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How to Remove Gum Stains

Advice from our experts

Why does gum stain?

Removing gum involves different processes than removing other types of stains. Unlike food or blood, which are absorbed into fabric, chewing gum adheres to fabric. The ingredient that makes gum chewy is an edible resin. Once it cures (dries) it becomes bonded to the fabric.

Tips for removing gum stains

Gum bonds to fabric, but you can break that bond by freezing the gum. Once it hardens, you can scrape it off the surface of the fabric since the gum hasn’t entered the structure of the fabric. Keep reading to find out how to remove gum stains.

General steps for removing gum stains from clothes

  • Step 1 Press an ice cube directly onto the gum. The ice will melt as you hold it on the gum, so you’ll need more than one cube. Keep pressing the gum with ice until it hardens.
  • Step 2 Gently scrape away the hardened gum with a plastic spoon or knife.
  • Step 3 Machine wash the item in the warmest water recommended on the care label using detergent and Clorox 2® Stain Remover & Color Booster Liquid.

    Learn how to get gum out of a shirt collar.

Steps for removing gum stains from carpet

  • Step 1 Press an ice cube directly onto the gum. The ice will melt as you hold it on the gum, so you’ll need more than one cube. Keep pressing the gum with ice until it hardens.
  • Step 2 Gently scrape away the hardened gum with a plastic spoon or knife.
  • Step 3 Allow the carpet to air-dry to prevent mildew from growing.

Steps for removing gum stains from upholstery

  • Step 1 Press an ice cube directly onto the gum. The ice will melt as you hold it on the gum, so you’ll need more than one cube. Keep pressing the gum with ice until it hardens.
  • Step 2 Gently scrape away the hardened gum with a plastic spoon or knife.
  • Step 3 Follow up by steam cleaning all of the upholstery so you don’t end up with a water spot where you applied the ice.

    Another common substance that can stick to almost anything is glue. Read on to learn how to remove glue.

Steps for removing gum stains from leather

The best way to remove gum from leather is to follow the ice trick:

  • Step 1 Press an ice cube directly onto the gum. The ice will melt as you hold it on the gum, so you’ll need more than one cube. Keep pressing the gum with ice until it hardens.
  • Step 2 When the gum is frozen, gently scrape it off with a plastic spoon or knife.

    And, keep a towel handy to absorb the water that collects as the ice melts.

Steps for removing gum stains from suede

When it comes to cleaning suede, check the care label to find out what is recommended. If the label states “Dry clean only,” take it to the dry cleaner. But, if the label says it’s OK to clean the item with home laundering, begin with these steps:

  • Step 1 Press an ice cube directly onto the gum. The ice will melt as you hold it on the gum, so you’ll need more than one cube. Keep pressing the gum with ice until it hardens.
  • Step 2 When the gum is frozen, gently scrape it off with a plastic spoon or knife.

    And, keep a towel handy to absorb the water that collects as the ice melts. After you remove all the gum, follow the care instructions. But, if you can’t scrape away all the gum, go ahead and take the item to the dry cleaner.

    In some cases, you can also use the ice method on wool blends. Learn when to try using ice and when to visit the dry cleaner.

Gum stain Do’s and Don’ts

DO use enough ice to freeze the gum. The gum could be really cold, but if it’s not frozen it won’t scrape off as easily.

DON'T scrape too hard. It can distort the fabric’s appearance. If the gum doesn’t come off easily, use more ice.

Gum stain removal FAQs

Q. How do you get gum out of pants pockets?
A. You’ll probably need to use a lot of ice cubes. Start by freezing the gum in small portions and then scrape. This should allow you to pull more of the pocket lining out of the pocket, which will give you better access to all the gum.
Q. How do you remove gum from your clothes dryer?
A. Use the technique of freezing the gum and then scraping it off with a plastic knife or scraper. Work carefully so little chunks of frozen gum don’t fall into the dryer drum—and get left behind to stain the next load. When you finish, wipe the inside of the dryer with a clean, wet towel to make sure you got all the gum. Lastly, tumble dry some clean, dry towels for a few minutes to dry the drum.
Q. In addition to gum, how can you remove sticky candy from clothing?
A. Candy can be tricky to remove. Read this article on how to get rid of the sticky stuff.