How to Remove Chewing Gum

If your chewing gum does not lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight, it will most certainly lose its flavor and wear out its welcome if it becomes stuck to your bedspread, pajamas, carpet or wood floor. The same qualities that make it so great for chewing and blowing bubbles also make it difficult to remove chewing gum when it becomes stuck to fabrics, carpet, or wood. It may take a few tries, but you can remove it from almost any surface, and chances are good that once you have, you'll be more careful where you blow bubbles the next time!

Remove Gum Stains

Removing Chewing Gum From Clothing and Washable Fabrics

What You'll Need Before You Start:

  • An Ice Pack or Package of Frozen Vegetables
  • Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Credit Card/Knife

When chewing gum becomes stuck to your clothing, bedsheets, or other washable fabric, removing it is often a time-intensive process. In fact, chewing gum is one of the very few materials that should remain on the fabric as long as possible before you try to remove it; the harder the chewing gum becomes, the easier it will be to remove.

Note: Always remove chewing gum from washable fabrics before putting them in the washer and/or dryer, as washing chewing gum in warm water, or placing it in the dryer can be harmful both to fabrics and to your appliances.

To remove chewing gum from washable fabrics:

  1. Place the fabric on a hard, water proof surface.
  2. Place an ice pack on top of the chewing gum to harden the gum. If you do not have an ice pack on hand, a package of frozen vegetables will work, but keep in mind that if the vegetables thaw, you cannot refreeze them if you intend to eat them. Alternately, you can place the item in the freezer in order to harden the gum.
  3. Check the fabric at regular intervals. When the gum has hardened and become brittle, gently scrape it off the fabric with a credit card or knife. If you use a knife, take care not to cut or damage the clothing fibers.
  4. Apply liquid laundry detergent directly to the spot where you have removed the stain.
  5. Wash the item according to label directions.
  6. Line dry the item; check for any residual stain. If any stain remains, repeat steps 4-6 until the stain is gone.

Removing Chewing Gum From Carpet

What You'll Need Before You Start:

  • An Ice Pack or Package of Frozen Vegetables
  • Carpet Cleaner
  • Knife
  • Scissors

Chewing gum is one of carpet's worst enemies. When this gooey substance becomes embedded in carpet fibers, it often takes multiple attempts before it's removed completely. However, if you take care to harden the gum as much as possible before attempting to remove it, you may have the gum out of your carpet in a snap.

To remove chewing gum from carpet:

  1. Place an ice pack or package of frozen vegetables on the chewing gum. Remember that if the vegetables thaw, you cannot refreeze them if you intend to eat them.
  2. Check the carpet and gum at regular intervals. When the gum has hardened and become brittle, gently scrape it off the carpet with a knife. If any solid pieces of gum solidly remain, cut them away using a small, sharp pair of scissors, taking care not to cut too much of the carpet nap away as you cut.
  3. Remove any residue or stain from the carpet by treating with a carpet cleaner, according to the package directions.

Removing Chewing Gum From Wood

What You'll Need Before You Start:

  • An Ice Pack or Package of Frozen Vegetables
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Clean, Dry Cloths
  • Credit Card
  • Vegetable Oil or Baby Oil

When chewing gum comes in contact with wood, the concern is not that the sticky substance will get stuck there forever -- rather, it's that it may be impossible to remove without damaging the wood. Careful removal can get this mess off your wood with out gouging or destroying your wood's surface.

To remove chewing gum from wood:

  1. Allow the gum to harden as long as possible. Gum will often become hard on wood without the use of ice; however, some stickier gums may not harden on wood without freezing.
  2. To freeze and harden gum on wood, protect the wood from melting ice by putting a thin layer of plastic wrap over the gum, then placing the ice pack or package of frozen vegetables over the plastic wrap.
  3. Do not leave ice unattended on wood. Check the gum periodically for hardening, and wipe any melting ice or condensation from the ice pack or frozen vegetables with clean, dry cloths in order to prevent water damage to wood.
  4. When gum is hardened, remove ice and plastic wrap. Gently scrape the gum using a credit card.
  5. Remove any residue by soaking the residue with vegetable oil or baby oil. Wipe with a clean, dry cloth until all residue is removed. Buff the area with a cloth until no oily residue is left behind.

Chewing gum quickly loses its appeal when it becomes stuck to fabrics, carpet, or wood. Removal is easiest when you've allowed the gum to harden to that blob you often see stuck on sidewalks or the underside of school desks. But one thing's certain -- once you've had to remove chewing gum, you'll never be careless about spitting it out again!