How can I Remove Chewing Gum from Clothing?

Michael Pollick

One of the most challenging laundry situations is finding a safe and effective way to remove chewing gum from clothing, especially when the gum has had the opportunity to dry and harden. The ideal time to remove it is immediately after the fact, but this isn't always possible or practical. Scraping off as much gum as possible while it is still soft is always a good idea, but removing the remnants can prove difficult.

Warm white vinegar can be used to remove gum.
Warm white vinegar can be used to remove gum.

One way to remove gum from clothing is to freeze both the garment and the gum. A small item, such as a sock or t-shirt, can be placed in a plastic freezer or storage bag and stored in a freezer until the gum has become solid. Larger items can be rubbed with an ice cube or a small plastic bag filled with ice until the gum hardens. Ideally, the frozen gum should break off when scraped with a knife or fingernails. If the gum becomes warm and soft, the clothing should be placed back into the freezer or another ice cube applied.

A stick of chewing gum.
A stick of chewing gum.

Another recommended method to remove chewing gum is the use of warm vinegar. Using an absorbent cloth, warm white vinegar should be applied directly to the gum and surrounding area. The vinegar should penetrate the fibers of the clothing and dissolve the bond between the chewing gum and fabric. The gum should become soft enough to remove with gentle scraping. An exceptionally large patch of gum may require several applications of vinegar, and the garment should be laundered as soon as possible after the treatment.

It's best to scrape off gum while it's still soft.
It's best to scrape off gum while it's still soft.

Other chemical agents can also help to remove the gum, although the results may vary and great care must be used in order not to damage the affected fabric. The multi-purpose household lubricant and solvent known as WD-40® can be sprayed directly on the gum stain and allowed to soak for a few minutes to soften the gum. Again, removing all remnants of the gum may take several applications of solvent and diligent scraping, followed by immediate laundering.

Using an ice cube to harden gum will make it easier to remove from clothing.
Using an ice cube to harden gum will make it easier to remove from clothing.

Non-acetone nail polish remover is also believed to help get gum off of clothing. The chemicals found in nail polish remover may break down the structure of the gum, making it easier to remove with a small scrub brush or a knife.

If these methods fail to remove chewing gum from clothing, a more aggressive approach may be in order. If the garment is safe for ironing, then place the item on an ironing board and set a standard iron to a hot setting without steam. Place a section of brown paper over the gummed area and press the paper with the iron. The heat should soften the gum, and a portion of the gum will stick to the brown paper. A clean section of brown paper should be placed over the gum periodically, making sure the gummed sections do not come into contact with other areas of the garment.

Non-acetone nail polish remover can sometimes remove chewing gum from clothing.
Non-acetone nail polish remover can sometimes remove chewing gum from clothing.

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Discussion Comments


I heard that coke also removes gum. Is this true? If so, how is it done?


I have heard peanut butter works.


Chewing gum? Buy Mykal sticky stuff remover, job done.


Some people say that to remove chewing gum from a piece of clothing, you should first put it in the freezer, and that afterwards the gum is easy to remove.

Well, I've tried it, and it's a complete myth. The chewing gum was hardly better removable. So don't believe all these doubtless well-meant pieces of advice!


After applying WD-40, use Scotch (or other) tape to pull the gum off. Just press the tape over the gum and pull off with a quick motion. Repeat as needed.


My go-to method is the freezer, like the article said.

However, I know that some stores do sell actual "chewing gum remover" that comes in spray form.

I've never used one because I don't get gum stuck on my clothing that often, but I would imagine they've got some sort of special chemical formula to take the gum off.


My mom always used this trick -- she would put a newspaper or piece of parchment paper on top of the item, and then iron it on a low heat.

That causes the gum to melt, and then stick to the newspaper instead, so you can peel it off.

It might take a few tries, but you can usually get it all off -- just don't burn the paper!


I've also heard that spraying the garment with an aerosol hairspray will work wonders for chewing gum removal.

However, it does stain or fade some types of clothes, so do a spot test first.


A product that has successfully worked for me in ridding clothes of gum is called GooGone. Its simple to use; just spray on, let sit for a couple minutes, and the gum basically just peels right off. It's safe to use on a variety of surfaces too.

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