How to Remove Gum from Clothing

Dear Home Ec 101,

I sat on gum in my favorite pants!

Or more like, one of the few pairs of pants I own. I went to see the after midnight showing of the first day Harry Potter came out, and halfway through the movie I went to snuggle on my boyfriend and found my pants sticking and not moving with me. Some jerk had stuck their gum on top of the seat! It’s smeared into the weave really well by weight of butt and force of twisting in my seat and I have no clue how to get it out. Please help?

Signed,
Stuck in St. Cloud


Heather says:

I’ve been wanting to see that movie, but I think I might wait until next year so I can watch both parts in succession.

Removing gum from washable fabric takes several steps. If you have room in your freezer, place the article with the gum inside.

When the gum is brittle, crumble it and gently scrape away as much as possible with plastic knife, a nylon scraper¹, or a plastic putty knife. If the item doesn’t fit in the freezer, you can use an ice cube and achieve nearly the same effect, only now things will get wet.

Once almost all of the gum is off the item of clothing the residue can be removed with oil, then the oil stain will need to be addressed.

If your pants are dry clean only, skip the next step and use dry cleaning solvent, like you’d find in a box of Dryel, to remove the residue. Be careful!

If your pants are washable, work a small amount of cooking oil into the stain until the last of the gum has released from the fibers. Some people suggest using WD-40 or peanut butter, it’s the same principle, like dissolves like.

Now grab a box of corn starch and sprinkle it over the new stain. Tamp the cornstarch gently into the material, allow it sit for a moment, shake it out, and apply fresh corn starch to the area. Repeat until there is no more improvement.

Now you can use your favorite laundry stain pre-treatment or rub a small amount of liquid detergent into the stain before laundering. If you gently rub the detergent into the stain allow it to sit a few minutes before washing in the hottest water tolerated by your fabric.

Send your questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.

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Comments

  1. Dawn dish detergent is the best oil remover I have ever used. And I've tried them all. Saturate the oil stain with Dawn and let sit overnight or for a couple of days. Wash in lukewarm water and air dry. If there is still a residual stain, repeat. The air drying prevents the stain from setting allowing the repeat process to be a success.

  2. Dawn is good and some people swear by Lestoil, but I've never tried that one.

  3. Gayle Seaver says:

    Chewed gum went through the wash and attached to mostly nylon gym shorts.  It WOULDN’T FREEZE even overnight in the freezer.  I found I could scrape the heaviest off with my fingernails, then using masking tape lift off the rest.  For the residue I used Shaklee Basic I, a heavy duty cleaner.  I rubbed it in and then found after a few minutes it balled up as I scraped and took all residue off.  This stuff is great for stains.  Need to test a spot as it will lift color on some things. I used it as a pretreat for bad stains so the shorts were ready for the wash.  Couldn’t believe the gum wouldn’t freeze!