Gum is a familiar snack for us every time we want to chew something to refresh our mouths a bit. Since its popularity, nowadays, gum appears with different interesting flavors and shapes. However, chewing gum is not all fun. The feeling of your expensive sandals with gum under the sole won’t be interesting, moreover, it’s not easy to remove.
Fortunately, there are countless solutions for how to get rid of gum on shoes without leaving damage. In fact, those efficient ways exist with the use of common items you can easily find around your house. And here at Workwear Magazine, we will make a list of products that you can use to solve this gum on shoe problem. Check it out now!
The Important Note Before Removing Gum From Shoes
For the best way to get rid of gum on shoes, you have to determine the material of the shoe in the first place. As a result, you can choose the most suitable method.
Here are a few common materials we use:
- Canvas: Super popular, durable but gets dirty fast. Still, its biggest advantage is also that it is very easy to clean.
- Leather: Luxurious and stylish, but hard to clean
- Mesh Fabric: Like Canvas, very vulnerable to dirt yet easy to clean.
- Rubber: Quite durable, but whether it’s easy or difficult to clean depends on the dirt on it.
- Suede: The hardest to clean material.
In this article, Workwear Magazine will present approaches to remove gum for shoes of two tough-to-clean materials, leather, and suede. If your shoes are made of other types, you can still relate to these solutions.
Let’s get started!
How To Get Rid Of Gum On Shoes Without Leaving Damage?
To get gum off the leather shoes, we have countless solutions, such as freezer, oils, acetone, or heat, etc. You can make the gum hardened first then scrape it away with a credit card or plastic tool.
However, sometimes this method is ineffective or the gum is still in its sticky form. Don’t be so stressed out! A lot of objects around your house prove to be pretty useful in this case.
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1. Use the freezer or ice
Freezing the gum is a simple solution to how to get rid of gum on shoes. The technique is based on the fact that gum becomes hard when it gets cold, from there, we can remove it easily.
Here are the detailed steps to follow:
- Step 1. First of all, stick the shoe in a plastic bag to avoid dirt from your shoes dropping in the freezer. Another benefit of doing that is giving the gum something to stick to.
- Step 2. Press the plastic bag against the gum until it sticks. Then, put it in the freezer.
- Step 3. After a few hours, the gum will be sufficiently frozen. Now, you only have to take it out and pull the gum off the shoe.
However, to make sure it works, don’t rush to take it out too soon. You can try a bit if it doesn’t rip off, put it back in and wait longer. You can also try scraping off the frozen gum with a knife or a fork.
What if you don’t have a suitable freezer, you can apply ice to the gum instead. It’s really a fine substitute for a freezer.
- Step 1. Put the ice in a plastic bag to keep your shoe dry. Next, set the ice bag on top of the gum.
- Step 2. Following that, seal the shoe and ice bag inside another plastic bag to keep the cold inside.
- Step 3. Press the ice down. Keep it here for several minutes to make sure the gum gets harder.
- Step 4. Finally, take the ice bag out and scrape the gum off.
2. Use WD40
If you are the type of person who frequently takes care of cars or other machinery, you’ve probably known WD40 and its power. Just like the freezing method, with WD40, we will take advantage of the mix of lubricants and solvents to get stuck things to move.
And all you need to do are:
- Step 1. Spray WD-40 directly onto the gum and around it. After that, leave it for a while.
- Step 2. To remove the gum, use a rag or paper towel to wipe it out. If there’s still some gum residue left, take another spray or more until it goes off completely.
- Step 3. Clean that area properly, or the whole shoes if needed.
– This W40 product doesn’t not suitable for suede and other porous, absorbent materials since the oil will stain fabrics.
– Make sure to rinse your shoes carefully after removing gum with WD40 because the active ingredients may react with rubber and plastic materials if left on.
3. Use nail polish remover or naphtha
In case you don’t have WD40 in hand and the freezer method is not effective, don’t lose hope yet, there are still other household products that can do the job – one of those is nail polish remover, aka. acetone.
You will need to moisten a piece of paper towel with the liquid then simply rub it against the gum repeatedly.
Besides nail polish remover, naphtha can also work really well for dissolving chewing gum on shoes. So, how to get gum off shoes with it? Well, again, use a rag or paper towel with naphtha to rub the gum until it’s gone.
– Impurities in nail polish remover can stain or damage your shoes. Therefore, just apply a small amount to an out-of-sight part first, if nothing happens, try it on the chewing gum area.
– As for naphtha, it’s really flammable, so be careful. You’d better use it in an airy place to reduce the heat.
4. Use gasoline
Similar to nail polish remover, we can use gasoline in lighters to remove chewing gum from our beloved footwear.
