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How to Get Gum Out of Clothes the Easy Way

How to get gum out of clothes

I don’t want to scare you, but if you make some mistakes trying to get gum out of your clothes, you will ruin them. I’ve had this happen, and none of my methods worked because of the initial mistakes I made. I’ll show you what not to do and how to get gum out of clothes the easy way. Don’t worry; your favorite clothing is not done yet! 

How To Get Gum Out of Clothes 

To effectively remove gum from clothing, first place the garment in a plastic bag and freeze it for an hour. Afterward, use a butter knife or credit card to scrape and remove the remaining gum. If it becomes sticky again, refreeze, and scrape again. Lastly, scrub any residue with a toothbrush and laundry detergent, then wash the clothing in cold water and air dry.

Easiet Methods To Get Gum Out Of Clothes 

The problem you run into when trying to remove chewing gum is the sticky residue. You may get a lot of the gum off, but that sticky residue can leave a gum stain. Chewing gum comprises polymers and elastomers that love to ingrain themselves into clothing and stay there for good. Depending on the type of gum and the type of clothing you are working with, I have some very effective methods that can remove gum from your clothing. 

Ice Cube

Almost as simple as the freezer method, ice cubes work wonders to remove chewing gum from clothing. 

  1. Place an ice cube directly on the gum. 
  2. Let the ice sit for a minute or more, but not long enough for it to melt.
  3. Gently scrape away the gum stuck on the clothing with a butter knife or flat edge.


The freezer is my personal favorite, although I’ll admit it’s easier to fit a t-shirt in the freezer than a winter coat. 

  1. Put clothing in a plastic bag. 
  2. Place the bag in the freezer for one hour. 
  3. Remove the clothing and pull off as much gum as possible, scraping up from the edges of the sticky glob.
  4. Freeze again if you didn’t get it all. 


The vinegar smell is not my favorite, but vinegar can dissolve chewing gum, making it a good solution here. 

  1. Put vinegar on a paper towel and blot the chewing gum stain.
  2. You should see it start to break up and dissolve; repeating this process should remove the gum, but it can take time. 
  3. To speed things up, heat a little vinegar, pour it on the clothing, and sprinkle baking soda.
  4. Wash the clothing afterward, and the hot vinegar smell will be gone. 

Goo Gone 

Goo Gone is supposed to work on everything, so I was curious what it would do here. The only thing I recommend with Goo Gone is testing it in an area of the clothing where you wouldn’t see if there was a remaining stain. Goo Gone may leave a stain because it contains oils that can sometimes seep into fabrics, making it difficult to remove without proper washing.

  1. Remove as much gum as you can with your hands. 
  2. Place Goo Gone on the gum residue, and let it sit for a few minutes.
  3. Use a rag or paper towel to pull the gum and the Goo Gone off. 
  4. You can also use a dull knife here to help pull it all up. 

Iron and Cardboard 

Most stain removal methods for gum go with cold over heat, but the iron can work. 

  1. Lay the garment gum side down on a piece of cardboard. 
  2. Heat up your iron and put it directly over the stain. 
  3. Let the iron sit on the stain (don’t rub the iron, and don’t let it sit too long that it damages the clothing.)
  4. Gum should transfer to the cardboard after some time. 

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol seems to work as a similar stain remover to vinegar when getting gum out of clothes. 

  1. Remove any of the loose gum you can. 
  2. Pour rubbing alcohol over the stain. 
  3. Use a toothbrush to rub it in and then a dull knife to remove the rest of the residue. 

Label remover spray

The sticky material on the back of a label is really similar to what you get with gum; this label remover spray works pretty well. Be careful here to test an area of your clothing first. 

  1. Use a plastic spoon or paint scraper to remove as much gum as possible. 
  2. Spray label remover spray on the affected area. 
  3. Immediately soak the clothing in hot water and complete the process until the gum is completely removed. 


You know my experience with WD-40; it’s not one of my favorite cleaning methods, as it can leave an oily residue on certain colors (mostly lighter). But, WD-40 will release gum; just be smart about how you use it.

  1. Lay clothing on a flat surface and use something like a paint scraper to remove as much gum as possible from fabric fibers. 
  2. Test WD-40 in an area where it can’t be seen. 
  3. Spray the WD-40 on the stain and then use a cotton swab or even a putty knife to remove the rest of the stain. 
  4. Wash in cold when complete.

