How to Remove Gum from the Dryer

Dear Home-Ec 101,

I / my husband / my kid didn’t check their pockets and now my dryer smells minty fresh, but is covered with with gum. How do I get the gum out of the dryer and off of the clothing?

Signed,

Several Home-Ec Readers this Week

Heather says:

Thankfully, removing gum from the dryer is more of a pain in the butt than actually difficult. There are a couple of approaches you can take.

The Melt it off Method.

Use a hair dryer to heat the gum until it is pliable and then scrape the gum off of the dryer.

The Freeze it Off Method.

Get a handful of ice cubes and a nylon scraper or an old credit card.  Apply the ice cube to the gum and then scrape it off. Repeat until all of the visible gum has been removed.

Whichever method you use, inspect the drum carefully, the gum is sneaky and will hide where the fin meets the drum and on the back wall, and on door, etc. Use a flashlight to be sure there isn’t any gum hiding in the drum.

Then get either Goo Gone or for electric dryers WD-40 works, too -do NOT use WD-40 in a gas dryer- and apply the solvent to paper towels. Carefully and thoroughly wipe out the entire inside of the dryer drum. This is to get rid of any lingering gum residue that might be hard to see. Do not skip the rinsing step. It is especially important if you used WD-40.

The next load through the RINSED dryer should be a load of rags, not your best blouse or favorite jeans. Got that?

How to Remove Gum from Clothing

First pick off as much gum as possible.  To remove the rest of the gum from put the article of clothing in the freezer until the gum becomes brittle or apply an ice cube directly to the gum. Then use a credit card or nylon scraper on sturdy fabrics, like denim, to scrape off the remaining gum. On more delicate fabrics, use your fingers to pick off the brittle gum and then use an old toothbrush to remove the rest.

Good luck!

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Comments

  1. Oh lord, this whole thought gives me the shivers. I don't think I could survive this one. I'd have to sell my washer and buy a new one: (

  2. Melissa says:

    you can also dip a toothbrush into warm vinegar and gently scrub the gum off. it kind of dissolves and balls up on the toothbrush, and it's pretty gentle on most clothes/carpets. you can also use the warm vinegar to wipe out the dryer.

  3. Dawn Works!
    I just got rid of gum that was all over my maytag dryer drum. I noticed it after a load had dried. Turned off the dryer ran to my pc to look up how to remove. Didn’t like the “long methods” suggested so I went to Dawn Dish washing soap – my favorite go to for stains, food removal etc.
     
     I wet a yellow with a coarser green sided sponge with warm water, put Dawn on the green side and proceeded to scrub the drum. To my relief the gum started to come off everything! Finished entire drum in short time, wiped off all the soap and residue and I am back in business! P.S. I don’t have any affiliation with Dawn etc. but it works great! Gail

    • Hi,

      I just wanted to second that. Maybe sometimes it’s necessary to resort to the more complicated method described in this article, but like Gail, I had plenty of success with dish soap, warm water, a scrubbing sponge, and a little elbow grease. FYI it was a GE gas dryer with what I presume is a stainless steel drum.

  4. Thanks for the tip.  What I ended up doing was putting 3 ragged towels (OK -
    “backup” towels) in the washer with a lot of powdered soap and getting them good and wet,  then wringing them out and putting them in dryer.  It removed 95% of the gum.

  5. I agree with several other people that said good old fashioned Dawn liquid soap worked best for removing gum from the dryer drum! We tried rubbing alcohol, and then Goo Gone but both required lots of rubbing and smelled bad. I figured I would have to wash out the dryer with dish soap anyway….so I thought hey I will just skip a step. I switched instead to some Dawn in a warm bucket of water, and a scrubber sponge (the non-scratch kind). It required some elbow grease, but worked better than the Goo Gone and left no smelly residue on the inside. I’m sure any dish liquid soap would work, I just happen to be a fan of Dawn. Hope this helps someone else!

  6. ShellyFrameKing says:

    Well, I have to say that I was TOTALLY STOKED when I tried my Shaklee H2 cleaner and the wet downy dryer sheet.  There was gum all over, and I do mean all over the dryer drum.  I used the Shaklee product, downy dryer sheet and then wiped down with a wet dish rag and it came right off.  There were some areas that I had to apply a little more, but it all gone!  Thank you for sharing!