A Guide to Removing Chewing Gum From Clothes and Carpets

Chewing gum is an extremely sticky, rubber-like material that can, if left untreated, penetrate deep into the fabric of clothes where it’s almost impossible to remove without damaging the material.

There are several methods you can try to remove the chewing gum, but the sooner you act, the more likely you are to be successful.

As a general rule of the thumb, it’s far easier to remove the gum from a strong material such as denim than delicates like wool.

Chewing gum photo

Step One – Act Quickly

As soon as you notice chewing gum on your item of clothing or carpets, try to remove as much of it as you can with your fingers.

Although it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to remove all it, you should be able to get the bulk of it off.

This prevents the gum from ingraining itself into the fabric.

Step 2 – Freeze the Chewing Gum

Chewing gum is much easier to remove when it’s brittle. It will break off into small parts once frozen or even cooled below room temperature.

For small items such as gloves or shorts, just place the item of clothing inside a plastic bag and put in the freezer for 15 minutes or so.

If the chewing gum is on a larger item of clothing such as a wool jumper, a jacket, a pair of jeans or even a carpet, put some ice cubes into a plastic cooler bag and place onto the chewing gum.

You also rub ice cubes directly onto the gum to harden it.

Once the gum is frozen, we think you should be able to remove it in less than 10 minutes.

Step 3 – Get Scraping

Once the chewing gum has hardened, use a blunt knife to lift it from the clothing.

Gum usually flakes off denim and similar materials with ease.

Wool and other delicate items may require several attempts so don’t be afraid to refreeze the item or rub more ice cubes onto it.

We suggest you start off by using a blunt knife although, for stubborn chewing gum, you may need to try something a little sharper.

At this point, try to avoid using your fingers, this will just warm up the gum and make it more difficult to remove.

Step 4 – Brushing

Now that you’ve frozen the chewing gum and removed most of it with a knife, any stubborn remnants can be removed with a firm toothbrush.

You may need to reapply the ice cubes or place the item back into the freezer just to cool the gum remnants.

Step 5 – Vinegar or Lemon Juice

By now most of the chewing gum should be removed from the clothes.

If you still have some small amounts remaining, try soaking the area in vinegar or lemon juice before scraping and brushing the area once again.

Step 6 – Wash the Item in Detergent

Now that all or almost off the gum is removed, wash the clothes in a strong detergent, this should remove any oily stains left behind from the gum.

Don’t forget to check the label and the washing symbols on the clothing for the recommended best practices and do’s and don’ts.

Alternative Products/Options

We think you should be able to remove gum from any type of clothing by following our guide.

However, if the gum is unusually stubborn, perhaps because you left it too long before you tried to remove it, we recommend the following product:

Goo Gone is one of the most popular cleaning products in the United States and is perfect for removing:

  • chewing gum
  • stickers and sticker residue
  • wax
  • crayons
  • tar
  • adhesives and glues

Don’t take our word for it, head over to the Amazon UK site where you’ll find this product has hundreds of 5-star reviews, such as:

Excellent stuff got rid of chewing gum residew from my daughter’s skirt.

-Amazon customer 2017

Far better than WD40 or other solvents, this shifts all manner of residue from labels and other unpleasant stickiness.

-Amazon customer 2017

Our Guide To Removing Chewing Gum From Clothes

This guide was created by our team at Job Prices and forms part of our ultimate guide to household cleaning.