How To Remove Gum From Shoes
There are very few things in life that are worse than stepping onto a chewing gum. You can curse the person who disposed of the gum onto the pathway but this will never change the fact that your shoe now has gum on the outsole. What you should concern yourself with is the effective removal of such a nuisance object from your footwear. Fortunately for you, we have some of the best ways to remove gum from your shoes without ever damaging your footwear.
Use Ice Or Put The Shoe In The Freezer
There is a reason why ice cubes work so well in the removal of a sticky, gummy residue from almost any surface. Ice is cold, and one of the effects of cold is that it hardens another substance. This is the opposite of hot items wherein they melt or “liquefy” other objects. Hardening a gum makes it a lot easier to remove by scraping it off the surface of your shoe.
There are two ways to remove the gum from your shoe, depending on how much time you have or on the urgency of the situation. If you do not have the luxury of time, then rubbing one or two ice cubes over the gummy residue for at least 20 minutes should do the trick. This will toughen up the gum and making it super easy to scrape off your shoe.
However, if you are not in a hurry, the best recourse will be to expose your shoe to cold temperatures for a longer period of time. This means you have to put your shoe in a resealable plastic bag. Make sure to press the plastic onto the gummy surface before putting everything – shoe and plastic bag – in the freezer. Leave it there for two hours. Once done, remove the shoe from the freezer and “peel” off the plastic. The gum residue should “peel” right off with the plastic bag.
Apply Peanut Butter
This is a rather odd solution to the quintessential gum-on-the-shoe situation. While it works, one should take note that its effectiveness is contingent on the texture of the gum you are trying to remove. If the gum is already hard and tough, you will have a better chance working with ice than with peanut butter. But if you’re talking about a gum that’s still soft and quite mushy, then the peanut butter method may be the solution for you.
The idea here is the exact opposite of the effects of ice on the gum. Instead of hardening the gum, you would want to soften it. This will help loosen its grip on the surface of the shoe. In a way, this makes it a lot easier to remove since the gum’s grip on the shoe’s surface is not that strong. Hence, if you use peanut butter, you are softening the gum a lot further for it to lose its grip on the shoe.
To remove gum from your shoe using peanut butter, get an old butter knife. Take a huge glob of peanut butter and apply this onto the affected area of the shoe. Rub the peanut butter into the gum for about 10 to 15 minutes. It is like kneading dough with the peanut butter and the gum being the egg and the flour. What you want to achieve is to integrate the gum into the peanut butter. Once done, you can then scrape off the peanut butter-gum mixture.
Use Compressed Air Or WD40
For those with cars at home, one of the most versatile solutions they can ever have is WD40. It works on almost anything. It can remove stickers and decals on cars while also helping improve the clarity of certain glass elements. What you may not know, however, is that WD40 can also be a great tool for removing gum from your shoe. It works in the very same principle as applying ice cubes.
The good thing about using WD40 in hardening the gummy residue is that it works faster. It is also a lot easier to apply since you are not going to hold it for 20 minutes or so. Spray a generous amount onto the affected area of your shoe and leave it for about 10 minutes. This should be enough to harden the residue and make it easy enough to scrape off your footwear.
If you have a can of compressed air at home, you can use this as an alternative. The pressurized canister of air often comes in low temperature. As such, it produces almost the same effects as applying ice cubes or freezing your shoe. Like WD40, using compressed air is a lot easier, too. You also don’t need to wait that long before you can start scraping the residue from your shoe.
Dissolve The Gummy Residue With The Right Solvent
Sometimes you do not need to either harden or soften the gummy residue. What you need is to dissolve it. The only issue with using solvents is that they can be quite dangerous. For example, naphthalene is an excellent solvent to dissolve gum on the shoe. However, you should be careful when working with such a substance since it is flammable.
A good alternative is to use a nail polish remover. Soak a piece of cloth or a paper towel with nail polish remover and rub it over the affected area. After some time, you should notice the gummy residue to start to fade. Keep in mind, however, that acetone often has a very strong odor. It is best to perform this gum-on-the-shoe removal technique in a well-ventilated area of the house. Another word of caution: don’t use acetone on suede shoes.
If you have a cigarette lighter, it could be a good option. Like the acetone method, soak a piece of cloth with lighter fluid and rub this vigorously onto the affected area. Be careful as it is flammable, too.
You should never get hung up on that pesky gum on your shoe. There are ways in which you can remove this sticky nuisance with relative ease.