Getting gum stuck to your clothing can be a frustrating experience. The sticky mess seems impossible to remove, and you may worry that your favorite garment is ruined. But fear not! With the right techniques and a little bit of patience, you can successfully remove dried gum from clothing. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through various methods and home remedies to tackle this stubborn stain. So let’s get started!
Testing for Colorfastness
Before you begin any gum removal method, it’s essential to test the fabric for colorfastness. Apply a small amount of hot vinegar to an inconspicuous area of the garment using a Q-tip. Let it sit for 1-3 minutes, then place a paper towel on the area. If no color transfers to the towel, it is safe to proceed with the gum removal process.
Freezing the Gum
One of the simplest and most effective ways to remove dried gum from clothing is by freezing it. Follow these steps:
- Fold the garment so that the gum is facing outwards.
- Place the garment in a plastic bag, ensuring the gum doesn’t stick to the bag.
- Seal the bag and put it in the freezer for approximately 2 hours.
- Once the gum is frozen, remove the bag and scrape off the gum using an old, dull knife or a butter knife.
Remember to scrape off the gum as soon as possible after removing it from the freezer, as it becomes harder to remove once it thaws out.
Using Hot Vinegar
Hot vinegar can be an effective solution for removing dried gum from clothing. Here’s how to do it:
- Heat 1 cup (240 mL) of white vinegar either in the microwave or on the stove until it is just below a boil.
- Dip a clean toothbrush into the hot vinegar and use it to scrub the gum.
- Continue dipping and rubbing until the gum is gone.
- Wash the clothes as usual to remove any vinegar residue.
Applying Laundry Soap
Liquid laundry soap can also be used to remove gum from clothing. Follow these steps:
- Cover the gum with a generous amount of liquid laundry soap.
- Use a toothbrush to work the soap into the gum, breaking it up and making it easier to scrape off.
- After scrubbing for a minute or so, gently scrape away at the gum with a blunt knife.
- Rinse off any remaining soap or wash the garment as usual.
The ironing method involves transferring the gum from the fabric to a piece of cardboard. Here’s how to do it:
- Place the garment or fabric on top of a piece of cardboard, ensuring the gum is between the fabric and the cardboard.
- Set your iron to a medium temperature.
- Iron over the affected area, applying gentle pressure.
- The gum will transfer onto the cardboard from the fabric.
- Be cautious not to burn the fabric or the cardboard.
Using Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol can be an effective solution for removing gum from delicate fabrics. Follow these steps:
- Dab a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto the gum.
- Let the alcohol sit for a couple of minutes to loosen the gum.
- Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape off the gum.
Scrubbing with Toothpaste
Toothpaste can be used to harden the gum, making it easier to remove. Here’s how:
- Flatten the gum as much as possible with a credit card or a dull knife blade.
- Apply a dab of standard white toothpaste onto the gum and let it air dry.
- As the toothpaste hardens, it will also harden the gum, making it easier to scrape off with a dull blade or credit card.
Hairspray can be used to harden the gum, facilitating its removal. Follow these steps:
- Spray a small amount of hairspray directly onto the gum.
- Allow the hairspray to harden for a couple of minutes, forming a “shell” over the gum.
- Once the gum has hardened, gently pull it off the fabric.
- Wash the clothes to remove any residue from the hairspray.
Peanut Butter Method
Peanut butter may sound unconventional, but it can effectively unstick gum from clothing. Here’s how to use it:
- Cover the affected area with creamy peanut butter.
- Let the fats and oils in the peanut butter work to make the gum less sticky for a couple of minutes.
- Scrape off the peanut butter and gum with a dull blade or a credit card.
Be cautious when applying peanut butter to clothing, as it may stain. Test it on a discreet area of the fabric before using it on the gum.
Using Duct Tape
Duct tape can be a handy tool for removing gum from clothing. Follow these steps:
- Cut a strip of duct tape and press it firmly onto the gum, ensuring it covers the entire piece of gum.
- Pull the tape off to peel the gum away.
- Repeat this process if necessary, especially for stubborn gum stains.
Avoid sticking the tape to the fabric itself, as it may be more challenging to remove.
Benzocaine Topical Cream
Benzocaine topical cream, such as Lanacane, can be used to lift gum from clothing. Here’s how:
- Remove as much of the gum as possible manually.
- Apply a small amount of benzocaine topical cream to the remaining gum.
- Wait for approximately 30 seconds, and then scrape off the gum with a blunt knife.
Benzocaine topical cream can be found at drug stores or grocery stores.
Using Gasoline or Lighter Fluid
Gasoline or lighter fluid can be used to dissolve the gum. Follow these steps:
- Dab a small amount of gasoline or lighter fluid onto the gum, ensuring it covers the entire area.
- Use a knife, toothbrush, or putty knife to wipe away any excess gum residue.
- Wash the clothing according to its normal laundering instructions to remove any odor or color left over from the gasoline or lighter fluid.
Be cautious when using flammable liquids and avoid contact with skin and inhalation of fumes.
WD-40 can help loosen up gum and make it easier to scrape off. Follow these steps:
- Spray a small amount of WD-40 onto the affected area, covering the gum completely.
- Use a brush to rub the gum vigorously.
- Take a rag or a wire brush and continue rubbing the spot until the gum is removed.
- Wash the clothes as usual to remove any residue from the WD-40.
Taking It to a Professional Cleaner
If all else fails or if you are dealing with a delicate or expensive garment, it may be best to take it to a professional cleaner. They have access to specialized solvents that can effectively remove gum stains without damaging the fabric. While it may cost you, it is your best chance at saving a valued piece of clothing.
Removing dried gum from clothing may seem like a daunting task, but with the right techniques and a little patience, it can be done. Whether you choose to freeze the gum, use hot vinegar, apply laundry soap, or opt for one of the other methods mentioned in this guide, always remember to test for colorfastness and handle the fabric with care. By following these tips and tricks, you can successfully bid farewell to gum stains and restore your clothing to its former glory.