You know the sinking feeling that follows immediately after realizing that you’ve stepped in gum.
We’ve all been there and it likely won’t be the last time that you find gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe.
Unfortunately, silently cursing at whoever left their gum on the ground won’t do much to unstick the gum from your sole, but there are a number of ways to get the gum off without damaging your shoes and using mostly items you have at home.
In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to learn how to remove gum from shoes.
What You’ll Need
- Plastic knife
- Ice or a freezer
- Peanut butter or olive oil
- WD-40 or lighter fluid
- Nail polish remover (acetone-based)
If you are removing gum from leather shoes, you will also want to have leather polish handy to clean the leather when you are finished.
Typically, the freezing method is the easiest way to remove gum if you do not want to chip away at it, but it also takes the longest out of any of these methods.
Peanut butter and olive oil are extremely common, inexpensive, and fast, but depending on the material of your shoe that can sometimes leave an oil stain.
WD-40, thanks to the directed spray nozzle, is best when you are worried about stains because it can directly target the gum rather than spread all over your shoe.
Perhaps the easiest method for removing gum from shoes is to freeze the gum.
If you don’t need the shoe immediately, the easiest way to do this is to put the shoe into a large Ziploc bag and place it in the freezer for two hours with the plastic right up against the gum.
Ideally, the gum should freeze to the plastic and pull off the shoe when you tug on the plastic.
You can also do a variation of this if you are in a time crunch by rubbing ice directly against the gum for about 10-20 minutes.
The gum should harden, which makes it easier to scrape off with a plastic knife.
Peanut butter or olive oil
Both peanut butter and olive oil have the effect of softening gum, which can make it more pliable and easier to pry away from your sole.
If you are using peanut butter, place two spoonfuls of peanut butter directly onto the gum and leave it in place for about 20 minutes.
If you are using olive oil, use a cloth to smear the oil generously onto the gum and leave the oil there for about one minute.
In both cases, the gum should be easier to pull away from the shoe with a plastic knife once it has softened.
You will also want to wash the area you cleaned with running water when you are finished in order to remove any traces of the peanut butter or olive oil.
WD-40 or lighter fluid
WD-40 and lighter fluid may seem like unusual choices for removing gum from shoes, but they are actually quite effective since they work much like freezing to harden the gum and make it easier to peel off.
For WD-40, simply spray a generous amount from the can onto the gum and allow it to sit for one minute.
For lighter fluid, use a cloth to dab a soaking amount of lighter fluid onto the gum and similarly allow it to sit for one minute.
Once the gum has hardened, you can use a plastic knife to help you remove it from the sole.
Use a moist cloth to wipe away any residual WD-40 or lighter fluid.
Nail polish remover
The acetone found in many nail polish removers can also be very useful for removing gum from shoes, but be careful using this method as the acetone can also stain or damage your shoes.
Moisten a cloth with the nail polish remover, and then use the cloth to rub at the gum until it hardens and peels off the shoe.
Alternating with a plastic knife to add a prying motion can help to dislodge the gum.
When you are finished, clean the area of the sole with a cloth moistened with water to remove any traces of the nail polish remover.
Stepping in gum can easily ruin your day, but it doesn’t have to ruin your shoes.
Instead, use these simple methods requiring only materials you already have at home to remove gum from your shoes safely, quickly, and effectively.
We would love to hear which of these methods you used for removing gum from your shoes in the comments section below, and if you enjoyed the article please share with your friends so they can also learn how to remove gum from shoes!