Disgusting! Yuck! Oh no! Followed by a string of unprintable words is probably the most common reaction when you find a wad of gum pasted to your jeans, sweater, or coat. There’s no use trying to figure out where it came from because that would make you feel sicker. It’s best to move on. Here’s The How To Guide To Removing Chewing Gum From Fabric. These hacks can help remove the grossness from the thought and restore your clothes to their sparkling clean, hygienic state again.
One country in the world has banned chewing gum since 1992. This happened because vandals stuck chewing gum in the local MRT (mass rapid transport) door’s door sensors, bringing many routes to a halt and inconveniencing hundreds of people. Today, Singapore allows medicinal gum to be used, but not confectionery. Whatever gum you chew, it’s sticky. An unsociable citizen may have sat on a seat with a wad of gum stuck on it. Or you may have leaned against a railing that was similarly defiled.
Why Does Chewing Gum Stick?
Thinking chewing gum or bubble gum is a modern invention, think again. Archaeologists speculate that the habit in the Neolithic period was made from resins and tree bark. Chicle, a natural tree gum, was used by the Aztecs. Tobacco leaves in the United States and whale blubber for the Eskimos were other common chewed products.
Modern chewing gum comprises 25-35% gum base and smaller quantities of softeners, sweeteners, flavors, and colors. In addition, chewing gum contains certain polymers that repel moisture and make it instantly stick to oily surfaces. Removing it is challenging because the product is stretchable and does not break. This elasticity creates the bubble-blowing properties of gum.
Chewing gum sticks for the same reason that makes glues stick. The product becomes soft and pliable when you chew. As a result, it can flow easily into every tiny hole or crevice on a surface, even those that are not visible. This makes it almost impossible to remove once it has latched onto a surface.
But don’t give up yet. There are many easy and affordable ways to remove that ugly, sticky mess from your clothes, shoes, hair, and furniture. Everyone you meet has their own tried and tested method to remove gum without causing damage to the fabric. Here are some of the most effective ways.
5 Super Effective Ways To Remove Gum From Fabric
The basic strategy to remove gum from fabric is first to analyze the situation thoroughly. You need to understand the type of fabric, the amount of gum stuck on, and whether it will leave a stain. You will need to use different techniques if the gum is firmly attached. Safe removal can be a huge challenge if the fabric is delicate, like silk or lace. Staining is an issue with some fabrics; you’ll have to address this later.
1. Freeze It Off: A tried and tested method is to pop the fabric into the freezer for a couple of hours, or even overnight. Take it out of the freezer and peel the gum off immediately. This works well for small pieces of gum stuck on strong fabric such as denim. Fold the garment neatly with the gummy side up. Slide it into a ziplock bag that’s considerably larger than the garment, so the gum doesn’t get a chance to latch onto the ziplock. Once the gum is frozen solid, use a butter knife to lift it off the fabric completely. Check for stains. Wash the garment as usual, provided all the gum has come off.
2. Mayo, Peanut Butter: Grab a jar of plain mayonnaise from your kitchen shelf and rub a generous amount all over the gum. Wait for a few minutes and peel off smoothly. The oil in the mayo can leave a nasty stain, so don’t use this method on delicate fabrics. However, it works well on synthetic materials such as polyester, jeans, and thicker fabrics. Another good strategy is to use peanut butter in the same way. These methods work because the oils soften the gum and loosen it from the fibers.
3. Hot Blast: There are several ways to use heat to loosen gum from fabric. Your hairdryer can deliver an extra hot blast in maximum setting or use the steam from your kettle directly on the affected surface. Use a rag or plastic paper to pull the gum off. You will have to remove it in a single pull. Otherwise, you may have to repeat the whole process. Don’t use this method on delicate fabrics.
4. Vinegar and Lime Juice: White vinegar is a great all-purpose cleaner. A mild acid can dissolve grime, dust, and accumulated salts. Gently heat some white vinegar in a bowl. Pour a small amount of heated vinegar around the gum so it soaks well into the fabric. Take an old toothbrush and keep scrubbing the base of the gum carefully till it loosens its grip on the fabric. You may have to pour more vinegar to lift the gum away safely. Don’t try to remove it in smaller portions. Wait till the whole mass can be worked loose. Lime juice works in exactly the same way. Both these methods, ensure that the fabric won’t lose color through the action of these acidic substances.
5. Iron It Off: On another variation of the heat treatment method, you can use your electric iron to get the sticky mess off. Place a piece of thick cardboard on your ironing board. Keep the fabric gum side down on the cardboard and heat the iron to medium heat. Make sure it doesn’t get too hot, so the gum doesn’t melt into a gooey liquid that spreads out more. If the iron is too cold, this method won’t work. Instead, iron gently over the back of the fabric so that the gum softens and sticks to the cardboard. You can carefully remove the garment when it is completely free.
There are plenty of other methods that you can use. Some experts suggest rubbing alcohol, lighter fluid, coconut oil, ice cubes, duct tape, liquid soap, and more. Whatever method you use, it’s important to check for stains. Get all the gum off the fabric before you wash it.