Dirty Secrets: Removing Chewing Gum from Clothes

In laundry terms, chewing gum is public enemy number one. It’s an evil glue that gets right into the fabric of your clothes and refuses to let go. And even if your children don’t chew it themselves, gum’s evil genius somehow still finds its way onto their clothes and refuses to budge. This makes it handy to know how to remove chewing gum from clothes, so that you’re prepared for when it strikes next. What you need to know is that with removing chewing gum from fabric, the key to winning the battle over your clothes is loosening its grip before gently easing it off. Imagine you’re trying to get a toddler to let go of a toy – it’s a bit like that.

 

How to Remove Chewing Gum from Clothing: Freeze it off

One simple method of removal is to rub the gum with ice first until it has completely hardened. Then use a spoon, blunt knife or paint scraper to lever it off immediately before it’s had time to warm-up and go soft again. Putting an ice cube on both sides of the material, with the gum sandwiched between, should speed things up. Alternatively, if you have access to a freezer, and if that freezer isn’t already crammed with family meals and forgotten leftovers, put the garment in a plastic bag and pop it in for a few hours until the gum is solid. Fold the garment with the gum to the outside so that it is most exposed and doesn’t touch any of the rest of the garment - otherwise you could end up with one big sticky mess on your hands. Once the gum is frozen solid, remember to be gentle as you remove it. Like with that toddler and their toy, you don’t want to risk harming the very thing you’re trying to protect. Using something pointed like tweezers can help with picking off any small pieces once the gum has frozen, however, on knitted or embroidered items, be careful not to catch any of the threads as you lift the gum.  

 

Removing Chewing Gum from Clothes with Heat

Nothing to freeze it with? Instead blast it with an indirect source of heat. Use something like a hairdryer that should be enough to melt the gum, without scorching the clothes. When the gum is almost melting, peel it away from the surface. We’d recommend you wear gloves or protect your hand with a plastic bag first – gum can get pretty hot.  

 

How to Remove Chewing Gum from Clothes with Your Iron

Put a piece of clean cardboard on a flat surface or ironing board. Place the garment gum-side down on top. Set the iron to medium (too hot and it will melt the gum into a sticky mess, too low and it won’t be hot enough) and iron the garment on the back. Once the gum has softened (it may take a few minutes so be patient) it should stick to the cardboard allowing you to gently peel your garment away leaving the gum behind.  

 

And Finally

Once you’ve successfully taken off the gum from your little one’s jeans or even worse, your favourite party dress, wash them as usual, by hand or by machine, as per their washing instructions with Surf excel to remove any remaining residue. For more expert laundry tips on how to remove stains, even the really tricky ones, visit our stain removal tips section and do let us know in the comments below if you have any other great tips on removing chewing gum from clothes.