While most stains come out of clothes with a bit of detergent and few spins in the washing machine, gum stains are another story. Not only is gum immune to machine-washing, but attempts to wipe, scrape, or peel gum out of clothing with bare hands often result in an even bigger mess. So what should you do when you find a piece of gum affixed to your favourite sweater?
As it turns out, there are plenty of nifty hacks to deal with this particularly sticky situation. Some recommend freezing gum and scraping it off once it hardens, others suggest the exact opposite: Heating gum until it’s soft and gooey, then using a range of substances — including peanut butter, orange oil, and Bengay — to loosen it from clothes.
Both, freezing and heating techniques are useful, according to the International Gum Chewing Association. When gum is stuck to clothing but not mashed into its fibres, freezing is generally a good way to quickly harden it and scrape it off in one chunk. But when gum is stuck to more delicate clothes, heating tends to be a better strategy for removing it without damaging clothing. Since heating alone just makes gum more pliable, another ingredient is needed to loosen it from fabric, such as deep heating rubs like Bengay or Move.