How To Remove Gum From A Shoe

We have all experienced the aggravation of stepping in gum and trying to remove the sticky mess from the bottom of our shoe. No matter how much you scrape and scrub, chewing gum often leaves a residue on your shoes. Gum can ruin a pair of shoes, but these tips will help the gum removal process work more effectively. If you step on gum, do not panic. Select one of these cleaning methods and remove gum from your shoe as quickly as possible.

Freeze The Gum

Freezing gum will make it harder and crack into fragments that can be easily chipped off the bottom of a shoe. First, put the shoe in a plastic bag and press it firmly against the gum for several seconds. The gum must stick to the plastic bag before freezing to work properly. Place the plastic bag in the freezer for 2 hours, but do not contaminate frozen food being stored. Once the gum is frozen, you can easily remove the plastic bag, and the gum will be stuck to the plastic instead of your shoe.


Fill a large plastic bag or Ziploc storage bag full of ice cubes. It is best if the bag can be zipped or closed to prevent the ice from melting. Place the shoe on top of the bag of ice and press the bottom of the shoe onto the plastic until the gum freezes. Replace the ice if it melts before the gum is frozen. Gently scrape the frozen gum off your shoe with a butter knife or metal utensil. The chewing gum must be completely hard before it can be removed using this method.


It may sound like a tax form or a Star Wars character, but WD-40 spray is a multi-use cleaning product that can be used around the house and in your vehicle. Apply WD-40 to the sole of your shoe and leave the product on the gum for several minutes. The WD-40 will break down the gum’s sticky fibers and make it easier to remove without any scrubbing. Once the chewing gum has dissolved, use a clean towel or cloth to wipe away the excess WD-40 residue.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is an excellent way to remove gum from a shoe without chemicals.

Apply two tablespoons of creamy peanut butter to the gum stain, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Next, use a wire brush and gloves to scrub the area covered in peanut butter. Finally, rinse the sole of the shoe with cold water and clean any remaining peanut butter with a sponge and liquid dishwashing soap.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is another natural method to remove gum stuck at the bottom of your shoe. Use a paper towel to rub the area with olive oil. Let the oil sit on the gum for 1 minute, then use a dry paper towel to rub the excess oil off. Next, use a butter knife or sharp utensil dipped in oil to scrape any gum left on the shoe. Repeat as necessary. Avoid getting the olive oil directly on a leather or suede shoe, as it may stain.

removing gum from the bottom of my shoeSand and a Stick

If you step on gum outside, act quickly. All you need is dry sand and a small, wooden stick. First, sprinkle a little sand over the gum. Now use the stick to rub the sand into the gum, which should start falling off in small chunks. Continually add more sand and just keep rubbing. Oddly enough, the sand behaves as an exfoliator for the bottom of your shoe. Your goal is to add more sand until the gum is gone. This process may take more time than other methods, but it is much better to find a solution instead of allowing gum to dry and harden onto your shoe.

Dissolve The Gum

Dissolving gum can be a quick and easy method with the correct solvent. These are the most reliable choices for liquid gum removal:

  1. Lighter Fluid

    In a well-ventilated area, rub a small amount of lighter fluid or naphtha onto the gum using an old cloth or piece of paper towel. The gum on the shoe should start to dissolve immediately. This gum removal method is efficient, but naphtha is highly flammable so keep it away from any heat sources and always use it with caution.

  1. Nail Polish Remover

    Acetone-based nail polish remover also works well. Simply soak a paper towel or cloth in the remover and rub it onto the gum until it disappears. Nail polish remover has a strong chemical odor, so use this solvent in a well-ventilated area. Do not use nail polish remover on patent or suede shoes. The acetone may damage the finish.

How To Remove Gum From Shoe Side

Most of the time when someone steps on chewing gum, it usually gets stuck to the bottom of the shoe. However, there are instances where gum leaves a sticky mark the side of the shoe. The best tactic to remove the gum is to freeze it and pull it off. If you can, put the shoe in a plastic or Ziploc bag and place it into the freezer for at least an hour or until the gum hardens. Once frozen, use a butter knife to scrape or pick it off the side of the shoe. If you are unable to put your shoe in the freezer, use ice to freeze the gum, then try to peel it off.

How To Remove A Gum Stain

getting gum off the bottom of my shoeUse a powerful stain remover product called Goof Off to remove gum stains from your shoes. This cleaning agent is specifically designed to eliminate stains. You can apply Goof Off directly to the shoe, let the cleaner sit on the gum stain for up to 10 minutes, and then loosen it up with a fiber brush. You can also use a damp cloth or towel to blot Goof Off onto the shoe and then rinse the area with water to remove any residue.

How To Remove Gum From Shoe Laces

  1. Peanut Butter

Cover the chewing gum with a generous amount of peanut butter. Work the peanut butter into the fibers of the shoe laces and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. The peanut butter will soften the gum and make it easier to scrape it off with a butter knife or sharp utensil. Once most of the gum is removed, soak the shoe laces in a mixture of warm water and laundry detergent. Use a toothbrush to gently scrub the shoe laces and rinse with water to remove any remaining peanut butter or gum.

