Blowing bubbles or chewy a tasty piece of gum is fun, but, at some point, you may find yourself in need of chewing gum stain removal. Gum is lots of fun when it is used in the right places, but if it gets on your clothes, furniture, or carpeting, you have a sticky situation on your hands.
Chewing Gum Stain Removal Tips
Chewing gum is often made of a type of man-made rubber that softens easily with heat and gets hard when it is frozen.
With that in mind, one of the early steps in chewing gum stain removal is a trip to the freezer. If possible, put the gum-stained items of clothing in the freezer for several hours. When the gum is frozen, it can be broken or chipped off the clothing.
If any bits of gum remain, you can remove them by rubbing them with a small amount of lighter fluid. Be sure to test the clothing for colorfastness before you use the lighter fluid. If the item is too large for the freezer (such as a chewing gum stain on furniture or carpeting), use ice cubes to freeze the gum.
If you do not have ice or a freeze, peanut butter may also help remove the initial chewing gum. Pick off as much of the chewing gum as you can, and spread the gum with peanut butter. Wait 15 minutes to allow the grease from the peanut butter to penetrate the gum. With a table knife, carefully scrape off the gum and peanut butter.
It is important to note, however, that both the freezing and peanut butter methods are for strong fabrics, like cotton or various blends, and may not work on felt, fur, leather, or suede.
For a very sturdy fabric, such as denim, heat may be the best way to remove the chewing gum. Put the clothing, gum side down, on a piece of cardboard, such as a flap from a cardboard box. With an iron set to medium, iron the "ungummed" side of the clothing until the gum releases from the fabric and sticks to the cardboard.
Even after the gum releases from your clothing, there may be a stain remaining from any coloring used in the gum. Apply a laundry pretreater, such as Shout or Spray & Wash, to the stained area, testing for colorfastness. Wait the recommended period of time for the pretreater to work, and launder the clothing with your usual detergent.
Check the stained area immediately after washing to ensure that the stain released. If it did, dry the clothing as you normally do. If not, wash the clothing again with detergent and chlorine bleach or color-safe bleach, depending on which is safe for your fabric.
To remove gum stains from leather, after removing the gum with ice, gently wipe the stained area with mild soap and water. Thoroughly dry the area, and apply a leather conditioner according to the package instructions.
To remove gum stains from upholstery, after removing the gum with ice, apply dry cleaning solvent or a mild cleaner recommended by the furniture manufacturer to the stain with a clean, white cloth. Blot the stain until all of the solvent or cleaner is absorbed. You may need to apply cleaner and blot it several times to remove the stain.
To remove gum stains from carpeting or area rugs, after removing the gum with ice, vacuum up the gum particles. Shampoo the area with a carpet shampooer, following the manufacturer's instructions. Let the area dry, then vacuum. Check the area to see whether the gum stain is gone. It may be necessary to repeat the shampooing process or to use a steam cleaner.
Chewing gum stain removal takes a few simple steps and a bit of a time commitment, but you can save your favorite clothes, your upholstery, and your carpeting. Remember that ice and patience are your allies when removing chewing gum from textiles.