One of the most frustrating things you can experience on a public bus or a classroom is finding a piece of gum stuck to your pants that won’t come out. It’s disgusting to think of how it got there, but it’s more important to know how to get it off.
Since it’s a common problem that everyone has faced at least once in their lifetime, people have come up with different ways to remove gum from their clothing. Some of these are household tricks, and some are suggested by experts.
This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to get gum out of your clothes.
What To Keep In Mind
Before trying any tricks or experimenting with different solutions, it is essential to keep in mind that you don’t ruin your clothes. The first step is to remove as much of the gum as you can without damaging the fabric.
If you are using any chemicals or solutions, don’t put the chemical directly on the exposed or visible parts of the clothes. Instead, test the chemical on an area that won’t be immediately visible. Check if the garment is faded, wrinkled, or burned once you have pretested the substance. Only if it seems unharmed should you continue with the process on the affected area.
With this tip in mind, let’s proceed to explore some of the popular ways to get rid of gum on your clothes.
1. By Using Laundry Detergent
Laundry detergents are meant to take out the nastiest of stains, which is why this should be your go-to solution for gum as well. Here’s how you do it:
Get a liquid laundry detergent that you usually use to wash your clothes are pour it over the affected area. Use anything with bristles, such as toothpaste, to rub the detergent on and around the gum. Use a mildly sharp object, such as a butter knife, to scrape off as much of the gum as you can. If you would like, you can also use your fingernails to remove the sticky mess. Now wash the garment as you usually do.
Tip: Don’t put the clothing into a dryer after washing until and unless you are sure that the gum stain is completely gone.
2. By Using a Toothpaste
While toothpaste can be messier than laundry detergent, it might just be what will get gum out of your favorite jeans. Here’s how to do it:
Put a drop of toothpaste where the gum is stuck and use a blunt object such as a ruler to spread out the toothpaste on and around the gum. Wait a few minutes for the toothpaste to dry completely. Once it is dry, peel off the dried toothpaste, which should have broken down the sticky gum. If it doesn’t peel easily, use a butter knife to scrape it off.
After this, wash the garment as you usually do.
3. By Using Vinegar
Vinegar can act as an excellent cleaning agent due to its acidic properties. It can remove and clean stains or even gum by adding a chemical charge to the culprit’s molecules which will be attracted to the charges in water. A similar principle can be applied to lemon due to its acidic nature,
Get a cup of distilled white vinegar and heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Take toothpaste and soak it in the vinegar, and sub it over the gum. Keep rubbing until the gum is taken off and then wash it with stain remover or detergent as usual.
You can also go for the volcano effect: pour the vinegar over the gum and add some baking soda which will cause a foamy mixture to form. This new substance can work wonders on stains and sticky gums.
4. By Ironing
This method is tricky and can either get the gum out or reinforce it more onto the garment. For this method, cut a piece of cardboard paper and pour it over the ironing board. The side of the clothing with the gum on it should be face-to-face with the cardboard paper.
Turn the iron set to medium and start pressing the garment from the opposite side to the gum. The heat will allow the gum to transfer onto the cardboard. Keep moving the cardboard and pressing so that the gum sticks to a different side of the cardboard.
5. By Using Peanut Butter
One of the most unusual ways to remove gum from clothing is to use peanut butter over the affected section. You must be wondering how that works. Well, people have discovered that the ingredients in the product make the chewing gum stiffer which helps take it off.
Take a spoonful of peanut butter spread and put it on the gum. Please keep the peanut butter limited to the gum; otherwise, it can stain the fabric. Let the product sit for a few minutes so that the gum can lose its stickiness. As with all the previous steps, use a butter knife to scrape off the peanut butter along with the gum.
Tip: Oil-free peanut butter bodes well for the fabric and causes less damage.
6. By Freezing The Clothing
Among the unusual ways to get rid of gum, freezing the garment indeed ranks high on the list. You can do this by folding the clothing in a way that the area affected by gum is on top. Please put it in a plastic bag and make sure that the gum doesn’t stick to the bag.
If you are not able to ensure that, put the garment on top of the plastic bag and keep it in the freezer for at least two hours. This will allow the gum to freeze over. After 2 hours, take the garment out and if the gum is frozen, scrape it off with a butter knife.
Instead of freezing the entire garment, you can put an ice pack over the gum for 20 minutes which will have the same effect of freezing the gum over and making it lose its stickiness.
