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Back when I was in college, gum on my shirt (or anything else for that matter) meant it was destined for the garbage. But after a brief stint as a nanny—in addition to being an aunt for two active young kids—I know better now.

There's no reason to trash your clothing because of a little gum. In most cases, just a little bit of prep time is all that's needed to get most items looking good as new.

You'll need:

• Large plastic garbage bag
• Spoon or dull knife
• Approximately 24 hours


  1. Carefully fold your item so that the gum is facing out.
  2. Place the clothing into a large plastic garbage bag, being careful to prevent the inside of the bag from sticking to the gum.
  3. Place the bag in the freezer, giving it room so nothing pushes the bag onto the gum.
  4. Allow the gum to freeze overnight. The next morning, remove the bag from the freezer.
  5. Working quickly, take the article of clothing out of the bag and peel the hardened gum off with your fingernail. If that doesn't work, try a spoon or dull knife. ### You'll need:

• Peanut butter
• Toothbrush
• Damp wash cloth

Step by step:

  1. Place a dollop of peanut butter on top of the gum (this should make it less sticky).
  2. Allow peanut butter to set for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Next, using a toothbrush, pull the gum out of the item.
  4. Once the gum is entirely removed, use a damp washcloth to get the remaining peanut butter off.
  5. Wash item as you normally would.

You'll need:

• Vegetable or olive oil
• Dish rag
• Library card or small spatula

Step by step

  1. Pour a small amount of cooking oil (vegetable or olive oil is fine) onto the gum on top of the leather.
  2. Allow to set for several minutes.
  3. Using a credit card or small metal spatula, carefully scrape the gum off.
  4. Wash item as you normally would.

Meet the tester

Jean Chen

Jean Chen


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