How to Remove Chewing Gum

Get yourself out of a sticky situation fast!

how to remove chewing gum
Got a kid who likes to blow bubbles? What happens when they pop? How to clean up chewing gum messes. Howard Berman

While chewing gum probably isn't a good idea for kids until they reach age seven or eight, many kids have tried it at a much younger age. Besides being a potential choking hazard for kids under age four, chewing gum, if not kept in a mouth like it belongs, can make quite the mess. Combine that sticky stuff with a preschooler who isn't used to the sensation of simply chewing something, keeping it in their mouth for a long time, and not swallowing, and you'll find a little person might be tempted to take it out of their mouth, it's a good idea to be prepared in case a stick mess occurs.

Here's how to clean up chewing gum messes:

  • The least messy way to remove gum is to freeze and harden it and then chip it away. For smaller items, just place it in the freezer, wait about an hour and then chip away gently with a butter knife, or break it apart by hand, using water and dish detergent to help get rid of remaining debris. When gum gets stuck in things like carpets and hair -- items not conducive to placing inside of a freezer, put some ice cubes in a plastic bag and let them rest on the item until the gum becomes hardened. You should be able to just crack or scrape the gum right off, again, using water and dish detergent to take care of any remaining stickiness.
  • For getting gum out of hair, try rubbing in some mayonnaise, vegetable or olive oil, or peanut butter. With enough lubrication and gentle rubbing in the area where the stickiness is, the gum should come out fairly easily. Be sure to wash the hair thoroughly when finished. And obviously if your child has peanut allergies, do not use this method!
  • You can saturate carpets or upholstery with white vinegar or lemon juice, which works to dissolve the gum. Pour a small amount of either right on top of where the gum is. Rub the liquid in thoroughly, but taking care not to further push the gum into the carpet or fabric. Let it soak for about five or ten minutes, then remove the gum by scraping with a butter knife or picking out. Once finished, be sure to wash the area and any remaining stickiness with water and dish detergent.
  • If you'd prefer not to put anything on your carpet, turn your hair dryer on high and blow the gum until it becomes soft. Use a piece of wax paper to lift off the carpet. Use water and dish detergent to get rid of any residue.
  • For stubborn gum that just won't come off, nationwide housecleaners The Maids suggest using a small amount of paint thinner. Once you have removed the gum, be sure to clean the area thoroughly with water and dish detergent.
  • You can use a raw egg white to get rid of gum on just about any surface, even hair! Separate the white from the yolk and then place the white on the gum. Let it set for about five minutes. Gently pull the gum out, piece by piece.
  • If gum is stuck in something that can be washed, try melting chocolate and rubbing it in to the gum. Comb out.
  • For carpets and upholstery, you can try WD-40, just be sure to do a surface area test first to make sure it will not stain. Spray the WD-40 on the gum, rub gently, and then let it sit for a few minutes. Once the gum is removed, clean the area thoroughly with dish detergent and water.

    More mess clean up ideas:

    How to Clean Up Kid Messes

    How to Clean and Sanitize Toys

    How to Remove Crayon Stains

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