I’ll never forget falling asleep in the back seat of the car when I was a kid. I had been chewing gum.
When we got home, it was no longer in my mouth. Sadly, I didn’t notice until I was in the house and it was all over the arm of my sweatshirt, folded into the creases, deep within its fibers.
How this happened still eludes me, but the daggers that replaced my mother’s eyes that afternoon will forever haunt my memories. Unfortunately, Google wasn’t readily available to walk her through how to get gum out of clothes back in those days. Lucky for you, dear reader, it is now.
If you find yourself in this predicament, we’ve got the answers to the momentary hell that is finding chewing gum stuck on a garment and the subsequent undertaking of its removal. But yes, it is possible to get rid of without destroying your clothing.
Here are three easy ways to remove those sticky gum stains!
How to Remove Gum From Clothing: A Heated Approach
OK, so removing gum from clothes is not an intuitive process because you can’t just throw your garment in the wash. In fact, that’s the last thing you should do. Grabbing something to scrape it off with might sound like it would do the trick, but it’s just not that simple.
Getting chewing gum on clothes is truly the pits. We’ve identified three different and effective gum removal methods for you to choose from depending on the approach that suits you. Let’s start hot, because why not.
Here’s what you’ll need to remove chewing gum:
- A hairdryer
- A disposable object with a hard edge (like an old credit card or a butter knife)
- A plastic bag (like a ziploc, bonus points if you’re reusing it)
- A topical analgesic containing methyl salicylate (such as Bengay)
- Laundry detergent
Here’s how to remove gum from clothing using heat:
- Heat the gum with your hair dryer until it’s super supple.
- Scrape it off with a disposable knife or old credit card. This technique should get the big chunk out.
- Saturate the remainder of the stain in the pain reliever rub. The active ingredient — methyl salicylate — will dissolve the sticky gum while simultaneously making it adhere to the plastic bag.
- On that note: put your hand in the plastic bag and start rubbing the stained area, picking the gum residue out of the fabric with it.
- Once the stain is all gone, launder the garment as you normally would with your detergent of choice.
How to Remove Gum From Clothing: Use the Freezer
The second way to remove a gum stain from your clothes is to freeze it. This method is probably the most widespread, fabric-friendly approach (that’s what my mom did when I had that little mishap I mentioned earlier). While you might have heard of this method, chances are you don’t know the specifics.
Allow us. Here’s how to remove gum from clothing by freezing it.
What you’ll need:
- A freezer (you could also use ice cubes if you have no room in your freezer)
- An object with a hard edge (like an old credit card or dull knife)
Here are the steps:
- Place your garment in the freezer (ensuring the stain doesn’t touch anything) and leave it in for two hours or until it’s hard as a rock. If you don’t have room in your freezer, you can grab a couple of ice cubes and manually freeze the gum chunk. Make sure it’s very hard before you start the stain removal process.
- Take your garment out of the freezer and lay it on a flat surface.
- Scrape the gum gingerly with your hard-edged object (you can use an old credit card, a disposable knife or spoon, or even a regular metal utensil because the gum is frozen and won’t melt off on it). Make sure to work quickly enough so the gum doesn’t soften. If you’re working with a delicate fabric that requires you to be slow and more gentle, you may keep a couple of ice cubes handy to refreeze the gum as you’re scraping.
- Repeat the freezing process if gum residue remains, or try the next method listed below.
How to Remove Gum From Clothing: Using Household Items
If you tried the heat or the freezing method and still have pesky gum residue (it’s a tenacious stain!), there are also a variety of household items that will do the trick. Here are some other techniques for getting gum out of fabric with products you probably already have in your home:
Grab a lemon and squeeze the juice out right onto the chewing gum stain to soak it. Scrape the gum with an old credit card or disposable knife. Wash the stain with water immediately after you’re done and wash with your detergent of choice.
Heat up a small bowl of white vinegar for one minute in the microwave and dip the gum spot in the hot vinegar. Grab an old toothbrush or scrubber sponge and gently rub to remove the gum. Wash as usual afterwards.
Douse your gum spot with hairspray and scrape it off with a used credit card or disposable utensil. Rinse with water and launder as usual afterwards.
Scoop a glob of mayo onto the gum and slowly rub it in. Grab an old toothbrush or scrubber sponge and gently rub the spot to remove the stain. Rinse with water and launder as usual.
Spray the gum area with the product and wait thirty minutes. Grab your old credit card or disposable knife again and scrape the gum off. Spray more WD-40 if needed while scraping. Rinse the spot thoroughly when you’re done and launder as usual.
Gummy State of Affairs No More
Chewing gum is probably one of the trickiest, most stubborn substances you can ever get caught in your clothes. It’s unrelenting and merciless. But the removal methods outlined here, along with the various easily accessible products and a few minutes of your time, will help you conquer.
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