oil-soaked cotton swabs. The gum will quickly begin to loosen. You should be able to lift and remove it with your cotton swab, just make sure you switch to fresh swabs frequently. It may take a while, but if you keep at it a little bit of gum at a time, you may be surprised at just how well it works.
Now go wash that hair!
Want to learn how to clean other sticky messes and get stains out of clothes, carpet, and mattresses? Check out our handy guides for removing all kinds of things from upholstery, floors, and more. When you need help around the house, you can always count on The Maids for professional cleaning advice and convenient housekeeping services. Find out more today when you get your free estimate.