There are few laundering challenges as serious as removing chewing-gum. The other night when my husband walked through the door and announced that he had apparently sat on gum in the bus and wanted me to "get it out," it was clear that he hadn't a clue that it wouldn't be a simple task.
It's a well-known fact that if the gum gets rubbed into the fabric, it can never be removed. I wracked my brain for ideas. I remembered hearing that freezing the clothing sometimes works, but my freezer is small and pretty full. I'd have to empty half a shelf to fit in his slacks.
So, I finally checked with "professor google." I got a few articles/sites like "14 ways to get gum off of clothing," "10 ways to get gum off of clothing" and others of varying numbers.
The "freezing" technique didn't seem all that easy, and the ironing it out seemed too risky. Boiling vinegar and then using a toothbrush to brush it out of the fabric didn't seem very safe either. On one of the list there was a suggestion to use a strong stain remover and then rub out the gum with something abrasive.
I mulled over the various ideas also taking into account if the method could cause secondary damage to the counter or sink or wherever I'd attempt to do it. Also I realized that an unsuccessful attempt would further embed the gum into the fabric, so there would be no "second chance."
The slacks were black and the gum was white. Too bad you can't paint gum black with a permanent marker...
By the time I came back home after babysitting the grandkids I had made a decision. One of my good friends who is probably the best housekeeper I know "swears by" Oxygen stain remover
for a multitude of laundering challenges.
And until I grabbed the green scrubbing thing by the laundry-room sink I wasn't sure what I'd use. I had been thinking of using my toothbrush which needs to be replaced, but the downside of that would have been risking the bleaching effect the residual toothpaste may have had on the black fabric.
The slacks went into the sink, and I poured a very generous amount of Oxygen onto the gummy "seat" and began to rub. I know there's no suspense here, since I used the word "success" in the title. Yes, after a pretty short time the gum broke into tiny bits and pretty much left the fabric. It was hard to know what percentage remained.
Then I laundered it in a regular delicate wash, adding more clothes and detergent. Of course the slacks fabric had lots of Oxygen. When the laundry was finished I hung it all out to dry and must say that it was about 90% plus clean if not cleaner, which was good enough and far cleaner than I had expected.
And, no, this isn't an advertisement. I just wish I was getting paid to write it.