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What is the Best Way to Remove Gum from Clothing?

A stick of gum.
The material of clothing is one factor in how difficult it is to remove gum from it.
Some products to remove gum use natural ingredients like citrus fruits.
Article Details
  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2014
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It can be tricky to remove gum from clothing, and much depends on what the item of clothing is made of. A knife shouldn't be taken to a delicate silk blouse, for example, but it might work to remove it from the thicker fabric of jeans. It may also be possible to freeze the gum or use an oily substance or solvent to get it to come off.

There are some products on the market that may quickly remove gum from clothing. Some of these products contain chemicals, while others use more natural sources from citrus. Most will also remove the color from the clothing as well, however, and they can damage delicate fabric. Before applying them to clothes, users should test the product on a hidden area of the clothing to verify that it won’t damage the fabric.

One of the traditional tips is to apply ice to the gum for about 10 to 15 minutes, until it is frozen. Once frozen, the gum can often be broken up and scraped away with a knife. It is typically best to use a dull knife so the garment isn't accidentally cut.

Some suggest freezing the whole garment for about an hour to freeze the gum, which may have the same effect as applying ice to it. This is more time consuming, however. Again, once the garment has been frozen, the gum can be removed with a dull knife or picked off manually.

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Some people recommend placing peanut butter on the garment prior to freezing it, because it does tend to stick to the gum and make it easier to remove. The problem with this method is that it can stain the fabric. If the garment requires delicate handling, it may be stained beyond all hope of recovery due to the oils in peanut butter.

An alternative plan to remove gum is to take the garment to a reputable cleaner. They usually can apply solvents that will get the gum to come off without damaging the clothing. This is an especially good idea with items that require dry-cleaning, as they also require special care.

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Discuss this Article

anon164711
Post 4

I just had to research this! I accidentally left my gum in my trouser pocket and didn't take it out while it was in the washing machine and dry cleaner. Silly me. Now my trouser pocket has yucky gum on it! I'm thinking of trying the ice cube method! Hope it works!

anon105673
Post 3

Yes vinegar does work! Quick response time!

anon62768
Post 2

My husband's wool pants that requires dry cleaning had gum on it. I used windex that had vinegar in it with a toothbrush worked like a charm!

anon5356
Post 1

I just tried hot vinegar and it worked like a champ! I know it sounds weird but it truly works!

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