There are few worse feelings than stepping out in your new favorite pair of shoes just to come to the realization that you stepped in gum. While silently cursing the person who audaciously disposed of their chewed wad on the ground may offer some internal validation, it’s not going to do much for your shoes. Luckily, there are solutions for how to get gum off shoes without leaving residue and damage.
In fact, many of the solutions for how to get gum off shoes exist with the use of common household items. For example, ice, peanut butter and WD-40 all offer tricks for removing gum. In addition, specific leather or suede polishes and cleaning techniques present more options for restoring your shoes’ glory.
Here at FootFitter, we aren’t going to leave you to figure out how to get gum off shoes alone. To make the process a little less sticky, we compiled a list of items and products you can use to solve your gum problem.
How to get gum off leather shoes
When it comes to getting gum off your leather shoes, polishes and creams may be useful for restoring their finish after you handle your sticky situation. In fact, to find out more about that process, “Shoe Shining Tips to Maintain the Longevity and Luxury of Your Leather” breaks down just how to create the intended mirror shine.
But, first things first, you still have to get the gum off. If the gum hardened, you can start by scraping 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 stress, hope isn’t lost. In fact, this is where the objects laying around your house prove to be pretty useful.
1. How to get gum off shoes with ice
The reason this method is effective is because exposing the gum to ice will cause it to harden and make it easier to remove.
Ice offers a couple options depending on how much time you have to spare.
If you are in a time crunch, then rubbing a single ice cube for 10 to 20 minutes on the affected area should do the trick and make the gum easier to remove.
However, the more effective option is to stick your shoe in a plastic bag with the plastic pressed firmly against the gum. After leaving it in the freezer for two hours, the gum should pull off with the plastic.
2. How to get gum off shoes with peanut butter
Unlike ice, peanut butter has the opposite effect.
Instead of making the gum harden, peanut butter softens the sticky substance. This allows the gum mold to easily peel away.
To achieve this, start by putting two spoonfuls of peanut butter over the gum.
The gum should not take more than 20 minutes to return to a pliable form. As a result, it should then be easier to scrape away.
3. How to get gum off shoes with WD-40
Another surprisingly helpful household item is WD-40. While you may think of the spray as the thing you use on your bicycle chain, it is also effective at removing gum from hair and shoes.
Like ice, WD-40 works off the basic premise that freezing the gum will make it easier to remove.
This freezing method may present a better option for hardening the gum because you don’t have to hold a cold ice cube or wait around with your shoe in the freezer for results.
In conjunction, the gum should also harden much quicker using WD-40.
How to get gum reside off shoes
After scraping away the gum from your leather, it is likely there will still be some leftover gum residue.
Before polishing your shoes to revamp their shine, try washing the area gently with soap and water. In addition, a brush is helpful to scrape away any remnants from the gum.
For instance, the FootFitter Genuine Horse Hair Shoe Shine Brush utilizes horsehair bristles that are gentle but durable. This style is great for scraping away any excess debris without harming your leather and should remove any remaining gum residue.
How to get gum off suede shoes
When it comes to getting gum off your suede shoes, other methods are in order. After all, when ice melts, which it tends to do when you’re rubbing it against your shoe for 10 minutes, it turns into water. Since water is also not too great for your suede and can cause stains of its own, freezing away your gum may not be the best method.
Rubbing peanut butter on the sensitive surface may also cause further damage to the suede so softening the gum seems to be out of the question too.
On the other hand, using a credit card or knife to carefully scrape away the gum without scraping the top layer of your suede should be your first step. After that, using a special eraser for suede shoes will be your best bet at returning them to their original look.
For instance, the FootFitter Professional 4-Way Suede and Nubuck Cleaner contains a stain eraser among other useful brushes. The eraser works well on delicate suede and should remove any remaining gum residue.
For more tips on how to repair damaged suede, check out: “How to Clean Suede Shoes: Subduing Stubborn Scuffs and Stains.”