- We all went through this nightmare at least once: the sticky gum accidentally landing on and sticking to our favorite clothes, bed sheets, or just remaining all over the place forever.
- The widespread myth says that if the sticky gum appears on the textile, you can basically throw the item away. We break this myth in the article below!
- Let us share with you several easy ways to get gum out of your clothes or bed sheets, from the freeze method and the button knife to white spirit to vinegar to cooking oil and peanut butter. Read how to get gum out of your bed sheets, carpet, and clothes.
A piece of chewing gum on the fabric
Whether it’s your clothing or any other household item, such as bed sheets or a comfy upholstered armchair, having chewing gum stuck to it can be a pain.
How to get gum out of the textile quickly without ruining the fabric?
Decades ago, having this chewing gum “sticky pleasure” attached to the fabric was equivalent to losing this particular piece of clothing or item. Luckily, these days are gone!
There are methods developed to help you remove gum and the remaining stain from the fabrics utterly.
What’s more, this process isn’t costly at all! All you need may already be in your house and waiting to get this party going.
Important: Before you proceed with any chewing gum cleaning processes, always pay attention to the label and care instructions written on the fabric of your clothing.
Let’s browse a couple of proven methods to remove chewing gum from the clothing, carpet, or bed sheets.
Freezer or ice cubes
Hold on tight; it’s going to be freezing in this chapter!
You may have already heard about this method, as it’s one of the most popular. It’s very effective in most cases, so you may use it once and not need other solutions to remove gum.
- a freezer or ice cubes (if you don’t have space for bed sheets in your freezer),
- spatula (or your fingers),
- some sort of white spirit (solvent);
Let’s see what’s the step-by-step process of removing the gum out of bed sheets or other textiles:
Step 1: Put your bed sheets in the freezer
At first, fold your bed sheets or other fabric you are cleaning to fit inside the freezer.
Tip: Remember that gum should be exposed, i.e., on the outside of the textile you’re working on.
Let your fabric sit in the freezer as long as needed for the gum to freeze. Usually, you need to wait a couple of hours before the gum hardens.
Important: Make sure the gum is not covered by any other piece of paper or fabric—it has to be completely uncovered.
If you don’t have a freezer or your bed sheets are too large for it, reach out for an ice pack with ice cubes.
To do so, take a bunch of ice cubes and rub the gum gently.
Then cover the gum with the ice bag and leave it like this for about half an hour, or as much time as needed until the gum hardens.
Tip: Use ice cubes to chill the silly putty and make it easier to scratch it away later.
Step 2: Scrape the gum off the fabric
Now, when the gum is frozen, hard, and not sticky anymore, you can easily scratch it off.
For gum to be easily removed in this step, take the spatula—or use your fingers and nails—and start to gently pull and scrape as much gum from the fabric as you can.
After removing the majority of the gum, take a butter knife and gently pick away the remaining bits.
Important: Don’t use any tool that’s too sharp, and be gentle when you scrape it—you’re working on saving your fabric from destruction, not on further ruining it differently.
So, first, remove as much gum as you can with your fingers or butter knife, then place an ice pack in a freezer bag on top of the remaining gum until it has stiffened completely. Next, gently peel the gum off and scrub away any remnants with an old toothbrush.
Step 3: Getting rid of the stain
After you scrubbed the gum away, likely, some sort of stain will still be visible. In this case, take a sponge, immerse it in the white spirit and start blotting the stain of the gum.
Is there still any stain residue on the delicate fabrics of your bed sheets?
Then, blot the fabric again, and do it as much as necessary for the stain to disappear completely.
Step 4: Wash your bed sheets in a regular way
After removing gum and making the stain disappear, it’s time to wash your bed sheets.
Important: Remember to follow the care label instructions of your particular fabric.
If you want to strengthen the washing effect, rub the stain with some soap or stain remover before tossing it into a washer.
After you have washed your fabric, check carefully if the stain has disappeared. If it did, you can go ahead and air-dry it. But if you notice that the stain is still there despite the magic you’re creating—go back and repeat the third and fourth steps.
Don’t leave it like this! Otherwise, the gum stain might get even deeper into the fabric.
Although freezing is the most popular method, it’s not the only way to remove gum from bed sheets.
You can also use a good old hairspray, known to be an effective spray stain remover.
Simply spray it on the gum generously. After a few seconds, the gum will harden, making it possible for you to scratch it away and wash your clothes or bedding as usual.
Lemon juice and vinegar
Let us share these two classy homey solutions to the problem with you. Similarly to, for example, baking soda, they both have plenty of purposes—many of them refer to cleaning.
To remove gum from bed sheets, dip the fabric with the piece of gum facing the lemon juice.
Then, take a spatula and gently remove the gum away.
In the end, wash your bed sheets as usual.
Similarly, with white vinegar. This kitchen-originated solution is just as helpful if you want to remove gum and its residue and shake off the trouble. This good old multipurpose hero of every household will handle the issue amazingly in a few easy steps:
First, heat the vinegar in a small pot.
Once it gets hot, dip in a toothbrush, and use it to scrub the soiled fabric of your garment, carpet, or bedding.
Some people say to immerse the gummy area in the heat of this liquid for up to three minutes. Others advise to let it sit there and soak for a few hours or even overnight.
Give it a little elbow grease, and the gum should come right off.
Tip: Don’t forget to wash your item after every “operation” of a kind. With vinegar, you may also want to conduct the process in a well-ventilated area, not leaving too much unpleasant scent in your place.
All in all, in both cases, you have to immerse the gum in one of the magic liquids mentioned above and leave it to soak.
Depending on how hard the gum is, soak it for a few hours or overnight. Then, you should be able to easily scrape or brush the gum off.
In the end, give the fabric a cold-water wash to remove gum specks that may have worked their way deep into the fabric.
We understand why this solution may seem unusual to you at first. Throughout the article, we have been trying to get rid of the greasy stain; Why should we now put any oils on our dear fabric purposefully?
So, oil, unlike other solutions, doesn’t harden the gum. It softens it!
Funnily enough, you can use not only the most typical kind of oil, i.e., cooking oil, but also mayonnaise or even peanut butter!
Yet, you probably don’t want to cover clothes in peanut butter or cooking oil, and we totally understand why!
Luckily, good old-fashioned ice can harden the gum and reduce its stickiness (see the method described above). It’s not that we don’t appreciate all the good things that come with peanut butter!
So use the oil of your choice to rub the gum all over. Then, scratch it off the fabric with your fingers or spatula.
Use a towel to wipe up every last bit of the remaining oil.
Finally, drop your bed sheets into the washing machine.
Important: Wash the fabric immediately after you scrape the gum off, unless you want to have another oily stain to have to deal with.
Try another method if you aren’t sure how the fabric will react to oil (e.g., if the fabric is really delicate). It’s not worth the risk to experiment with your beloved bed sheets!
The idea at the base is to clean gum with more gum.
Here’s how to put duct tape or other gum into practice:
First, take your “fighter,” attach it to the gum and pull off the stuck-on gum.
Tip: Apply the chewed gum or tape directly to the stuck-on gum—you don’t want to add more sticky substances to adjacent areas of a bed sheet.
Here you go!
Hopefully, you no longer believe that gum stuck on your clothes or bedding is the end of the world.
Choose the method wisely and remember to always pay attention to the care label instructions before taking action.