First, you will dip a piece of cloth or tissue in the solution and rub it on the gum. The gum will start to disintegrate. Now, you just need to use a fork to remove it from the shoes.
However, you have to make sure to use this kind of solution in a well-ventilated area, away from sources of heat, as they are extremely flammable.
5. Use the hairdryer
In contrast to hardening the gum with cold, you can melt it with heat, and in this case, we will use the hairdryer to dissolve it.
- Step 1. Direct the dryer to the gum area and turn on the heat.
- Step 2. Use a spoon or a knife to constantly check the gum’s consistency.
- Step 3. When the gum gets soft and less sticky, scrape it off.
- Step 4. You can finish it off with a paper towel to get any residue.
6. Use peanut butter
Another surprising item to get rid of gum on shoes you can find at home is peanut butter. Yes, you’ve read it right! Well, the oil in peanut butter actually dissolves the sticky compounds. Moreover, the little particles of the mixture can effectively wear down the rubbery bonds and scrub everything off.
You have to apply a thick layer of butter on the gum, about two tablespoons should be enough. After that, leave it here for around 10 minutes for the mixture to do its magic. Finally, use a toothbrush to scrub the gum off. Don’t forget to rinse your shoes after that!
Note: Peanut butter will stain suede and nubuck, so you should only use this trick for non-absorbent materials.
7. Use sand and wooden sticks
This works best if you are outside and stepping on fresh gum that means it is still soft and supple. All you need is some dry sand (or dust) and a small wooden stick.
- Step 1. Remove shoes and sprinkle some sand on top of the gum.
- Step 2. Use a wooden stick and start rubbing the gum with sand, and the gum will start to crumble.
- Step 3. Keep adding sand and rub again. Until the gum starts to peel, sprinkle more sand on top and continue rubbing. Sand now plays a role of a “detergent” to take away any dirt from the sole.
- Step 4. Continue to repeat until the gum is more or less completely flaky.
This way may take time, but it’s still the most appropriate solution when you’re outside and in a hurry. So, quickly do it instead of letting the gum dry and making it harder to remove from your shoes later on.
8. Use the iron
This is another way to use heat to remove gum from shoes. Here are the instructions:
- Step 1. You put a piece of paper or a piece of cotton on the gum.
- Step 2. Then, use the iron a few turns on the piece of cloth or cover where the gum is stuck. At this point, the gum will soften and stick to the cloth or paperboard.
- Step 3. When the gum will stick to the paper or cloth, you just need to remove it. If the gum is still on your shoe, keep ironing it until it softens and sticks to the board, then take it off.
Note: It is recommended to use moderate heat first to avoid melting shoe material.
9. Use olive oil
Gum gets its chewiness from rubber or plastic compounds, which consist of oils. Therefore, many types of oil can help to ruin its stickiness. For example, regular cooking oil can help you with that. Here we go for olive oil. You should rub it onto the gum with a cotton ball or rag, and then leave it for a few minutes. Following that, simply scrub it off.
However, this method is only suitable for the soles since oil can ruin suede, leather, and other sensitive materials.
Since suede is one of the most sensitive materials so it’s not easy to get gum off suede shoes. That also means we cannot apply a few methods similar to how we treat leather shoes.
If you tend to harden the gum with cold, think about it again. When you’re rubbing the ice against your shoe for a few minutes, it turns into water. And water is not great for your suede at all, besides, it can even cause stains.
Therefore, freezing away your gum may not be the best method for suede material. How about peanut butter? Nope, nope, and nope. Butter on the sensitive surface may also cause further damage to the suede.
So, what is the best solution for us? Perhaps using a sharp tool, like a knife, to carefully scrape away the gum without destroying the layer of your suede shoes is a great idea. For the next step, you had better use a specialized cleaning kit or eraser for suede shoes to return them to their original look.
The gum is gone forever but its residue still remains?
No worry, we have easy tips for you. Before polishing your shoes to revamp their shine, rinse the area gently with soap and water. In addition, use a toothbrush to scrape away any remnants from the gum.
In a nutshell
There are millions of quirks we could encounter daily, and stepping in gum is one of those. Having gum stuck to your shoes is extremely unsightly. Not only that, but it’s also tricky to remove unless you know the right treats.
Nevertheless, as mentioned above, we are still lucky when there are a handful of household items to help us restore the footwear from this problem effortlessly, whether they’re leather or suede. Hopefully, you find all the methods for how to get rid of gum on shoes without leaving damage in this article useful!
I’m Patek Mille, creator of Work Boots Insider. I have compiled information from the most prestigious newspapers and the most skilled craftsmen, help you choose the best poducts suitable your work lives. Follow me below