Skip to content

How to Remove Gum from Anything

How to Remove Gum from Anything

From your head to your shoes, almost anything can be a place for stubborn, gummed gum. Learn how to remove them using household items and a little patience.

How to Remove Gum from Anything

How to Remove Gum from Anything

Let’s face it: we can all be a little clumsy, especially with the gum. If you drop a piece on the ground while chopping an onion, or if someone puts a big chunk on your hair, don’t worry, the gum can be removed quickly and easily from almost anything.


Take out the gum with a proven product: peanut butter. Cover the chewing gum with creamy peanut butter with your fingers or an old toothbrush, then wait a few minutes. Fats and oils will harden the gum and make it less sticky, making it easier to work gently with your hair. Use a towel to wipe down every last bit of peanut butter, then rinse your hair.

If you don’t have a jar of peanut butter, grab some petroleum jelly, toothpaste, or vegetable oil. Such greasy substances will lubricate the hair, helping the gum to slide off. Gently apply it to the piece of gum with your fingers, being careful not to squeeze too much. A wide-tooth comb should help the gum come out, leaving the hair free of the sticky substance. As with peanut butter, it is not a bad idea to wash your hair once the gum is gone.


You probably don’t want to cover your clothes with peanut butter or cooking oil. Luckily, ice can stiffen the gum and reduce its stickiness. Remove as much gum as you can with your fingers, then put a few ice cubes in a bag and place it on top of the remaining gum until it has hardened. Gently remove the gum and then remove the residue with an old toothbrush.

You can also remove the gum with the multipurpose hero of each household: white vinegar. Heat the vinegar in a small saucepan, dip a toothbrush in it and use it to scrub the dirty garment. Put a little effort and the gum should come out.

No matter how you remove the gum from your clothes, you will want to give them a cold water wash afterwards to remove small stains that may have penetrated deep into the fabric.

Rugs and upholstery

It turns out that a little chewing gum on rugs or fabric upholstery is not the end of the world. Instead of taking out the scissors, go back to the clothing method and freeze the gum before shredding it.

Alternatively, you can use oil to weaken the gum and facilitate its extraction. Rub all the gum with a cloth soaked in oil and wait about 10 minutes, then carefully remove it with a butter knife. Be sure to try a discreet spot on the carpet or upholstery first to make sure the oil doesn’t ruin the object, and clean the gummy area with soap and warm water when you’re done removing any residue.


The next time you go for a walk, take a look at the sidewalk. You will probably see wads of dry gum almost everywhere you look, or worse, old gum that eagerly awaits a ride on the bottom of your shoe. If you get home and find out you’ve picked up a chewy hitchhiker, give him a spray with some WD-40. After about a minute, the spray will dissolve the gum, making it easy to clean with an old rag or paper towel.

If you prefer not to use oil and you have some time (and additional shoes), leave the shoe with the gum only for a few days. The gum will harden on its own and can be removed with your fingers or a knife.