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Home Remedies for Gum Removal

by
author image Anne Helmenstine, Ph.D.
Anne Helmenstine has been writing since 1996, primarily for online publications. She has worked as a scientist, consultant and college professor, as well. Helmenstine has a Doctor of Philosophy in biomedical science from the University of Tennessee's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She also holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in physics and mathematics from Hastings College.
Home Remedies for Gum Removal
A young girl is chewing gym on a school bus. Photo Credit Andersen Ross/Blend Images/Getty Images

Overview

Chewing gum is best kept in the mouth, yet it has a tendency to appear on clothes and shoes, across faces and in the hair. You may have painful memories of gum removal involving pulled hair, ruined clothes, scissors and unflattering haircuts. Fortunately, there are many home remedies that remove gum successfully.

Ice

Ice solidifies gum and eliminates the elasticity that makes gum difficult to remove. This method is good for gum removal on clothing, shoes and at the end of long hair. Place ice cubes into a plastic bag and hold the bag against the gum until it hardens. Take care when freezing gum stuck in hair not to freeze the person's head. Use a towel to protect skin from the cold. Frozen gum can be broken off clothing and shoes or broken into smaller pieces that can be worked out of hair.
If the gum becomes stretchy, it is thawing out. Refreeze it with the ice.

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Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is the most common gum removal substance for hair. It is much more effective removing gum from hair and skin than freezing and does not involve discomfort due to cold. Apply and knead creamy peanut butter into the gum. The gum will start to dissolve and lose much of its stickiness. A comb or fingers will slide the gum off the affected area. This technique is not recommended for clothing because the peanut butter will leave an oily stain after the gum is removed.

Cooking Oil

The ingredient in peanut butter that is so effective in removing gum is the peanut oil. Other oils used for cooking, such as olive oil, canola oil or vegetable oil, are just as effective at gum removal. Rub the gum with the oil until the gum starts to dissolve. Work out the gum with your fingers or a comb. This technique can stain clothing in the same way as the peanut butter.

Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is another effective treatment. It works the same way as peanut butter where the oil does all the work. Rub the gum with mayonnaise and work out the residue with your fingers or a comb.

Hand Lotion and Mouthwash

Hand lotion is another oily product that will remove gum, but it leaves your hair oily. The mouthwash is meant to cut the oil to make cleanup easier.

Vaseline or Petroleum Jelly

Vaseline or petroleum jelly will break down gum in the same manner as the other oil products. Rub the Vaseline into the gum and comb or pull out.

WD-40

WD-40 is a water displacement product commonly used as a lubricant. It is also very effective at gum removal. Spray the gum with WD-40 and comb out the gum.
WD-40 can be harmful if swallowed or consumed. Take care to wash your hands after using this technique.

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References

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