How To Get Gum Out Of Your Hair (And Everything Else)

Illustration for article titled How To Get Gum Out Of Your Hair (And Everything Else)

Gum, while being chewed, can eliminate bad breath, quell mild hunger, and fend off a case of the snoozes (or, depending on who you ask, chewing gum can make you look like a minty-mouthed bovine hussy). But both normal people with normal opinions and my grandma can agree that already-been-chewed gum, when out of the safe confines of a human mouth, can wreak all sorts of havoc when it gets stuck in places it shouldn't. And that's where your MacGyver skills come in.


It doesn't take a rocket surgeon from Braniac University Incorporated to know that gum plus hair equals sticky nightmare mess. And it especially doesn't take much imagination to wonder why there was never a wince inducing scene in an American Pie type teen sex comedy wherein someone gets gum in their pubes before a big important date because of some crazy masturbation accident. Those teens with their penises! Always getting into mischief!

Thankfully getting gum out of head, beard, butt, and leg hair isn't that difficult. Do you have giant hair that you make even gianter with the aid of mousse? You can use your hair product to eliminate the sticky mess. Just rub a big dollop of mousse into the afflicted area until the gum starts to loosen. Then, comb it out. Do you have any non-crunch peanut butter around your house? (Of course you do; you're a good American.) Liberally smear it across the gum-inflicted area and rub it in with a toothbrush. The oil in the peanut butter should start breaking down the stickiness in the gum after a bit. When you start to feel it loosen, use a comb or the toothbrush to gently comb it straight down and out of your hair. Brush the peanut butter and gumwad into a waiting paper towel, and then, as soon as you can, take a shower and rinse the remaining PB out of your head. Peanut butter and mousseless commies, don't fret; any sort of cooking oil will also help break gum's totalitarian hold on your tresses. Any oil will do here- vegetable, olive, canola, even oily spreadable foods like mayonnaise will work. Experiment! You've already made an ass out of yourself, gum-head. Can't get much worse!

If you hate littering like I do, then you probably sometimes walk around with little wrappers of gum that contain already-chewed gum in your purse or pockets, which you're storing there until you can find a garbage can. And if you're concurrently pretty forgetful like me, you sometimes forget that there's gum in your pockets until you wash and dry your clothes, leaving the dryer looking like a tragic Mr. Bubble mascot accident. This isn't the end of the world, either. You can try to remove it using the same methods that apply to hair-gum removal — any sort of oil or WD-40, peanut butter — or you can shove a soaking wet beach towel in the dryer's drum, throw in like six dryer sheets, and run that sucker on high for a complete cycle.

If you get gum on your shoes, try spreading peanut butter across the tread and working it in until the gum loosens. Use ice for your sheets and gently scrape the frozen gum off with a knife. Other, smaller items of clothing can be de-gummed by putting in the freezer until the gum is solid and easily chippable. Carpet is freed from gum with colorless vinegar and a toothbrush and some elbow grease.

So, what did we learn today? Gum might seem like a formidable opponent, but seeing as it's nothing up against peanut butter, ice, or olive oil, if it were a super hero, it would be the worst ever. And secondly, but probably most important: spoiler alert for life! Vinegar, and not diamonds, is a girl's best friend.

Image via olly/Shutterstock.



One of the worst child-minding incidents of my life was when an eight-year-old charge got gum in her hair, then tried to rectify it herself with craft scissors. I wasn't actually in the room with her at the time, I just noticed that suddenly the house was quiet... too quiet. So I went searching for her, and she came sidling up to me, almost on the verge of tears, with her hair and fringe hacked all to shit. I couldn't get in phone contact with her mother, so I just found the family's hairdresser's number in the address book and thank god I was able to make an appointment for later that morning. The kid had to go from "hair-past-her-shoulders" to "pixie-cut" (she'd done that thing kids do where you cut, and then it's crooked so you try and cut some more) and her mother had a conniption when I was able to finally get in touch and explain what happened, but then it turned out everyone liked the pixie cut and she didn't grow her hair out again after that for a good few years.