How to Get Gum Out of Clothes

Sticky hitchhikers don’t have to be a problem once you know how to get gum out of clothes. There’s no need to use harsh tactics to remove gum. In fact, plenty of gentle options for removing gum that don’t harm fabrics are available in your home already. The key is to remain patient while trying different techniques! Take a look at seven hacks for getting gum out of clothing.

Fight Gum With Gum

You can actually use the sticking power of gum to your advantage. This is a tip that can be useful when you want to remove gum from clothing quickly without the need to go home. All you need is another piece of gum.

First, chew a second piece of gum. Next, apply the freshly chewed gum to the gum that’s stuck to your clothing. Once the two pieces of gum are pressed together, you should be able to gently lift the two pieces off of your clothing as a single unit. Be sure to avoid pressing any part of the newly chewed gum directly against the fabric. There should only be a gum-to-gum connection.

Freeze the Gum

Freezing gum hardens it to the point where it can easily be scraped off of fabrics. All you need is a set of ice cubes. A freezer pack will also work. Simply place the frozen object(s) over the gum for 20 to 30 minutes. You can then use a butter knife to gently scrape the frozen gum off of the fabric. It should come off cleanly. If an outline of the gum’s residue remains on the fabric, simply apply a cleaning solvent to treat the stain before washing the garment. If the ice-cube method doesn’t work, consider upgrading the technique by throwing the garment in the freezer for an hour before trying to scrape the gum again.

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Steam the Gum Away

While freezing gum off of clothing is a popular option, going in a completely opposite direction by applying heat can also work. A teakettle, boiling pot of water, or handheld steamer can all get the job done. Simply hold the “gummed” area of the fabric over the direct path of the steam. It may take a few minutes for the steam to soften the gum. You can test the gum’s firmness with your hands every few minutes to determine if it’s time to begin scraping. When the gum has softened a bit, simply use a butter knife, toothbrush, or gentle scraping tool to lift the gum from the fabric.

Scrape Gum With Detergent

Gum sometimes lifts away easily with a direct application of liquid laundry detergent. If detergent isn’t available, liquid dish soap can also work. After squeezing some detergent or soap directly over the gum, use a toothbrush to gently rub away at the gum. You should start to notice the fibers in the gum breaking up as you’re scrubbing. Simply scrub until the full gum wad has been scraped away. Apply a stain remover before throwing the clothing in the wash if the gum has left an outline.

Try the Peanut Butter Method

Considered both unorthodox and controversial, the peanut butter method for removing gum from clothing requires a jar of creamy peanut butter. Start by spreading a generous spoonful of peanut butter directly over the gum. The peanut butter should be left to sit on the fabric for 10 to 15 minutes. The secret behind how peanut butter helps get gum out of clothes rests in its rich oils and fats. These oils and fats are powerful enough to dissolve gum’s stickiness. You should be able to easily loosen the gum using a butter knife after it’s been left to sit in a cocoon of peanut butter for a few minutes.

This method is controversial because the oils in the peanut butter could stain certain fabrics. For this reason, peanut butter should only be applied directly to the gum. The garment being de-gummed should also be washed immediately after the gum is scraped off.

Use Hot Vinegar

Fans of vinegar aren’t wrong when they claim that this wonder liquid can do anything. The hot vinegar method for removing gum from clothing requires nothing more than a small bowl of vinegar that is placed in the microwave until hot. Next, soak the bristles of a toothbrush in the hot vinegar for a few seconds before scrubbing away at the gum. The acid in the vinegar should help to break down the fibers in the gum pretty quickly. Some people prefer to sprinkle baking soda on top of the vinegar to create foam that enhances the toothbrush’s scrubbing power.

Apply Rubbing Alcohol and Duct Tape

This clever strategy for removing gum from clothing requires rubbing alcohol, a cotton swab, and duct tape. Start by dabbing the gum with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol. Next, give the rubbing alcohol just a minute to penetrate through the gum. You’ll know that the alcohol has penetrated the gum when the gum becomes dry. That’s your cue to pull the gum away with a strip of duct tape using a technique that’s similar to the way people use strips of hot wax to remove unwanted hair. When done properly, this method should cleanly rip off the full piece of gum in one swift movement.

Remove Gum From Clothing Before Tossing Your Clothes in the Washing Machine

Tossing a piece of clothing with gum stuck to it in with the regular load won’t solve the problem! This could actually cause the gum to become more deeply embedded in the fabric. The gum could also get stuck to other items in the washing machine. The good news is that some quick thinking can lead to quick gum removal when you use the tips shared above.

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