How to Get Gum Out of Clothes - the Right Way

It's a breezy Saturday afternoon. The kids are watching cartoons and playing quietly in the living room, and you're getting some relaxing time for yourself. Suddenly, you notice the living room has gone suspiciously quiet. On entering the room, it becomes clear that no one was playing quietly. Instead, your four-year-old found a pack of gum that they gladly half-chewed and stuck all over their underwear.

You'd not be the first to find yourself in this sticky situation. People have been getting gum stuck to their clothes for years. It's become enough of a problem that there are numerous solutions for resolving this messy predicament. Let's walk through some of the different methods people have used through the years to get gum out of clothes.

Different Methods of Gum Removal

Fortunately, you have several options to go about removing the gummy mess from your child's underwear. Whether you prefer to find a more natural solution or a more typically conventional method, you have many options. If you try more than one way to remove the gum, and it still won't budge, there are a few unconventional tricks you could try to get your child's clothes clean again. Let's explore these options from most straightforward to least conventional. 

Freeze It Off

The first method that's relatively easy for you to try is the freezing method. For this, you'll just need a freezer and an object with a hard edge (like a credit card or a knife). First, place the gummy clothing in the freezer until the gum hardens. Once you see that the gum is solidly frozen, take the garment out. You can either try to peel the hardened gum off or use the hard edge to chip it off the fabric.

Use Heat 

If freezing the underwear or gummy fabric didn't work well enough, there's another option. Try heat! You'll need an ironing surface, a piece of cardboard, and an iron for this method. First, lay the cardboard piece onto your ironing surface and place the fabric gum-side-down onto the cardboard. Then, using medium heat, place the iron on top of the fabric for around 20 seconds. The heat will melt the gum and make it transfer to the cardboard.

Another way to use heat to melt the gum is by boiling the garment. You'll need a pot, water, and a disposable toothbrush for this method. Once the water has boiled, submerge the fabric into the water and use a disposable toothbrush to scrape the gum off. If there's still gum leftover, let the clothing dry and then repeat the process.

Use Household Items

Let's continue with our scenario from earlier. It's difficult as a parent to jet off to the grocery store for a special chemical gunk remover in the middle of the day. You'll likely want a solution that incorporates household items you already own. Here are a few options you can try with items in your pantry or utility drawers. 


It's nearby in your pantry, and it can help you tackle a variety of stains and messes – even gum. Heat the vinegar in a small container until it's nearly boiling. Using an old toothbrush, scrub your child's gummy undergarments with the hot vinegar. It should start to come off, but you may need to reheat the vinegar periodically until the gum is gone. 

Duct Tape

It might seem counterintuitive, but the stickiness from the Duct Tape can actually lift the gum from your child's clothing. Apply enough Duct Tape onto the gum to get a good grip, then pull it away. Be careful not to attach the tape to bare fabric because that may be harder to pull off. You may need to repeat this process if the tape loses its stickiness.


You'll need an old toothbrush, a blunt edge, and your chosen liquid laundry detergent for this trick. Use the old toothbrush to scrub the detergent into the gum. After you've worked the detergent into the mess, use your blunt edge to scrape the gum away. Once the gum is gone, you can toss the undies into the wash as usual. 


If you have rubbing alcohol nearby, you may want to try this trick to get gum out of fabric. For this trick, you'll need a blunt edge, a sponge that you don't mind throwing out, and, of course, rubbing alcohol. Rub the alcohol onto the gum using the sponge for 1-2 minutes. Then, use the blunt edge to pry the gum off of the fabric. 

Other Unconventional Methods

Perhaps you've tried everything you can, but you're still struggling to remove the mess. Luckily, you're not out of options. There are several unconventional methods you can try to remove the gum from your kiddo's clothes. Don't knock them 'til you try them. 

Peanut Butter 

Snag a jar of creamy peanut butter from your pantry for this next trick. Glob a generous amount of the peanut butter onto the spread of gum on your little one's clothes and let it sit for a few minutes. The fat and oils in the peanut butter will interact with the gum to make it less sticky. After a few minutes have passed, try bringing back your blunt edge to unstick the gum. 


Believe it or not, your hairspray can play a vital role in removing stubborn gum from fabric. Generously spray over the set-in gum. The hairspray should cause the gum to harden so that you can pull it away or use a blunt edge to remove it. 


This hack might be the most far-fetched, but hear us out. You'll need an old toothbrush or sponge and a jar of mayonnaise. This method is essentially the same as the detergent method but using mayo instead. Scoop the mayonnaise onto the mess and begin working the mayo into the gum with the old toothbrush. It should loosen up and wash away.

So, Which Method Is the Right Way? 

Which of these methods is the number one option for removing gum? That might depend on the amount of time you have and how much you value natural household products. The easiest trick you can try in this scenario is freezing the gum so that it's hard enough to pull away from the fabric. It involves no products and very little work, though it does call for an extended amount of freezing time.

What to Do if Your Clothes Are Too Far Gone

Perhaps you've tried as many tricks as you can stand, and you're at your wit's end. Your little one's pair of underwear is officially in retirement, and you need a reliable replacement. Try our 100% Cotton Boys' Briefs. They're breathable, durable, and sustainably made in a variety of several fun patterns. They're the perfect undie upgrade for your rough-and-tumble little one. 


Realizing you've got gum stuck to clothing is a small nightmare. It seems nearly impossible to remove if you don't know the right stress-free methods. Next time your kiddo gets themself into a sticky situation, you'll be prepared to handle it. With these tips, you'll know precisely how to unstick an unfortunate gummy mess, and you'll know where to go for sustainable clothing basics to stock up for future messy incidents. 



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