You’ve somehow managed to get chewing gum stuck to your brand-new pants. Don’t fret, and don’t toss your new duds in the garbage just yet. The solution to your problem is right in your own home!
It can take some trial and error to figure out how to get gum out of fabrics. With a bit of persistence, patience, and some regular items found in your cabinets, such as good old toothpaste, you can easily remove the sticky gum from just about any fabric including your new blue jeans or your favorite shirt.
Toothpaste isn’t just handy for cleaning your teeth and making your breath fresh. It can remove unsightly chewing gum from fabrics! Follow along to learn how to effectively use toothpaste to remove chewing gum from your clothes.
Table of Contents
What You’ll Need to Remove Chewing Gum With Toothpaste
Here’s everything you’ll need for this project:
- Toothpaste (plain, no-frills, white toothpaste works best)
- Paper towels
- Your regular laundry detergent
- An old toothbrush
- Your trusty washing machine
- A butter knife or some other scraping implement
- A few light-colored rags or a light-colored towel
Steps to Remove Chewing Gum From Clothing With Toothpaste
Before doing anything, check your garment for colorfastness by dabbing a small amount of toothpaste in an inconspicuous area. Allow the toothpaste to dry. Once the toothpaste has dried, use a water-dampened rag to blot the area until the toothpaste is gone, checking your light-colored rag for color transfer. Allow the area to dry and check for any discoloration that could be caused by the toothpaste.
If there are no spots, you can proceed with the following steps:
- Using your fingernails, butter knife, or scraping implement, remove as much of the chewing gum as possible.
- Squeeze enough toothpaste to cover the chewing gum from the toothpaste tube.
- Apply the toothpaste to the gum-covered area of your clothes.
- Using a paper towel, lightly scrub the area.
- If the gum persists, add more toothpaste to the area.
- Using an old toothbrush, scrub the area with light circular motions.
- After all the gum has been removed, pre-treat the affected area with a small amount of your regularly used laundry detergent, household dish soap, or commercial stain remover.
- Immediately toss your soiled garment into your washing machine.
- Wash your treated item of clothing using the hottest water temperature recommended by the manufacturer’s label on the cycle regularly used to launder the garment.
- After washing, hang the garment to dry until you are confident that all of the gum and the subsequent gum stain has been removed.
Things to Remember When Using Toothpaste to Remove Chewing Gum From Clothing
Unlike some methods, like using a hot iron, using toothpaste to remove chewing gum from your clothing won’t leave any type of burn mark or material texture changes.
A few things to remember when using toothpaste are:
- Opt for plain, white paste-type toothpaste over colored or gel-type forms.
- Unless you enjoy toothpaste stains, make sure to remove all of the toothpaste from your clothing.
If staining does happen to occur, you can use a simple solution of one part white vinegar and two parts cold water. Dab the solution onto stained areas using an old rag. Blot the dampened area with a dry rag after waiting a few moments to allow the vinegar to work. Follow up by washing the clothing in cold water and hanging it to dry.
Other Methods to Use to Remove Chewing Gum From Clothing
If you’d rather not use toothpaste to remove chewing gum from an article of clothing, there are quite a few other options you can try. They include:
- Using something sticky to remove gum: Although it may appear contradictory, you can really utilize gum to your advantage when trying to clean up a goopy mess. To remove the stuck-on gum, use a piece of duct tape or (oddly) another bit of chewed gum. To avoid adding more ooey-gooey stickiness to nearby fabric regions, apply the tape or chewed gum only to the stuck-on gum.
- Catch a cold: You can use ice to remove gum from clothing by placing a freezer pack or two to three ice cubes on top of the gum for 20 to 30 minutes to harden the gooey gum. Once set, the gum can be scraped off using a butter knife or other dull scraping implement. You can also opt to throw the piece of clothing in the freezer if you’d rather take a hands-off approach.
- Heat it up: Place your piece of clothing gum-side down on a small piece of cardboard or brown paper bag. Using an iron set on medium heat, press firmly on the back side of the piece of clothing. Do not move the iron, as you’ll only smear the goopy mess. The chewed gum should transfer to the brown paper bag or cardboard as the heat from the iron melts the gum.
- Peanut butter (no jelly) time: Apply a thick layer of creamy peanut butter (crunchy will not work) on the chewing gum. Allow the peanut butter to sit for a few minutes to let the oils and fats contained within to remove some of the gum’s stickiness. Afterward, use a butter knife or other dull scraping implement to scrape off the gum and peanut butter mixture. Pre-treat the stain and launder immediately.
- Science experiment time: Fill a microwave-safe container halfway with distilled white vinegar and heat it in the microwave until hot but not boiling. Brush the chewed gum with a toothbrush dipped in the heated vinegar. The acid softens the gum and aids in its removal from the fabric. Alternatively, go for the volcanic effect: Pour a small amount of vinegar over the gum, add baking soda, and let the effervescent foam work its magic.
- Slap a little mayo on it: The oil in the mayonnaise will help to release the chewed gum from your clothing. Just be sure to pre-treat the area before laundering.
- Lemons: Soak the area in fresh lemon juice, scrape with a butter knife or dull scraping implement, and wash normally.
- Canned air: Canned air isn’t just great for cleaning the keyboard of your laptop. It can be used as a freezing agent to stiffen up the chewed gum. Spray the canned air directly onto the stuck gum until it becomes hard enough to be easily scraped off.
- Gum-removal products: Yes, there are products made specifically to remove adhesives and sticky substances. Just be mindful that they can stain your fabrics or remove the color, so be sure to do a test patch before applying to the chewed gum on your clothing.
Keeping your clothes gum-free isn’t too terribly hard. Understanding the material you’re working with is essential for successful chewing gum removal. While there are plenty of cleaning techniques for removing stuck-on chewing gum and gum stains, not many are as simple and straightforward as using good old toothpaste.
You can rest easy knowing that you no longer have to worry about chewing gum ruining your favorite clothes!