How to Remove Gum from Clothes After It’s Been Washed

How to Remove Gum from Clothes After It's Been Washed

Gum on clothes can be a sticky situation, especially if it goes unnoticed and ends up going through the washer and dryer. However, fear not! There are effective methods to remove gum from clothes even after it has been washed. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various techniques and tips to help you tackle this challenge and restore your garments to their former glory.

Remove What You Can

As soon as you discover gum on your clothes, it’s crucial to act quickly. Start by removing any loose bits of gum that can be easily pulled off. To prevent the gum from sticking to your hand, consider wearing rubber gloves. However, be cautious about what you touch afterward to avoid spreading the mess. If the gum is too sticky to handle, hang the affected items on hangers or a clothesline in a cool area away from direct sunlight. This will not only make it easier to see all the problem spots but also prevent the gum from spreading to other areas.

It’s important to thoroughly check inside items such as skirts, shirts, or socks, as gum can sometimes find its way inside. Once the items have cooled down, you can start picking off as much gum as possible by hand. Additionally, plastic knives and spoons can be used to gently scrape off the gum. Dispose of the picked-off gum in a trash bag, taking care not to create a secondary mess.

Hard Gum Equals Removable Gum

Heat can turn gum into a sticky, stretchy mess, while cold temperatures can make it easier to remove. If the gum is spread over multiple garments, it’s essential to locate all the affected areas. Place the item in the freezer with the gum facing upward, ensuring it doesn’t touch anything else. If the garment is large, fold it as needed to fit it in the freezer. To prevent the gum from sticking to other parts of the fabric, place wax paper between folds or set the item on wax paper. Leave the garment in the freezer for about an hour or until the gum hardens.

In situations where the freezer is not an option, you can use ice cubes or an ice pack in a zippered plastic bag. Simply place the ice on top of the gum and leave it for approximately 15 minutes. This will harden the gum, making it easier to remove. Gently pry the gum off by hand, depositing it into the trash. For any remaining gum bits stuck in the clothing fibers, you can use a plastic spoon or knife to coax them out.

Try a Hot Vinegar Soak

For colorfast clothing, a hot white vinegar soak can work wonders in loosening any lingering gum. Start by heating a small amount of white vinegar in a microwave-safe container or on the stove until it’s fairly hot, but not scalding or boiling. Soak the remaining gum-affected areas of the clothing in the hot vinegar for several minutes. The vinegar will help loosen the gum from the fabric. Using a plastic spoon, gently scrape off the gum and dispose of it in a trash bag.

Alternative Gum Removal Methods

Apart from freezing and using vinegar, there are other alternative methods to remove gum from clothes after it’s been washed. These methods may not be as widely known, but they can be equally effective in tackling stubborn gum stains.

Peanut Butter Method

Believe it or not, peanut butter can come to the rescue when it comes to removing gum from clothes. Apply a small amount of peanut butter directly onto the gum stain and let it sit for a few minutes. The oils in the peanut butter will help break down the gum, making it easier to remove. Afterward, carefully scrape off the gum and wash the garment as usual to remove any residue from the peanut butter.

Rubbing Alcohol Method

Rubbing alcohol is another handy household item that can be used to tackle gum stains on clothes. Moisten a clean cloth or cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and gently dab it onto the gum. Allow the alcohol to penetrate the gum for a few minutes, then use a plastic spoon or knife to scrape off the gum. Finally, wash the clothing according to the care instructions to remove any traces of the rubbing alcohol.

Hair Dryer Method

If you don’t have access to a freezer or prefer not to use heat, a hair dryer can be a useful tool. Set the hair dryer to its highest heat setting and direct the hot air onto the gum for a few minutes. As the gum heats up, it will become softer and easier to remove. Use a plastic spoon or knife to scrape off the gum while it is still warm. Remember to exercise caution while using the hair dryer to avoid burning yourself or damaging the fabric.

Applying an Adhesive Remover

In cases where gum residue remains stuck to the fabric even after trying the aforementioned methods, an adhesive remover can be the solution. Look for fabric-safe adhesive removers such as Goo Gone or WD-40. Saturate the gum-stuck area of the fabric with the product and allow it to soak for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. The adhesive remover will soften the remnants of gum, making it easier to wipe them away with a cloth. Alternatively, you can use a dry-cleaning solvent following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Treating Remaining Stains

Even after successfully removing the gum, there is a possibility of a stain remaining on the fabric. This is especially true if the gum was colored or left behind any residue. To treat these stains, you can utilize various stain removers or DIY alternatives.

Start by applying a generous amount of stain remover to the affected area and let it soak for the recommended time. This can be a prewash stain-remover spray, gel, or DIY solutions like liquid dish soap, white vinegar, or rubbing alcohol. After the stain remover has had time to work, launder the clothing as usual. If any stains persist, repeat the process until the stains are completely gone.

Consult Professionals if Needed

In some cases, removing gum from clothes after it has been washed may prove to be a challenging task. If you’ve exhausted all your options and still can’t get rid of the gum or its stains, it may be time to seek the assistance of professionals. Consult a local dry-cleaning business and explain the situation. They have the expertise and specialized equipment to handle tough stains, and they may be able to restore your garment to its original condition.

Additional Tips and Precautions

Removing gum from clothes after it’s been washed can be a delicate process. Here are some additional tips and precautions to keep in mind:

  • Act quickly: The sooner you notice and address the gum, the better your chances of successful removal.
  • Test in inconspicuous areas: Before using any gum removal methods or stain removers, test them on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric to ensure they don’t cause any damage or discoloration.
  • Follow care instructions: Always refer to the care instructions on the clothing label and follow them when washing or treating the garment.
  • Be patient: Removing gum from clothes can take time and multiple attempts. Patience and persistence are key to achieving the best results.


Discovering gum on your clothes after it has been through the washer and dryer can be frustrating, but it’s not an impossible problem to solve. By employing the right techniques and following the step-by-step methods outlined in this guide, you can successfully remove gum from clothes and restore them to their pre-gum glory. Remember to act quickly, choose the method that suits your situation best, and exercise caution to avoid damaging the fabric. With a little patience and determination, you can bid farewell to those sticky gum stains and enjoy fresh, gum-free clothing once again.

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