How to get out gum from clothes

We’ve all been there – you’re walking down the street when suddenly you feel something sticky on your shirt or pants. Upon closer inspection, you realize it’s a piece of chewing gum that’s now attached itself to your clothing. Removing gum from fabric can be tricky, but don’t worry, this guide will walk you through the best methods for getting gum out of clothes of all types.

Keywords: remove gum from clothes, get gum out of clothes, chewing gum stuck on clothes, how to remove gum from fabric

get out gum from clothes

Why Gum Gets Stuck on Clothes

Chewing gum is designed to be sticky and cling to surfaces. This allows the gum to stay in your mouth while you chew, but also means that gum can easily attach to clothing, hair, or other materials. There are a few reasons why gum might end up stuck on your clothes:

  • Accidentally brushing against gum stuck on a table, desk, or sidewalk
  • Sitting or leaning against gum left behind on a chair, bench, or public transportation seat
  • Having gum fall out of your mouth onto your shirt or pants
  • Getting gum stuck on your clothing from someone else’s discarded gum

Once the gum adheres to fabric, it can be difficult to remove because of its sticky nature. The longer it stays on the fabric, the harder it will be to get off. This is why it’s important to try removing gum from clothes as soon as possible after it gets stuck.

Keywords: why gum gets on clothes, how gum sticks to fabric, reasons gum ends up on clothing

Methods for Removing Gum from Clothes

When gum first sticks to clothing, start by trying these simple methods:

Use Ice

Applying ice to gum stuck on fabric can help harden and contract the gum, making it easier to chip or scrape off. Put a few ice cubes in a plastic bag or wrap ice in a paper towel, then hold it directly on the gum for 1-2 minutes. After the gum has hardened, try to chip it off carefully with your fingernail or a blunt object. For more stubborn gum, freeze it again to harden further before scraping.

Apply Cooking Oil

Cooking oils like vegetable, olive or coconut oil can help break down gum and separate it from fabric. Apply a small amount of oil directly to the gum and let it soak for 2-3 minutes. Then, gently rub the oiled gum to roll it off the clothing. Wash properly afterwards to remove any oil residue.

Use WD-40

WD-40 works similarly to cooking oils to dissolve gum and make it less sticky. Spray a little WD-40 directly on the gum, let it sit briefly, then rub with fingers or scrape with a dull tool to remove the gum. Wash clothing afterwards to get rid of WD-40 oily residue.

Peanut Butter

The oils in peanut butter can also help dissolve gum out of fabric. Use a butter knife to apply a glob of peanut butter over the gum. Let it soak in for 2-3 minutes before gently rubbing and then washing out the peanut butter.

Keywords: ice for gum on clothes, cooking oil for gum removal, WD-40 on gum in clothes, peanut butter removes gum from fabric

Solvents for Removing Stubborn Gum

For gum that won’t budge, stronger chemical solvents may be needed. Test any solvent in an inconspicuous area first, as they can damage delicate fabrics. Here are some effective options:

Goo Gone

Goo Gone is a commercial gum-removing product designed to dissolve adhesives. Apply Goo Gone directly to the gum, let it soak in for 5 minutes, then rub with a clean cloth or scrub with an old toothbrush. Rinse the area with water afterwards.

Acetone Nail Polish Remover

The acetone in nail polish remover can dissolve gum. Use a cotton ball to apply a small amount of remover directly to the gum. Let it soak in briefly before gently rubbing the fabric. Make sure to rinse thoroughly afterwards since acetone can damage or discolor some fabrics.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol can help break down gum thanks to its solvent properties. Dampen a cotton ball with some rubbing alcohol and dab it over the gum until it separates from fabric. Make sure to rinse and wash the clothing afterwards.


In addition to being used as a first try technique, WD-40 works for stubborn gum since it contains petroleum distillates. Generously spray WD-40 over the gum, let it sit for 5 minutes, then scrape away. Wash clothing after treatment.

Keywords: Goo Gone for gum removal, acetone nail polish remover on gum, rubbing alcohol removes gum, WD-40 dissolves gum

Homemade Gum Removal Solutions

If you don’t have any commercial products on hand, these DIY solutions using common household ingredients can also work to get gum out of clothes:

  • Vinegar – Mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water, then soak the gum-stained fabric for 30 minutes before rubbing off the gum.
  • Essential Oils – Oils like eucalyptus, tea tree, or lemon oils contain solvent properties. Mix a few drops of oil with 1 teaspoon dish soap and apply it to the gum.
  • Baking Soda – Make a paste with baking soda and water. Apply it to the gum and let sit for 20 minutes before scrubbing and washing. The abrasiveness helps remove the sticky gum.
  • Duct Tape – Press a piece of duct tape over the gum to stick to it. Then slowly peel the tape away, pulling the gum with it.

