How to Remove Gum from Clothes

How to Remove Gum from Clothes

Gum getting stuck to clothes is a common occurrence. Whether you’re trying to remove gum from your clothes or your kids’ tops or pants, a few simple hacks can help. Although no one wants to deal with the hassle of chewing gum stuck to your favorite top or skirt, it can be removed at home or by a laundry professional. Keep reading to discover our favorite gum-removal tips:

Apply Ice

One of the most commonly known ways of removing gum from fabric is with an ice cube. Simply rub the ice cube over the gum until it gets hard enough to pull cleanly off. This technique can work with a variety of fabrics. When removing sticky substances from clothing, it’s usually easier with smoother fabrics such as women’s T-shirts made from Supima cotton or cotton-polyester blouses. Fuzzy sweaters may not respond as well to the ice cube treatment, although it doesn’t hurt to try. As long as you’re not applying ice to a material that shouldn’t get wet—like leather or suede—ice is a gentle and effective way to remove gum from tops, pants, or other wardrobe pieces.

Steam It Off

Using a fabric steamer can also help you dislodge gum from fabric fibers. The same steamer you’d use to remove wrinkles from dresses and blouses can potentially work as a gum-removal tool. If you don’t have a steamer, you can even hold the item over a pot of boiling water. The warm moisture from the steam can help the gum slide off more easily by softening its texture. You could even use a tea kettle to create a targeted burst of steam to aim at the gum to dislodge it.

Use an Iron

A similar method of removing gum from clothes is to use an iron. You can use an ironing board, tabletop and a sturdy piece of cardboard. Whether you remove gum from men’s jeans, women’s leggings or a favorite tee, the process is the same. Place the clothing on the cardboard with the gum facing down, then iron it using medium heat. The gum should slide from the apparel onto the cardboard for easy disposal. How effective this or any of these techniques depends on the fabric you’re dealing with and various other factors.

Get More Gum

One tried-and-true trick that may sound antiquated but actually can work is gum-on-gum. That’s right—a second piece of chewed gum can work as an attractant for the piece stuck on your clothing. Dab it on the stuck piece and you may find it latches together for easy removal. If you don’t want to go that route, try a store-bought gum-removal product. These formulas can often be used to remove stickers and decals from furniture, too.

Try Compressed Air

Compressed air can potentially dislodge a wad of gum from your clothes. If you’re at the office and drop a piece of gum on your dress shirt or pencil skirt, grab the computer cleaner from your desk and spray. The high-powered blast of cooled air can cause the gum to come off quickly, saving your work clothes and the day. If that doesn’t work, you can try one of the other hacks on this list, such as using an ice cube to unstick the gum.

Treat with Laundry Detergent

If you’re trying to remove gum from a machine-washable fabric, try laundry detergent. Spot-treat the area with a small amount of undiluted detergent. You can massage it into the area with your fingers or a scrub brush. The emollients and cleansers in the detergent may break the gum from the fabric. Then you can toss the item in the wash, whether it happens to be a pair of jeans or one of your favorite dresses.

Head to the Dry Cleaners

In some cases, gum can’t be removed from clothing at home. With materials such as leather and cashmere, you shouldn’t even try. Preserve your luxury garments with professional cleaning from a provider you trust. If you don’t already have a favorite dry cleaning establishment, reading reviews online can help you choose. Or you can ask a friend or family member which dry cleaner they use, as word of mouth can often be your best bet.

A Preventative Tip

One of the easiest ways to avoid this problem is to choose fabrics with smooth finishes. Any fabric made with a tight-knit cotton-spandex blend is an option. Wrinkle-resistant fabrics may also prove beneficial if you drop gum on them, as the sticky mess may come off more easily than with untreated fabric. There are men’s and women’s polo shirts and dress shirts with this popular finish.

Gum stuck to clothing can be a hassle, but one or more of these tips may prove helpful. Try different cleaning strategies to see what works for your wardrobe.


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