Chemicals to Remove Gum

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Gum can be a fun treat, but it can be hard to remove when stuck to surfaces such as clothing, car interiors, floors, or walls.
Gum can be a fun treat, but it can be hard to remove when stuck to surfaces such as clothing, car interiors, floors, or walls. (Image: bubblegum image by Mélissa Bradette from Fotolia.com)

Getting gum stuck on your clothing, in your hair, on the furniture or elsewhere is a hassle. Luckily, many methods exist to remove gum and gum stains from a variety of surfaces. Some of these methods are home remedies, using items commonly found around the household. Other methods include purchasing chemicals to help dissolve the gum or make it less sticky so that it can be removed. It is important to use the method that best suits the surface on which the gum is stuck.

Ice

One easy method is to freeze the gum, which hardens it, making it easier to pull or pick off of the fabric. If the item is small enough to fit into a freezer, such as an article of clothing or a fabric curtain, place these materials directly into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the gum hardens. If the fabric is too large to place in the freezer, such as a piece of furniture or car seat, place an ice cube on the gum for about 20 minutes or until the gum has hardened. You can then pick it off with your hands or a pair of pliers or scrape it off with a knife if necessary.

Place an ice cube against the chewing gum, freezing it and making it easier to scrape off of a surface.
Place an ice cube against the chewing gum, freezing it and making it easier to scrape off of a surface. (Image: ice cube image by sheldon gardner from Fotolia.com)

Food Items

You can apply peanut butter to the gum prior to freezing or instead of freezing. The peanut butter adheres to the gum, making it less sticky and easier to handle. Mix table salt with another common household item, liquid laundry detergent, and rub it over the gum using a sponge or washcloth. Apply egg white on the chewing gum to help dissolve it. Extracts from citrus peels can help to remove chewing gum from fabrics, hair and hard surfaces.

Put peanut butter over the gum to make it less sticky and easier to scrape off of a surface.
Put peanut butter over the gum to make it less sticky and easier to scrape off of a surface. (Image: peanut butter on a cracker image by robert mobley from Fotolia.com)

Oils

Rub a natural oil such as vegetable oil or mineral oil on the chewing gum. Because it is slick, the oil will help make the gum less sticky. Once the oil coats the gum, scrape it off of the surface with a knife or pick it off with a pair of pliers or your fingers.

Oils such as vegetable oil, sunflower oil or seasame oil can be used to make the chewing gum slick rather than sticky.
Oils such as vegetable oil, sunflower oil or seasame oil can be used to make the chewing gum slick rather than sticky. (Image: three sorts of oil image by Tomo Jesenicnik from Fotolia.com)

Over-the-Counter Removers

Products are available for purchase that can be used to remove gum from a variety of surfaces. For a hard surface such as linoleum, hard wood floors or walls, products such as Goo Gone and Rid-A-Gum can be used. Gum remover products often contain a mixture of natural oils to make the surface of the gum slick and easier to scrape off of the surface.

There are many gum removers available for purchase.
There are many gum removers available for purchase. (Image: bottles of cleaning product. bleach. disinfectant. image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com)

Dry Cleaning and Steam Cleaning

If the gum is on a hard surface such as linoleum, brick or a hardwood floor, one effective method of removing it is by using an industrial grade steam cleaner. The steam loosens the gum, making it easier to scrape off of the floor. Once the steam loosens the gum, a sharp knife or steel wool helps scrape the gum off of the floor. If the gum is on clothing, furniture cover or other fabric, take it to a dry cleaner, who may use a solvent to dissolve the gum.

Steam cleaning is an effective way of removing gum from hard surfaces.
Steam cleaning is an effective way of removing gum from hard surfaces. (Image: vacuum cleaner image by vb_photo from Fotolia.com)

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