How To Remove Gum From Almost Anything

Just about anything can be a spot for stubborn, stuck-on gum. Learn how to remove gum from clothing, hair, upholstery and shoes with common household supplies.

Let’s face it: We can all be a little clumsy, especially with gum. If your kiddo drops a piece on the floor or someone gets Big League Chew in your hair, there’s no need to worry—we’ll show you how to remove gum from clothing, hair, carpet and shoes quickly and easily.

Check out these other handy hints for removing hard-to-remove stuff.

How To Remove Gum From Hair

Put down the scissors! Get gum out hair with a tried-and-true standby: peanut butter. Plaster the gum with creamy peanut butter using your fingers or an old toothbrush, and then wait a few minutes. The fats and oils will stiffen the gum and make it less sticky, so it’ll be easier to gently work out of hair. Use a towel to wipe up every last bit of peanut butter, and give hair a wash afterward.

If you don’t have a jar of peanut butter, grab some Vaseline, toothpaste or vegetable oil. Such oily substances will lubricate the hair, helping the gum slide away. Apply to the glob of gum and gently work it in with your fingers, taking care not to squeeze too much. A wide-tooth comb should help the gum come right out. As with peanut butter, it’s not a bad idea to wash the hair once the gum’s gone. Give your locks some love with this avocado hair mask.

How To Remove Gum From Clothing

You probably don’t want to cover clothes in peanut butter or cooking oil. Luckily, good old-fashioned ice can harden gum and reduce its stickiness.

Remove as much gum as you can with your fingers, then place a few ice cubes in a freezer bag and place the bag on top of the remaining gum until it has stiffened. Gently peel the gum off, then scrub away any remnants with an old toothbrush.

You can also remove gum using the multipurpose hero of every home: white vinegar (look at all these ways you can clean with vinegar). Heat the vinegar in a small pot. Once it’s hot, dip in a toothbrush, and use this to scrub the soiled garment. Give it a little elbow grease and the gum should come right off.

No matter how you remove gum from clothes, you’ll want to give them a cold-water wash afterward to remove tiny specks that may have worked their way deep into the fabric. If you did use an oily method, learn how to remove oil stains from clothes, next.

How To Remove Gum From Carpet

As it turns out, getting gum on carpets or fabric upholstery isn’t the end of the world. Rather than busting out the scissors, revert to the clothing method and freeze the gum before flaking it away.

Alternatively, you can use oil to weaken the gum and make it easier to remove. Rub the gum all over with an oil-soaked cloth and wait for about 10 minutes, then gently peel it up with a butter knife. Be sure to test an inconspicuous spot of the carpet or upholstery first (to make sure the oil doesn’t wreck the item), and clean the gummy area with dish soap and warm water when you’re done to remove any residue. Take a look at this guide on how to remove carpet stains.

How To Remove Gum From Shoes

Next time you’re out for a stroll, take a look at the sidewalk. You’ll probably see wads of dried-up gum just about everywhere you look-or, worse, fresh gum eagerly awaiting a ride on the bottom of your shoe. If you get home and discover you’ve picked up a chewy hitchhiker, give it a spray with some WD-40. After about a minute, the spray will dissolve the gum, making it a cinch to wipe away with an old rag or paper towel.

If you’d rather not break out the grease and you have some time (and extra shoes) to spare, leave the gummed-up shoe alone for a few days. The gum will harden on its own, and you can remove it with your fingers or a butter knife.

Next, read up on how to remove candle wax from just about anything.

Rory Cooper
Rory was raised in rural New Hampshire before spending a few years in the hustle and bustle of Chicago. Now back in New England, he's stocking up on fishing tackle, amassing an ever-growing collection of crochet hooks and fantasizing about one day living in a cabin.