Always make sure to wash the clothing after using any homemade gum removal solutions. This ensures all the cleaning agents are properly rinsed away.

Keywords: homemade gum removal, DIY gum remover, vinegar for gum on clothes, essential oils remove gum, baking soda removes gum, duct tape removes gum

Removing Gum from Specific Fabrics and Garments

Depending on the type of clothing the gum is stuck to, you may need to use special methods. Here are some tips for getting gum out of some common clothing materials:

Cotton and Polyester

Most gum removal methods are safe to use on cotton and polyester fabrics. Scrape off what you can first, then apply ice, oils, solvents, or homemade solutions until the gum is gone. Make sure to rinse thoroughly.

Wool and Cashmere

Wool and cashmere fabrics need gentler methods since they can easily be damaged. Use ice to harden the gum, then gently flake off what you can with a dull tool or your fingernails. For any remaining gum, apply eucalyptus or tea tree oil mixed with dish soap, then rinse. Avoid harsh solvents on wool.


Silk is a delicate fabric prone to water spots and discoloration. Hardened the gum with ice, then use a cloth dampened with white vinegar to dab and rub the gum until it dissolves. Make sure to hand wash the silk garment immediately afterwards.

Leather and Suede

On leather or suede, rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover work best since they evaporate without leaving a residue. Apply either one to the gum with a cotton ball. As it dissolves, gently rub it away, then clean with a suede brush. Avoid using water or oils.

Upholstery and Carpet

For gum in upholstery or carpet, ice and oils can work to harden and dissolve the gum. You can also use solvents like lighter fluid or WD-40 – apply liberally, let soak in, then scrape. For carpet, rub the fibers with a damp cloth afterwards to get any remaining residue.

Keywords: removing gum from cotton, wool, cashmere, silk, leather, suede, upholstery, carpet

Preventing Gum from Sticking to Clothes

To avoid having to deal with removing gum from clothes, follow these tips to be proactive:

  • Avoid leaning against surfaces with gum stuck to them, like railings or under desks. Check seating areas before sitting.
  • Keep gum wrapped until you’re ready to chew it so it doesn’t accidentally stick to clothing.
  • Discard used gum properly in trash cans. Never stick gum under tables or chairs.
  • Cuff pants or roll up sleeves if walking through an area with gum on the ground.
  • Keep gum away from clothing in bags, pockets, or backpacks so it doesn’t accidentally smear.
  • Don’t put clothing in the laundry with gum still stuck to it to prevent spreading.
  • Clean gum residue off of furniture, bags, car interior, etc. so old gum doesn’t transfer.
  • Be aware of belongings when chewing gum so you can discard it before it sticks.

Staying aware of surroundings and being careful when chewing gum can go a long way in preventing annoying gum residue on clothing!

Keywords: stop gum getting on clothes, avoid gum sticking to fabric, gum prevention tips

When to Call for Professional Help

In some cases, you may need to call in a professional for gum removal if:

  • The gum has been stuck to the fabric for days or weeks. Old, hardened gum can be almost impossible to remove at home.
  • It’s a large piece of gum or spans a wide area that needs a chemical solvent to be fully dissolved and cleaned.
  • It’s a delicate or expensive garment like a wedding dress or coat. Professionals have experience working with fragile fabrics.
  • At-home methods have been unsuccessful and you’ve run out of options. Professionals have access to special tools and commercial-grade products.
  • The stain has set because the fabric wasn’t cared for right away. Set stains need a deeper clean.
  • It’s an antique piece, vintage garment, or specialty costume that requires expert care.

For valuable or unsalvageable pieces, call a dry cleaner or fabric restoration specialist. It’s better to let the experts handle it than risk damaging it.

Keywords: when to call professional for gum removal, dry cleaner for gum stains, fabric restoration for gum stuck on clothing


As inconvenient as getting gum stuck to clothing may be, rest assured it can be removed with the proper methods. First try scraping, ice, oils, or WD-40 for recent gum stains. For stubborn residue, use solvents like Goo Gone, nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol or homemade solutions. Always test products first and wash fabrics after treatment. Certain materials like wool or leather need gentler techniques. Stay vigilant in public and while chewing gum to keep it off clothing in the first place. With some diligence and the right techniques, you can say goodbye to gum stuck on clothes for good!

Sharing Is Caring:

As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.

Leave a Comment