Someone holding chewing gum in their hands.

How to remove chewing gum from clothes – even delicates

It’s bad enough finding chewing gum on your clothes – how did it get there? – but it’s just that extra bit worse when gum has magically found its way onto your favourite jumper or another delicate item. If you’re in that sticky situation, relax: while delicate clothes do need a little extra care, we’ve got a few neat chewing gum removal tricks here that can help.

How to get chewing gum off clothing 

Removing chewing gum from clothes – even delicate clothes – is actually easier than you might think. Just follow these steps, and you should be able to get the gum off. 

Remember: be gentle, and keep the instructions on your clothing care label in mind. If it says ‘dry clean only’, you’re better off going to a professional. Here’s how to remove chewing gum from clothes:

  1. Let the gum harden. If the offending gum is taking its sweet time to harden, you can press a couple of ice cubes on either side of it to save a little time. If that doesn’t appeal, you could place the garment in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer for a few hours instead.

  2. Start peeling. Carefully peel the hardened chewing gum off the material, taking extra care if you’re dealing with a delicate fabric. Try to avoid catching the fibres of the material, particularly if you’re removing chewing gum from clothes that are knitted or embroidered, and be gentle when handling the garment.

    Hint:
    If you have trouble peeling the gum off using your fingers, you can try using a spoon for a bit of extra leverage. Just remember to be gentle!

  3. Warm it up. If there are still small bits of gum stuck to the fabric, a good chewing gum removal technique is heat. Put your hair dryer on the medium setting and direct it at the gum to warm it up. Be sure not to overheat the material, particularly if you’re handling silk or another delicate material. 

  4. Pre-treat, if necessary. A final trick to shift really stubborn chewing gum fragments is to pre-treat them ahead of the wash. Soak the area in lemon juice, white vinegar, or hairspray, then gently rub the gum away. Be warned, though: these stain removers aren’t a good match for all fabrics, so test the method on a hidden area of fabric first.

  5. Wash as usual. After getting the piece(s) of gum out of the garment, wash it in the washing machine, or by hand, depending on the instructions on the care label.

Now you know how to get chewing gum off clothes, there’s no need to panic next time you find that you’ve sat on a piece of gum! Just try the tips above.