Don’t let a sticky situation get you down. Here’s how to get gum off your shoes.
You’ve finally found the motivation for that tennis practice, and what’s the plan? To ace every serve! You slip on your favorite sneakers, daydreaming of that perfect backhand. But, wait a minute—what’s this? A piece of gum trying to slow down your tennis dreams?
Now, you’re probably wondering about the fastest way to get gum off your shoe. Booting that gum off might just come down to its gooey-ness and your shoe’s material. But don’t sweat it—let’s hustle through some surefire hacks to get your sneaks back in winning form!
Things You’ll Need
- Ice cubes or a freezer
- A blunt knife or an old credit card
- Liquid dish soap
- Soft-bristled brush
- Hairdryer (optional)
- WD-40 (optional)
How to Get Gum Off Your Shoe
Using basic household items, it’s surprisingly simple to tackle that stubborn gum on your shoe. These methods are not only effective but also easy to follow, ensuring that pesky gum is gone in no time.
The Freezing Trick
- Freeze the Gum. Begin by placing your shoe in a plastic bag, making sure the gum doesn’t touch the bag’s sides. Place the bag in the freezer for about 2 hours.
- Scrape Off the Gum. Once the gum has frozen solid, take your shoe out of the freezer. Using the blunt side of a knife or an old credit card, gently scrape the gum off. It should come off easily and in chunks.
- Clean the Residue. Sometimes, a slight residue might remain. Use a bit of liquid dish soap and a soft-bristled brush to scrub away any leftovers. Rinse with a little water and dry your shoe naturally.
The Liquid Soap Technique
- Apply the Dish Soap. Take a small amount of liquid dish soap and apply it directly to the gum.
- Scrub Gently. With your soft-bristled brush, gently scrub the gum. It should start to loosen and come off the shoe.
- Rinse and Dry. Once you’ve successfully removed the gum, rinse the area with water to get rid of soap residue. Pat the shoe dry with a towel.
The Hairdryer Method (For Resilient Gums)
- Heat the Gum. Turn on your hairdryer to a medium setting and aim it directly at the gum for about a minute or until it softens.
- Scrape it Off. Once the gum is soft, use your old credit card or blunt knife to scrape it off.
- Final Cleaning. If there’s any residue, revert to the liquid soap technique to give it a final clean.
- Spray the Gum. WD-40 isn’t just for squeaky hinges—it can help get gum off shoes too! Generously spray the gum and its surroundings with WD-40.
- Pull or Wipe Off the Gum. After the gum hardens (almost instantly), you can either pull it off or gently wipe it away using a paper towel. For larger wads of gum, you might have to repeat this step.
- Clean the Residue. Ensure you wipe away any leftover WD-40 with a damp paper towel to prevent any slipperiness or potential staining.
The Peanut Butter Technique
- Apply the Peanut Butter. Even though it sounds counterintuitive, peanut butter’s oils can break down the gum’s consistency. Spread about two tablespoons of peanut butter over the gum, ensuring it’s completely covered.
- Let it Sit. Allow the peanut butter to work its magic for about 20 minutes.
- Scrape it Off. Using a spoon, scrape away the gum. For textured soles, a wire brush might be handy to reach those tough crevices.
Using Natural Elements
- Look Around. If you’ve stepped on gum while outdoors, nature might have your solution. Dry sand or dirt can act as an abrasive to help remove gum.
- Coat the Gum. Aim to cover the gum completely in sand or dirt.
- Scrape it Off. Using a stick or any flat object, scrape away the gum-dirt mixture. You might have to repeat a couple of times until the mixture of dirt and gum comes off completely.
- Choose Your Solvent. Whether it’s rubbing alcohol, Goo Gone, or the aforementioned WD-40, these solvents can help dissolve the sticky enemy.
- Apply to a Cloth. Pour a small amount of the solvent onto a clean cloth.
- Rub onto the Gum. Gently rub the cloth over the gum, ensuring the solvent saturates the sticky spot.
- Let it Sit. Allow the solvent to sit for a few minutes to break down the gum’s structure.
- Scrub Away. With a toothbrush or soft-bristled brush, scrub the gum off. For more stubborn patches, a little extra solvent might be needed.
Remember, after using any solvent, it’s a good idea to give the shoe a quick wipe-down with a damp cloth to remove any solvent residues.
