If there is one substance that is tricky to remove… it’s sticky chewing gum!  Everyone has heard the troubling story of a kid getting a huge wad of it stuck in their hair.  Maybe the same can be said for blobs of it pressed into jeans or onto couch fabric.  If there’s anything that’s a pain to clean, we all know after puzzling and pulling at the rubbery, gluey substance – it’s an experience you’ll never forget!  Here’s some tricks:

One of the greatest tricks to cleaning off gum is to take the item of clothing and put in the freezer.  To speed up the cooling process, put the clothing in a plastic bag with air, and bury it in the ice bin.  When you open the freezer door, the cool air gets out, so surrounding it with ice will speed things up.  When you are certain the item has reached rock bottom temperature, remove it and get to work immediately using a plastic scrapper or your fingernails to pull off as much gum as possible.  If the gum gets soft again, just grab an ice cube and either put it on directly, or use a plastic back to prevent melty moisture from soaking in.  Doing this a few times can lead to a huge cut-down in the amount of Wrigley’s smashed into the fibers.

Fortunately, this substance is also responsive to heat, but by itself it might just make a sticky situation.  If you add some muscle ache relief cream it can actually lead to dissolving the material, which will help along with the heat to make it more removable.  To make this work rub the cream on both sides of the fabric, then place the fabric gum-side-down on a material like a postage box flap, or any cardboard you have laying around.  Slowly but surely, the gum will transfer away from the cloth and onto the cardboard.

Other items that can add even more heat are a heat gun that you can buy at a tool store for around $20, or even a hair dryer or a clothing steamer.  With the heat gun, it’s important to note that they produce a ton of extra hotness so be careful with your hands and also with the fabric, as nylons are made of plastic which might react strangely.  With the steamer, obviously moisture will be involved at that point, so that should be considered with sensitive fabrics, or those with unstable dyes.  If those don’t work, you could try microwaving a bowl of water to high temperatures and dipping the fabric in it, and adding an “acidic” cleaner or vinegar might help there too.  Vinegar is a very helpful cleaning product actually, and is commonly used for things like coffee machines.