7. By Using Rubbing Alcohol
For gums that are stuck to the delicate fabric, it is best to use some rubbing alcohol on the affected area. Please do this by dipping a sponge or cloth in rubbing alcohol and smearing it on the gum. Don’t worry if you accidentally pour it over the fabric; alcohol doesn’t harm garments in any way, so this is one of the advantages of this method.
As soon as the gum starts losing its stickiness, use a butter knife to scrape it off from the fabric.
8. By Using a Duct Tape
Cut a piece of duct tape more significant than the area affected by the gum. The size should be enough to cover the gum so that it sticks to the tape and comes off easily. Press the duct tape firmly over the gum and leave it as it is for a few minutes.
After a few minutes, pull the duct tape with one swift movement, just as you use wax strips. Hopefully, the gum will come off with the tape when you remove it. Repeat the process as many times as it takes to get rid of the gum.
Tip: Try your best to avoid putting duct tape on the everyday fabric, as it can harm the integrity of the garment and can even cause tears.
9. By Using Canned Air
Who would have thought that canned air would have a use in removing gum from clothing? While there are better ways to work, it is worth a try. Spray canned air onto the fabric, maintaining maximum focus on the gum, which would harden it. Once you achieve this consistency, use a butter knife or paint scraper to scrape off the gum.
10. By Boiling or Using Steam
Putting the clothes into boiling water or using steam to get out the gum can work by softening the gum and making it easier to remove the sticky mess.
Get a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. Make sure that the water level is sufficient to submerge the clothing. Place the garment into the boiling water and leave it in for a few minutes. Now while the garment is still in the water, get a butter knife to scrape off the gum slowly. Once the majority of the gum is gone, take an old toothbrush or anything with a bristle to remove the rest of the gum. Keep repeating the process until the gum is gone.
Air-dry the clothing or launder it as necessary.
Alternatively, you can keep the affected area of the garment over the spout of a teakettle which lets off steam. The steam will do the same job as boiling water.
Tip: Use protective gloves to submerge the garment into the boiling water or to scrape off the gum from the clothing while using steam.
11. By Using Hairspray
This is, by far, the riskiest of the methods to remove gum from clothes. The effectiveness of this method is debatable because it has the potential to harm the garment.
Spray a little bit of hairspray onto the affected area of the garment until it hardens. Once the hardness sets in, scrape off the gum using a butter knife or a paint scraper. Continue scraping until the gum comes off entirely.
Launder the clothing as usual once you are done.
Bonus Method: By Using Toothpaste
Toothpaste is not just used for cleaning your teeth or using it on burns (which is questionable). It can also be applied to gum on your clothes as a removal agent. With its sticky properties, toothpaste can make the gum adhere to it. Take some toothpaste, depending on the size of the gum, and spread it over the affected area.
Give it some time to set in, and then remove it in one swift motion once it has dried up. Make sure that you stay restricted to the part of the garment with gum on it, or else it can cause harm to your clothes. Wash your clothes with a laundry detergent after effectively removing the gum. Use a stain remover if you want.
How To Get Gum Out If You Have Already Dried The Garment
While it is not ideal that you dry the garment when the gum is still stuck, it is possible to still get it out. It might be more challenging
For this scenario, it is better to use the freezer or icepack method to take out the gum. It can harden the gum and remove it quickly. The alternative method is the ironing method which will also take longer for the gum to set in the garment.
Be careful that using these methods may change the fabric in some way. Use a stain-remover to treat the garment after you have removed the gum to reverse any changes in the material.
Cleaning Products For Removing Gum From Clothes
Due to the prevalence of this problem, companies have come up with different products exclusively for removing gum from clothes.
One of the most widely used products for this purpose is Goo Gone which effectively removes gum and other sticky substances. All you need to do is apply the product to the gum and let it be for about 10 minutes. Scrap it off with a butter knife or paint-scraper. Wash the clothes as usual.
Other products include adhesive remover spray, WD-40, Lanacane, and Zippo Lighter Fluid.
Getting gum stuck to your favorite pieces of clothing can be both annoying and disgusting. Once you stop wondering about the origins of this mishap, you need to start thinking of how you can get this gum out of your clothes.
With all of these effective methods, you don’t need to worry about having to throw away your jeans. Start trying the first method and work your way down to get rid of this sticky mess.