How To Get Gum Off Your Clothes

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Chewing gum has a bad habit of ending up on clothes. And because gum is a sticky treat, it can quickly pick up all kinds of dirt, making the stain worse! Removing gum stains is a two-step process of scraping off the majority of the gum, and then removing the leftover residue with a cleaner or stain remover. With a little patience and tenacity, you can remove gum from almost any piece of clothing. Never put a gum-stained item in the washing machine or, worse, the dryer. The heat from the dryer will not only set the color of the gum stain into your favorite shirt, but it will also melt the gum so that it can easily transfer to other clothes. Before you get started, make sure that you have these tools and materials on hand:

  • Butter knife
  • Plastic bag
  • Ice
  • Liquid dishwashing detergent
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Laundry detergent

Before you begin cleaning your piece of clothing, make sure to read the tag to determine if it is dry clean only. If it is labeled as dry clean only, harden the gum and remove as much of it as you can. Then, head to your dry cleaner and make sure to point out the stain.

  1. Place the piece of clothing into the plastic bag and put it in the freezer for several hours. If the gum stain is on the smaller size, place ice cubes directly on the gum for a few minutes to harden it.
  2. Next, take the garment out of the freezer or remove the ice cubes and immediately scrape off the gum with the butter knife. The goal is to remove as much gum as possible. Following this step, if there is a large amount of gum left, repeat steps 1 and 2.
  3. Then, treat the remaining remnants with an equal mixture of liquid dishwashing detergent and white distilled vinegar. Gently work the solution into the affected spot. Allow the mixture to sit for 15 minutes before moving onto the following step.
  4. Last, launder the garment as you usually would. Following the wash, make sure to inspect the stained area carefully before drying. If any of the stain is still there, treat it again with the soap and vinegar mixture, then wash again. Do not dry in your dryer unless the stain is completely gone.


If a gum stain has become old and dry, use petroleum jelly to loosen the gum from your clothing. Add a small amount of petroleum to a cotton swab and work it into the fabric around the base of the gum. The gum will loosen enough for you to pick it off. Before washing the clothing, make sure to treat the fabric to remove the grease stain caused by the petroleum jelly. Use a stain remover or a laundry detergent to pretreat the stain. Allow 15 minutes for the stain remover to work, and then launder as usual.