Liquid laundry soap

Liquid laundry soap can work to remove this sticky situation, but make sure to use it as a pre-wash solution, don’t just throw this in the machine. 

  1. Remove extra gum from the clothing. 
  2. Use a soft, bristled brush to scrub some liquid laundry soap and white vinegar into the stain. 
  3. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then you should be able to easily scrape off most of the residue. 

Hair Dryer

A hair dryer can heat the gum up, making it easier to work with. Try this one if some of your gum has also made it onto carpet fibers. If you are dealing with kids, the clothing and carpet may not be the only areas where the gum stuck!  

  1. Hold a hair dryer over the stain until the gum heats up enough to soften. 
  2. Start pulling up as much of the gum as you can. 
  3. When it starts to harden, simply reheat it with the hair dryer and continue to wipe away. 

Duct tape

Some people even use a small amount of gum to remove old gum stains; I like using duct tape more because its strong adhesive properties make it effective in lifting off the gum without the risk of adding more mess.

  1. Put duct tape over the garment.
  2. Pull duct tape off and watch the gum come with it.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 but do not reuse parts of the tape that already has gum on it.
  4. Check the care label on your shirt with this method; sometimes, the tape can pull at fibers on your shirt. 

Peanut Butter 

Don’t use peanut butter on white clothing, but it can help to remove most of the gum from your clothing. 

  1. Put a dab of peanut butter on the gum. 
  2. Rub peanut butter into the chewing gum. 
  3. Start to pull up on the glob of gum from the sides as it will be loose. 

Orange oil extract

Finally, you can use orange oil extract to get gum out of clothing. Orange oil extract can be effective because its natural citrus-based solvents break down the stickiness of the gum, making it easier to remove from the fabric.

  1. Remove chunks of gum by hand. 
  2. Place orange oil extract on a clean rag, and wipe it on the gum. 
  3. Continue until the gum does not stick to the garment.

Dealing with Stubborn Gum Stains

If you have already sent your fabric through the wash, gum stains harden and become difficult; here are a few tips. 

  • Boiling water is a good final step before placing the gum-stained clothes in the washing machine. 
  • If you are out and find the gum on your clothing, put an ice cube on it immediately and pull off as much as you can. 
  • White vinegar and baking soda can be left to sit on the clothing for several hours, and it won’t damage anything. 

Final Thoughts

You have all the methods you need to clean up this sticky mess. Don’t do what I did and toss the clothing in the washing machine and hope for the best; it just won’t work. I love the freezer method and found it to remove the gum and keep the clothing from getting damaged. If you struggle with that, give the Goo Gone a try next. 


Does toothpaste remove gum?

Toothpaste can help to remove gum from clothes because its mild abrasives can loosen the gum. However, it’s not the best option. Using ice is more effective because freezing the gum hardens it, making it less sticky and easier to peel off without damaging the fabric.

How do you get gum out of clothes after it’s been dried?

To remove dried gum from clothes, use a mix of hot water, vinegar, and baking soda to the stain. The vinegar and baking soda combination creates a fizzy reaction that helps to break down the gum, while the hot water loosens it. Then, scrub gently with a soft-bristled brush to work it into the fabric fibers for thorough removal.

What is the best solvent for removing gum?

Goo Gone is considered the best solvent for removing gum. Its specially formulated blend of citrus oils and petroleum distillates are the key ingredients known to effectively break down the sticky polymers in gum. Goo Gone is also gentle on most fabrics, ensuring that there’s no residue or damage left behind.

What happens if chewing gum goes in the washing machine?

If chewing gum goes into the washing machine, it can spread to other clothes and get more stuck on the fabric it’s stuck to because of the warm water and agitation. The gum becomes more pliable and can transfer its stickiness easily. Removing as much gum as possible before washing prevents this and makes the stain-removal process more manageable

Can you get gum out of clothes after drying?

Yes, you can still get gum out of clothes after drying, though it’s tougher. Begin by freezing the garment to harden the gum, making it easier to peel off. Following that, a mixture of vinegar and baking soda can be used to loosen any remaining gum; the fizzing action of this combo helps break down the gum’s stickiness for easier removal. 


Britt Olizarowicz