How To Get Smeared Gum Out Of Clothes With Vinegar

How to Get Smeared Gum Out of Clothes With Vinegar

how to get smeared gum out of clothes with vinegar

Luckily there are a lot of ways to remove a gum stain and gum residue after it has been smeared on your favorite pants, shirt, or more.

Removing hardened gum from your clothing isn’t super difficult but it has to be done carefully. Read on and I’ll share some great tips and tricks for getting leftover gum and chewing gum stains out of your clothes for good.

Supplies You’ll Need

To remove a gum stain from your clothing, you will need a few ingredients. There are many ways to remove this kind of stain but one of the better and most common ways is with vinegar.

There are four main supplies you will need:

1. Distilled White Vinegar

You can find distilled white vinegar at almost any grocery store. It’s inexpensive and has effective cleaning properties for lots of different household cleaning jobs.

2. Toothbrush

When cleaning with a toothbrush, you should pick one with medium or hard bristles so it withstands the pressure of cleaning.

Buy a new manual toothbrush for any household cleaning job. You can also use an old toothbrush that has been disinfected.

3. Microwave-Safe Cup or Container

Be sure to microwave the vinegar in a microwave-safe container. You want to avoid any accidents here!

It’s better to use a glass container when heating vinegar but ceramic or plastic will work fine.

4. Stain Remover (Fabric-Safe)

Feel free to use any stain remover that’s fabric-safe. As long as it’s formulated to be gentle enough that it won’t ruin the fabric, you should be fine to use it for this gum stain removal.

Steps to Remove Chewing Gum From Clothes

Now that you have the materials needed to get the stain out there are five main steps:

1. Remove as Much as Possible by Hand First

Removing as much as you can by hand is a great way to minimize the amount of gum you will have to scrub. The best way to do this is by gently picking the gum off the fabric.

2. Heat the Vinegar in the Microwave Until Very Hot

Once you’ve removed all the gum you can by hand,  move on to using the vinegar for the remaining gum.

Heat the vinegar in the microwave-safe container until it’s hot but not boiling.

3. Dip the Toothbrush in the Vinegar and Rub Off the Gum While It Is Still Hot

While the vinegar is still hot, dip the toothbrush into the solution. Next, gently scrub the gum stain with the toothbrush.

Use careful circular motions so you don’t scrub the stain further into the garment.

4. Repeat Until the Gum is Gone

Repeat this process carefully and gently until the gum is fully dissolved.

5. Rub Any Remaining Stain With a Stain Remover Bar or Fabric-Safe Stain Remover Solution

Once the gum removal is complete, you might still have a bit of a stain left over. If this is the case, gently rub the stain with a fabric-safe stain remover solution.

Follow the instructions on the packaging of the stain-remover for best results.

Does Gum Dissolve in Vinegar?

White vinegar does dissolve chewing gum. It works best when the vinegar is hot and you let the vinegar sit for a little while to break down the gum.

It won’t dissolve fully on its own so you’ll need to put a little muscle into it to get rid of it completely.

Additional Ways to Remove Chewing Gum From Clothes

additional ways to remove chewing gum from clothes

Maybe you don’t have white vinegar on hand or you want to avoid using it on your clothes. There are a few other methods that you can use to remove chewing gum from clothing and shoes.

Removing Gum by Freezing

You may have heard of this one before. Using extreme cold is another way to deal with gum on objects or fabric. Once the sticky gum freezes you can peel it off.

  • First, place the item in a storage bag.
  • After it freezes for a few hours, remove the item.
  • Now you can peel off the gum or use a butter knife to remove it.
  • If a stain is left then be sure to use a stain remover to get it out.

Using an Iron

The opposite logic applies here: the idea is to get the gum hot enough that it melts to another substance and transfers off of the first one.

To do this:

  1. Let the iron warm up and cut a square of brown paper.
  2. Place the brown paper on the gum side, then iron on the other side.
  3. Iron carefully against the paper. As you iron, the gum should melt onto the paper and you can peel it off!
  4. Again, treat any remaining stains as you normally would.

Removing Chewing Gum With Rubbing Alcohol

Using rubbing alcohol is less common but it still works just as well. All you need to do is pour it onto the stain then rub the area until the gum loosens.

Scrape off the rest with a blunt knife like a butter knife. Rub the stain with a stain remover bar and wash the item as usual.

WD-40 Spray Lubricant

WD-40 should be used only on fabrics that can take its harsh chemical composition.

To remove the gum, spray it onto the area and let it sit for a few minutes. Next take a paper towel and wipe the area clean. Be sure to wash it afterward as WD-40 and other lubricants leave a light oil that stays until removed.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice works similarly to vinegar because they’re both naturally acidic solutions. Follow the same process as the vinegar method but scrape the gum off with a butterknife versus rubbing it.

Goo Gone and Other Remover Solutions

Goo Gone and other remover solutions are specially formulated with chemical solvents to remove tough problems like wax, gum, and adhesives from clothing.

Follow the instructions on the bottle and you should get great results. Cleaning products like this aren’t natural compounds so be careful with delicate fabrics, especially on expensive garments like a prom dress or suit.

Some have a very strong smell as well so you’ll want to have good ventilation to be safe.

How Do You Remove Gum From Clothes After the Clothes Dryer?

how do you remove gum from clothes after the clothes dryer

What happens if you find out you had gum on your clothes while they were in the clothes dryer? Don’t worry – it’s not the end of the world just yet.

Removing the Chewing Gum

For post-dryer clothes with gum I recommend the freezing or ironing method. However, you can use any of the methods we have covered here as you see fit.

Stain Removal

Use a fabric-safe stain removing product per the specific instructions to get the stain out of your clothes. Goo Gone and products like it cost money but they can save you a lot of time and hassle.

How Do You Get Gum Off Objects That Are Not Clothing?

how do you get gum off objects that are not clothing

Getting gum off of other objects can also be a hassle. Depending on the object you can use the freezing method pretty easily. If it’s a large object, like car seats, treat the area with an adhesive removal product for best results.

James Marshall
About the author

James is a business management professional and consultant with a former background in maintenance, repair, and hands-on projects. He enjoys DIY tasks and maintenance around the home as well as part-time writing. Read more »