How to Get Gum Off Leather Shoes
For the Sole of Leather Shoes
If the gum is on the bottom sole of any shoe, whether it’s leather or not, the methods listed in the main section (like freezing, WD-40, or the natural elements technique) are all applicable. The sole, being less delicate than the upper parts of the shoe, can generally handle more direct methods of removal.
For the Top/Front of Leather Shoes
The upper/front part of leather shoes is more delicate, so you’ll want to be extra cautious.
- Put your leather shoe in a plastic bag, ensuring the gum doesn’t touch the bag.
- Place the bagged shoe in the freezer for about an hour or two.
- Once the gum is frozen, gently peel it off using your fingertips or the blunt side of a butter knife.
Lukewarm Water & Soap:
- Dampen a soft cloth with lukewarm water mixed with a few drops of mild soap.
- Gently rub the spot where the gum was until all residue is gone.
- Wipe the area with a cloth dampened in clean water to remove any soap residues.
Leather Cleaner & Conditioner:
- Apply a quality leather cleaner to the affected area.
- After cleaning, always condition the leather to keep it soft and maintain its color.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals & Heat:
- Avoid using harsh solvents or too much heat on leather, as they can cause damage or discoloration.
- For stubborn gum or to prevent potential damage, consider seeking professional cleaning services specializing in leather care. Always test any cleaning method or product on an inconspicuous part of the leather shoe first.
How to Get Gum Off Your Shoe at School
Getting gum off your shoe while at school can be a bit challenging since you might not have all the necessary tools at hand. However, there are still a few methods you can try using common items found in a typical school environment:
- Ice Cubes:
- Grab a couple of ice cubes from the school canteen or any available freezer.
- Hold the ice cubes against the gum for several minutes until the gum hardens.
- Once it’s hardened, try to peel or scrape the gum off using the edge of a school ID, a ruler, or any other flat, firm object.
- Plastic Cutlery or Ruler:
- Use the edge of a plastic knife, spoon, or a ruler to gently scrape off as much gum as possible.
- Be careful not to damage the shoe material, especially if it’s soft or delicate.
- Pencil Eraser:
- Sometimes, rubbing a pencil eraser on gum can help roll it up and remove it, especially if the gum isn’t too deeply embedded.
- Damp Paper Towel or Cloth:
- Wet a paper towel or cloth with cold water from the bathroom or water fountain.
- Gently rub the gum with the damp paper towel or cloth to try and remove it.
- School Supplies:
- If the gum is still stubborn, you might try using a tiny bit of liquid hand sanitizer, if available. It can sometimes act as a solvent to help release the gum. However, this method should be used with caution and is better suited for soles rather than the shoe’s upper.
- Ask the Janitor:
- School janitors often have a variety of cleaning supplies and might have something specifically for gum removal or a tool that can help scrape it off.
- Book Binding:
- If the gum isn’t too sticky, you can press the gummed part of the shoe against the binding of a textbook. The gum sometimes sticks to the rough binding, helping to pull it off the shoe.
Discovering gum on your shoe, whether on the sole or laces, is a hassle, but quick fixes exist. Simple solutions like ice or peanut butter, especially on tennis shoe soles, can be effective. It’s crucial to approach leather shoes with caution to maintain their quality, and for stubborn or dried gum, using fabric helps. Acting fast and with care ensures your shoe remains in top shape.
Does hot water get gum off shoes?
No, hot water can make gum stickier and harder to remove.
Does Vaseline remove gum?
No, Vaseline is an oil-based product and will not dissolve gum.
Does vinegar remove gum?
Yes, vinegar can help to dissolve gum. Apply vinegar to the gum and let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub it off with a toothbrush.
Can toothpaste remove chewing gum?
Yes, toothpaste can help to remove chewing gum. Apply toothpaste to the gum and let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub it off with a toothbrush.
Does nail polish remover remove gum from shoes?
Yes, nail polish remover helps remove gum from your shoes as it contains acetone, a powerful solvent that can dissolve the gum and break its adhesive bond. Apply it to a cotton ball and rub it over the gum. Scrub the gum off with a toothbrush after a few minutes.
How do you remove 4 Minute Gum?
4 Minute Gum is especially sticky by design. To remove it, follow one of the methods mentioned above in this article. Freeze it or use ice cubes to make it hard, so that it can be easily removed. Another method is to follow the Hair Dryer Method, or the solvent method.