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How to Remove Chewing Gum from Fabric

Yes, this is a picture of chewing gum on the curtain in the girls’ room.  A certain 4-year-old gave a piece of chewing gum to a certain 2-year-old during naptime on Sunday afternoon.  Obviously there was  no nap taking place.

 

Chewing Gum on curtain

The result? A gum covered toddler and several spots of gum on the curtain.

Gum + a toddler  = unhappy Mama

I quickly learned how to successfully remove gum from fabric:

Note: When removing gum, the goal is to keep it in one piece.  It’s harder to remove if you tear it off of the fabric bit by bit.

Place the fabric on a hard surface, such as a table.  Using a sharp knife or razor blade scraper, gently pull up the edge of the gum.  Work slowly and methodically to pry it from the fabric.

 

The Ice Pack Method

Some chewing gum is extremely sticky, which makes it exceptionally hard to remove in one piece.  In this case, you’ll need to make the gum as cold as possible.  Using two ice cold packs, place one on both sides of the fabric.  So in my case, I put an ice pack on the back of the fabric and on the front of the fabric.

 

Cold Packs on Gum

 

Wait 10 or 15 minutes for the ice pack to harden the gum. Then, taking your sharp gum-scraping implement, attempt to pry the entire piece of gum from the fabric.

 

Gum Scrape with Knife

 

When using the ice pack trick, try to use the flattest ice pack possible.  This is extremely effective if you place heavy packs against the gum and completely surround it with cold.

If you don’t have ice packs available, use flat pieces of ice to harden the gum. Both ice and ice packs are equally effective, ice packs just seem to be easier clean up.

 

 

Other Gum Removal Options

Make a note that these are last resort options. The following suggestions might successfully remove the gum on the fabric, but they could potentially leave a grease stain as a result.  Just consider yourself warned.

  • Goo Gone
    This is a great product at removing gum from a surface, especially that super sticky type of gum.  Saturate the area of gum on the fabric and let it sit a few minutes.  Make sure both sides of the fabric are saturated with the solution.  Using the same technique above, try to pry the gum from the fabric.Once you have successfully removed the gum, wash the item as you normally would.  Hang the item to dry. Make sure there is not a grease spot on the fabric before you put it in the dryer.  As you know by now, heat sets stains in permanently.

 

  • Use cooking oil
    It’s hard for me to even suggest using cooking oil – this should be your last ditch effort!  It will leave a grease stain, without a doubt.  Rub a liberal amount of cooking oil (vegetable, canola, olive – whatever the cheapest oil is in your pantry) on top of the gum and also on the back side of the fabric.  Allow it to sit 10 minutes or so and again, try to pry up the whole piece of gum.

If you use either of the above methods and you have a resulting grease stain, try using the Blue Dawn Method for removing the stain.  Again, make sure that you hang dry the garment to ensure the stain has been removed to your liking.  It might take several trips through the wash to get rid of the greasy spot – but it can be done!

 

 

Like most stain removal, getting chewing gum out of fabric takes patience and time.  Both of which are hard for most of us to come by.  Aside from these mentioned, do you have any gum removal tricks?  Do have a great chewing gum story? Share in the comments below!

Comments

  1. These are some great tips! I would say, however, that Goo Gone is not necessarily a last resort option, at least for washable clothing. It can leave a mark if you have to use it on carpet or other areas where you can’t wash it away, but I recently used it when a piece of gum got washed with clothes and melted in the dryer. It washes out with extra detergent, and an extra wash, so doesn’t seem to make permanent grease stains. (I told my story, with some pictures at the link of my name in case anyone is interested, since I know this problem happens to lots of people!)

    • mamalaundry says:

      Taylor – so good to know your experience! I appreciate you leaving the link ;)

      -Lauren

      (Sorry it took so long for your comment to show. It was sent to spam for some crazy reason. And I obviously don’t check my spam folder often enough!)

  2. I am going to put your methods to work on the silly putty that my 3-year old managed to get on 3 articles of clothing and two carpets in two minutes flat while I was in the bathroom! Thanks for the tips, though I’m very sorry I’m finding them so practical.

    • mamalaundry says:

      Oh Silly Putty… It is officially banned at our house for similar reasons! Doesn’t it seem like all of the “bad” things happen in the 2 minutes of bathroom time?? I can relate ;)

      -Lauren

  3. Any tips on getting Gum out of the dryer? Many times have people washed jeans and not taken the gum out of their pockets, (I know better so it wasnt me! lol) and they wouldnt notice until the dryer smelt like Big Red. I spent hours trying to scrape gum out of my dryer :/

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