5 Ways to Get Gum Out of Clothes While Protecting Fabrics

Sit in chewing gum? Never fear! Whether it’s fresh and stretchy or a hardened glob, these fabric-friendly solutions for how to get gum out of clothes will help turn around an unlucky day. Get the step-by-step instructions.

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How to remove gum when it's stuck to clothing? See our 5 ways that can be used together depending on your sticky situation.

Photo by: Getty Images/Aphiwat Chuangchoem / EyeEm

Getty Images/Aphiwat Chuangchoem / EyeEm

How to remove gum when it's stuck to clothing? See our 5 ways that can be used together depending on your sticky situation.

There are many tried-and-true ways to remove gum stuck to the fibers of your clothing. While it’s disappointing (and maybe a little embarrassing), not all is lost. We’re reviewing the most gentle and effective treatments so you can remove the gum without making the problem worse.

While there are many ways to remove chewing gum from shoes and hair, it’s important to remember that you should not use any oil-based products on your clothing. Skip the peanut butter, olive oil and petroleum jelly and opt for solutions that won't leave oily stains on your garments. That said, the recommendations outlined below will be helpful if you find gum stuck to fabric upholstery or in your carpet.

5 Ways to Get Gum Out of Clothes

Pro tip: Don’t feel pressured to pick one solution. In all likelihood, you might need a combination of the following solutions to get the job done. It can depend on how engrained the gum is in the fibers, the size of the chunk of gum and the material itself. For example, you may be able to remove most of the gum with an ice cube and a dull blade, but eliminating residual stickiness on the fibers might call for an apple cider vinegar treatment. Keep in mind that the goal is always to remove gum stuck to clothing without damaging the garment.

Try different tools and materials to remove gum from clothing.

Tools and Materials for Removing Gum from Clothing

Assorted tools and materials to help you remove gum from your clothing and get rid of any residual stickiness.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Assorted tools and materials to help you remove gum from your clothing and get rid of any residual stickiness.

Tools and Materials

  • rubbing alcohol
  • apple cider vinegar
  • liquid laundry detergent
  • ice pack
  • iron
  • uncoated cardboard
  • duct tape
  • old toothbrushes
  • credit card or dull knife
  • measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl
  • microwave

Get Gum Out With Apple Cider Vinegar

Any vinegar other than white vinegar has the possibility of staining fabric, so only use apple cider vinegar on dark or black garments. Keep in mind that this also works really well if you get gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe.

  1. Microwave a small amount of apple cider vinegar for 15 seconds. You will want it warm, but not boiling.

  2. Submerge the gum and surrounding fabric into the warm apple cider vinegar. Alternatively, transfer a few teaspoons of the solution directly onto the gum if you can't easily submerge the material.

  3. Use a knife or the edge of a credit card to gently pry at the gum edges to remove larger chunks.

  4. Rub the gum with an old toothbrush. The apple cider vinegar will begin to congeal and clump any residual gum. The clumps will adhere to the toothbrush bristles.

  5. Run the garment through the laundry.

Use an Iron to Get Gum Out

If the gum has hardened into a glob, softening it can help.

  1. Put a piece of cardboard onto your ironing surface.

  2. Place your garment gum-side down on the cardboard.

  3. Set your iron to low heat and warm the gum for no more than 30 seconds. Avoid high heat and avoid pressing hard, as you do not want to make the gum so soft that it penetrates deeper into the fibers.

  4. Peel the fabric away to find that the gum has transferred from the garment and stuck to the cardboard

Wash Gum Out With Laundry Detergent

Spot cleaning stuck gum with your regular liquid laundry detergent can help loosen it from clothing.

  1. Apply a teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent directly to the gum and surrounding fabric.

  2. Use a toothbrush to work the detergent into the edges of the gum to treat the fabric.

  3. Use the edge of a dull knife to lift the gum from the material.

  4. Rinse thoroughly with water or launder the entire garment.

Use Rubbing Alcohol to Remove Gum

Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) is a convenient option that can help save your most delicate garments.

  1. Dip a cotton ball into the rubbing alcohol.

  2. Apply the cotton ball directly to the gum, soaking all sides. It also helps to soak the underside of the gum, so dab the saturated cotton ball on the backside of the garment, too.

  3. Put a piece of duct tape on top of the gum.

  4. Peel the tape off. You will be able to slowly separate the edges of the gum from the fabric and peel the gum away.

  5. Launder the garment as usual.
Rubbing alcohol and duct tape make a powerful team if you need to remove gum from your clothes.

Using Tape to Remove Gum from Clothes

Rubbing alcohol and duct tape can lift gum off of clothing fibers.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Rubbing alcohol and duct tape can lift gum off of clothing fibers.

Get Gum Out Using an Ice Pack

If the gum is still sticky and stretchy, it helps to cool it.

  1. Place an ice pack on the affected spot for 10 to 20 minutes.

  2. Use a dull knife or the edge of a credit card to lift the gum from the fabric. If it’s still stretchy, apply ice for another 5 minutes.

  3. Getting stretchy, fresh gum stuck on your clothing can be more challenging, and this may be a good example of when you may find that an aforementioned apple cider vinegar or rubbing alcohol treatment can help eliminate residual stickiness.

  4. Launder the garment.

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