How to Get Gum Out of Clothes

Gum and clothing do not mix. That much is obvious. Unfortunately, despite their natural incompatibility, getting them separated can be very irritating. To help, here are 11 effective methods that you can try to get gum out of clothing safely and successfully. 

Every one of the following methods uses only household products, making it both convenient and inexpensive. Even when you are outside you may have some of these items on your person.

Will Gum Survive a Wash Cycle?

It is advised that you do not attempt to throw the clothing directly into the wash after finding gum stuck to it. It can cause the gum to be further integrated into the clothing. This is because the hot water melts the gum and creates a sticky mess inside of the washing machine.

Remove as much of the gum as you can using these tried and tested methods. You will receive guidance on whether or not it is safe to put the garment into the washing machine. 

1 Detergent

To utilize this method, first pour laundry detergent over the gum. Let it soak and then use a toothbrush to rub the detergent into the affected area. 

Afterwards, , simply take a butter knife and scrape the gum from the clothing. Using your fingernails, you can remove the surplus gum from the cloth. Once all traces of gum have been entirely removed, you can wash as normal. If you wish, it might even be beneficial to use stain remover.

2 Toothpaste

To use toothpaste as a method of removing gum from clothing, you must first add a drop of it to the affected area. Then use an object with a flat surface to press down the toothpaste and leave it to dry.

Once it has completely dried, the gum should be firm and the toothpaste should have completely removed its stickiness. At this point, you can then peel off the gum and wash the clothing as normal.

3 Vinegar

For this method you first need to pour distilled white vinegar into a small bowl. The bowl should then be heated, preferably place it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Take care before removing it as the bowl may be hot.

Afterwards, take a toothbrush, dip it in the heated vinegar and brush it over the gum. It is important to note that the vinegar must be hot when you attempt this. Eventually the gum will come straight off the garment and then you are free to add it to the laundry, using stain remover if needed.

4 Ironing

Place a piece of cardboard onto an ironing board and put the gum-covered garment over it. The gum must be faced down so it touches the cardboard. Turn on your iron and set it to medium heat. Then iron over the fabric. When you are ironing the fabric, the gum should have easily shifted over to the cardboard.

Continue ironing until the gum has been completely removed, it may be necessary to move the cardboard around so that the gum can stick onto different parts. Once you have removed the gum, you can wash as normal.

Do keep in mind that you should not dry clothing unless all pieces of gum and all stains have been removed entirely. If you do end up doing so, the gum can become permanently stuck.

5 Peanut Butter

Coat the gum with a generous amount of peanut butter; however, make sure that you do not get as much over the garment. To ensure that the gum loses its sticky quality, leave it for a few minutes. As before, you then use a butter knife to scrape off the gum and wash the clothing as normal. Use a stain remover if needed.

Be cautious with this method as peanut butter has been known to leave an oily stain on clothing. Make sure you test it first in a concealed area, or better yet use oil-free peanut butter.

6 Freezing

This method involves freezing the soiled cloth. Fold the clothing such that the gum is facing outward. Then place it inside a plastic bag. Make sure that the gum is not sticking onto the bag. 

The next step is to place the bag in the freezer for a minimum of two hours, or at least until the gum has already frozen. Afterward, it is a simple case of removing the item from the freezer and using a butter knife to scrape the gum away.

Ensure that the gum is completely frozen before you attempt to scrape it as it could easily stick to the garments again.

7 Alcohol

You can use rubbing alcohol to remove gum. Pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto a dishcloth or tablecloth and continue rubbing until the gum starts to unstick from the fabric. Once the gum has become unstuck, take a butter knife and scrape the gum away.

Bear in mind that this could take a few minutes of scrubbing until it starts to work. 

8 Duct Tape

Get a piece of duct tape large enough to cover the gum in its entirety. Press down on the gum; however, try to make sure that it is not placed over the clothing directly.

Simply lift the tape and parts of the gum should be stuck onto it. Repeat this process until there is no longer any gum left on the fabric.

Once you have finished, you can wash the clothing as normal and if needed, use a stain remover.

