How to get gum out of clothes

Techniques for Removing Gum from Clothing
  Reading time 7 minutes

Finding gum stuck to your favorite shirt or pair of jeans can be a real nuisance. Luckily, there are tried-and-true methods to get rid of this sticky mess without damaging the fabric. This article will guide you through several effective techniques to remove gum from your clothes.

Using Ice or Cold Treatment

One of the simplest methods to remove gum from clothes is by using ice cubes or a freezer. The cold treatment hardens the gum, making it easier to scrape off.

  1. First, place ice cubes in a plastic bag and lay it over the gum for about 15-20 minutes. Alternatively, you can put the entire garment in a plastic bag and freeze it for the same duration.
  2. Once the gum is hardened, use a blunt instrument such as a butter knife or a spoon to gently scrape the gum off the fabric.
  3. Be sure to work quickly; as the gum warms up, it becomes sticky again.

Using ice is especially effective on smaller pieces of gum and materials that can be easily placed in the freezer. Just make sure to check the garment’s care label to ensure it can withstand the cold treatment.

Applying Heat Treatment

Another effective method to remove gum is applying heat. This option works well for more stubborn gum stains. However, it’s important to be cautious when using this method as excessive heat can damage delicate fabrics.

  1. Place a piece of cardboard or thick paper behind the gum to prevent it from sticking to other parts of the garment.
  2. Use a hair dryer or iron to heat the gum. If using an iron, set it to a medium-low temperature.
  3. As the gum softens from the heat, use a comb or a similar tool to lift and pull the gum away from the fabric.
  4. For any residue that’s left behind, apply a small amount of dish soap or rubbing alcohol to break it down further.

This method is particularly useful for larger or more embedded gum spots. Just make sure to test the heat on a small, inconspicuous area first to avoid damage.

Using Household Products

Household items like vinegar, peanut butter, or even rubbing alcohol can help in removing gum from clothes. These everyday items can be just as effective as commercial products.

  1. White vinegar can be heated and then applied to the gum with a sponge. The acidity helps break down the gum’s stickiness.
  2. Peanut butter can also be applied directly to the gum. The oils in the peanut butter work to loosen the gum from the fabric. Just make sure to clean the garment thoroughly afterward.
  3. Gently rub rubbing alcohol on the gum using a cloth. The alcohol dissolves the gum’s adhesive properties, making it easier to remove.

These methods are excellent for those who prefer natural solutions over commercial detergents or special cleaning agents.

Using Commercial Products

There are various commercial products specifically designed for removing sticky substances like gum. These products are readily available in supermarkets and can be highly effective.

  1. Look for stain removers that list gum removal on their label. These are formulated to dissolve the gum without harming the fabric.
  2. Apply the product according to the manufacturer’s instructions, usually requiring you to let it sit for a specified duration.
  3. Use a soft brush or cloth to work the product into the gum, then scrape and rinse off as specified.

Commercial products offer a reliable solution, especially for delicate or expensive garments that you don’t want to risk damaging with home remedies.

Tips to Eliminate Gum Stains from Fabric

Finishing Up: Washing and Inspecting

After you’ve successfully removed the gum, it’s important to thoroughly clean the garment to ensure all traces of gum and any applied products are removed.

  1. Reinspect the area where the gum was attached to ensure it’s completely removed.
  2. Pre-treat the area with a stain remover or a bit of laundry detergent. Let it sit for a few minutes.
  3. Wash the garment according to its care label instructions. Use the warmest water temperature that the fabric can safely withstand.
  4. After washing, check the garment again to confirm that all residues are gone. Repeat washing if necessary.

This final step ensures your clothes are not only gum-free but also free from any residues that could attract dirt or cause further staining.


Getting gum out of clothes doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right techniques and a little patience, you can successfully remove gum without damaging your garments. Whether you choose to use ice, heat, household products, or commercial solutions, make sure to follow up with a thorough wash to completely clear any remaining residue. These methods will help you restore your clothing to its original, gum-free condition.


1. Can I use boiling water to remove gum from clothes? Boiling water can be risky as it may damage the fabric. It’s better to use methods like ice, heat treatments with a hair dryer or iron, or household products.

2. Is it safe to use peanut butter on all types of fabric? Peanut butter is generally safe for most fabrics, but it’s advisable to test it on a small, unseen area first. Ensure you thoroughly wash the garment after using peanut butter to remove any oily residue.

3. Can I use nail polish remover to get gum out of clothes? Nail polish remover containing acetone can dissolve gum, but it might also damage some fabrics. Use it cautiously and test on a small area first.

4. How do I remove gum from delicate fabrics like silk? For delicate fabrics, it’s best to use ice to harden the gum and then gently scrape it off. If uncertain, consult a professional dry cleaner for advice and services.

5. Will these methods work for getting gum out of shoes or other items? Yes, these methods can be adapted for removing gum from shoes, upholstery, and other items. Just be cautious with the materials and follow up with proper cleaning.