Gum is a huge help when you’re running to a lunch date and are worried about bad breath. But it’s also notorious for being a pain to remove if it ends up anywhere but inside your mouth — especially when it comes to your clothes. Don’t worry, not all hope is lost if you find yourself in a sticky situation. Carolyn Forte, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, says to try these methods.
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What you’ll need:
- Shout Advanced Gel ($14 for a 3-pack, amazon.com)
- Guardsman Professional Strength Dry Cleaning Fluid Stain Remover Solution($50, amazon.com)
How to Get Gum Out of Clothes
1. If the gum is still soft, freeze the item to harden the goo, then scrape off any excess. In a pinch, use full strength white vinegar. “Rubbing it into the gum may soften it enough so you can pry it away from the fabric,” says Forte.
2. Sponge with a dry-cleaning solvent, like Guardsman Professional Strength Dry Cleaning Fluid Stain Remover Solution.
3. Pretreat with a prewash stain remover, like Shout Advanced Gel, then launder as usual — but don’t put the item into the dryer until you’re sure all the gum is gone.
How to Get Gum Out of Everything Else
If the gym is still soft, freeze it by directly applying an ice cube inside a plastic bag, then scrape off any excess. Using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with dry-cleaning solvent. Blot with a dry cloth until the solvent is absorbed. Repeat until the stain disappears.
Use the same method as you used for upholstery. If the stain remains, mix 1 tablespoons white vinegar and two cups warm water. Sponge the stain with the detergent-vinegar solution. Blot with a dry cloth until liquid is absorbed. Sponge with cold water and blot dry.
The next time your kid gets a wad of gum stuck in her hair, don’t reach for the scissors. Just let peanut butter soak into it for a few minutes. The fat and oil in this spread should break down the gum and make it easy to remove.
If you forgot to check pockets before putting clothes into the dryer and gum ended up everywhere, put several old towels in the dryer and let it run on warm for a few minutes. Then mix a tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent with just enough water to make a thick paste and apply to a clean cloth. Use the cloth to scrub off the gum, going over the entire inside of the dryer. Before drying your next load of clean clothes, run one cycle with several damp rags to make sure it’s all gone.