9 Boiling the fabric

For this method it is advised that you use protective gloves to prevent burns.

Take a pot large enough to hold the clothing and fill it with water. Bring the water to a boil and submerge the part of the garment that is covered in gum. When it is submerged, scrape as much of the gum away as possible using a butter knife. 

You can then use a toothbrush to remove the excess gum while it is still under hot water. Once everything has been removed, let the clothing air dry. You may need to repeat this process. If not, you can wash as normal.

10 Canned Air

Canned air can be sprayed directly onto the affected section of clothing. This will cause it to eventually harden, enabling you to use a butter knife to scrape it away from the fabric.

Once you’ve remove all gum residue, wash the clothing as normal.

11 Hairspray

Similar to canned air, spraying hairspray can cause the gum to harden. You can then use a butter knife or a piece of cardboard to remove the gum directly. As with the other methods, wash as normal.

How to Remove Gum from Delicate Clothing

Clothing can be made out of many different materials. Certain clothes are made from delicate materials such as cashmere, wool, or even lace. For these types of fabrics, you can use a minute amount of rubbing alcohol. 

Use a Q-tip to gently pat the rubbing alcohol over the gum and then use the back of a spoon to peel it away.

How to Remove Gum After Clothing has Already Been Washed and Dried

Sometimes you might only notice the gum after having washed and dried the clothing it is stuck to. It will be more difficult to remove but it is still possible. 

Out of the 11 methods, it is recommend that you freeze the clothing as instructed in option number six. This will cause the gum to harden and make it much easier to scrape away.

As an alternative, ironing on top of a piece of cardboard (option number four) can also be effective. However, this method might take slightly longer due to the fact that the gum already set after being dried.

It is likely that after washing and drying a garment, you will need a stain remover. Use as needed and then wash as normal. Remember that you should not dry the clothing until all of the stains have been removed entirely.

Cleaning Products for Removing Gum

There are certain products that have been proven to be successful in removing gum from clothing. Here we will cover our selection of the more effective products.

Goo Gone Original

To completely remove sticky, unpleasant messes you can use Goo Gone Original. It is not only effective on gum but it can also work against residue left from tree sap and even crayons.

Using this product is simple. You need to apply it directly onto the soiled area and let it soak for about 10 minutes. Once the area has been soaked, use a butter knife to scrape away the gum and wash as normal.

Adhesive Remover Spray

You will need to check the manufacturer’s instructions first to make sure that it is safe to use this product on clothing. Many different types of adhesive remover sprays can remove gum, including the Duck Adhesive Remover. 

Spray onto the gum. Leave it alone for a few minutes and then use a butter knife to scrape it away.

WD-40 Multi-Use

WD-40 has proven to be incredibly effective at removing sticky residue from many surfaces, including fabric. Spray it directly onto the soiled area, let it soak for a few minutes and then use a butter knife to gently scrape the gum away.

Lanacane Maximum Strength Anti-Itch Cream

Before attempting to use this product, first make sure to test a part of the clothing to ensure that it does not stain.

Now you may consider, how can anti-itch cream be effective at removing gum? Lanacane in particular contains alcohol and glycerin, ingredients that can help to directly loosen gum from any clothing. Apply the cream onto the affected area and leave on for one minute. 

Once you have left it to sit, use a butter knife to scrape away the gum. 

Zippo 12FC Lighter Fluid

To ensure the safety of all individuals attempting this method, use protective gloves and stay away from flames. Rub a small amount of lighter fluid onto the gum and use a toothbrush to mix it into the gum. 

It should then be fairly easy to scrape it away using a butter knife. Wash the garment by itself using warm water and detergent. Once the stain has been removed, dry the clothing as normal.


Having gum stuck to your clothing (or any sort of fabric) can be incredibly frustrating. However, by using these proven methods you can conveniently and effectively remove the gum and ensure that your clothes will not be ruined or stained.

Choose the most suitable method or use one of the store-bought products mentioned above to scrape gum away swiftly, easily, and conveniently.

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