  1. WD-40 or Compressed Air

Spray the gum-affected area of your shoe laces with WD-40 to dissolve the gum. Wait 5 minutes, then wipe off the excess WD-40 with a paper towel. Wash and rinse the laces. You can also freeze the gum with a can of compressed air used for cleaning and scrape the frozen gum off with a butter knife. Once the gum hardens, you can easily crack or pull it off the shoe laces.

  1. Freezer

Like a shoe, you can also put your shoe laces in the freezer. Place the laces in a Ziploc bag and press the sticky area against the plastic. Put the shoe laces in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours until the gum totally hardens. Remove the bag once the gum is frozen, and gently pull the plastic back from the shoe laces. The gum should peel off with the plastic. If there are any gum remnants left, you can easily scrape them off with a butter knife.

  1. Ice

If you need to remove chewing gum from shoe laces and don’t have much time to spare, ice is your best option. Rub an ice cube over the gum for 10-20 minutes. This process should freeze the gum and make it harden to the consistency of putty. Use a butter knife or sharp utensil to remove the gum from the shoe laces. If there is any residue left on the laces, use a toothbrush to gently scrub the area with soap and water.

How To Remove Gum From Leather Shoes

Leather shoes are often expensive, and it is much harder to remove gum from leather than other types of shoes because gum doesn’t stick to leather unless it is pressed or melted onto it. Removing gum from leather can be tricky, but if you use the right method, it is possible to clean it off your leather shoes.

The following four methods are the most efficient ways to remove gum from your leather shoes:

Freezer or Ice

If possible, put your leather shoes in a large Ziploc bag and place them in the freezer for up to an hour. The gum should harden once it is frozen. Carefully chip frozen fragments off the leather with a hard, flat-edged tool, like your fingernail, a plastic utensil, or credit card. Do not use a knife to scrape the gum off the shoe, because you may gouge the leather.

You can also fill a Ziploc bag with ice and place it on gum for 15-20 minutes. Make sure the bag is sealed to avoid water damage. Wipe off any excess water on the leather and slowly pull off the frozen gum. Avoid sharp objects. After you have frozen the gum and removed as much as possible, proceed with the following tips to clean off any residue on your leather shoe.

Ice and Toothbrush

Use a soft toothbrush and saddle soap to remove gum residue that is stuck to the leather shoe. If the gum is old, it may be difficult to scrape it off the leather. Scrub the leather with a toothbrush and saddle soap to clean off these hard particles of gum. The bristles of the toothbrush and soap lather should gently remove the gum without damaging the leather.

Ice and Hair Dryer

Set your hair dryer to high heat and aim the nozzle of the hair dryer about 6-8 inches above the gum spot. Use circular motions until the gum softens. Be careful not to scorch or burn the leather with the hair dryer. Once the gum is soft, you can use a plastic utensil or credit card to scrape it off. Reheat the gum with the hair dryer and rub off any residue with a damp towel. Next, clean the shoe with saddle soap and leather conditioner to moisturize the area.

Ice and Saddle Soap

Saddle soap is formulated to clean and preserve leather. It can also be used to remove sticky residue from leather without damaging your shoes. Apply a small amount of saddle soap to the gum with a clean towel and rub in the soap with circular motions. The saddle soap lather softens the residue and removes any gum remnants left on the leather after applying the ice.

To remove the saddle soap, wipe off the soap lather with a damp towel, but do not use water to rinse off the soap. Water can ruin the color and texture of a leather shoe. Finally, use a leather conditioner on the gum spot after it has dried. The leather conditioner will help to ensure that there is absolutely no damage or discoloration caused by the gum, ice, or saddle soap.

Ice and Soap Suds

There are a variety of leather soaps on the market you can use to clean a leather shoe after using ice and a plastic utensil or credit card to remove gum. Scrape off as much of the gum as possible, but do not damage the leather. Select a leather soap like Ivory Snow or Armor All and mix it with lukewarm water to form a thick foam. You will only be using the suds of the foam.

Use a sponge to gently rub the soap suds onto the surface of the gum stain. Only apply the suds to the affected area. Keep rubbing the area until all the sticky remnants are removed. Dry the spot with a clean, dry towel. Once the area is dry, apply a leather conditioner to restore any possible discoloration created by the gum. You can also use a water protector to prevent water damage.

Ice and Peanut Butter

Thoroughly mix the peanut butter before you use it. Coat the gum with a small portion of peanut butter, but try to get to avoid the leather as much as possible. Some peanut butter will stain leather. Test an area of your shoe to see if the peanut butter will leave a stain before covering the gum spot. If the peanut butter stains the leather, do not use this method.

The oils in the peanut butter will break down the gum fibers and make it easier to remove gum residue from the leather. After an hour, use a damp towel to wipe off the peanut butter, then rub saddle soap on the area in a circular motion to get rid of any gum remnants. Finally, once the spot has dried, apply some leather conditioner to restore any damage done to the leather.

Scotch Tape

Take a piece of scotch tape and firmly press it onto the gum stain multiple times. Next, pull off the scotch tape and repeat the process until all the gum lifts completely off. Finally, condition the leather with a suitable leather conditioning product. Once gum is gone, your leather shoe should be restored.

Problem Solved

If you ever get gum on your shoe, the good news is that you have at least seven different solutions you can use to get rid of it, and most of them are found in your kitchen cabinet, garage, fridge or right outside. If you are worried about potentially damaging your shoes, test small areas before applying cleaning products, solvents, or household items to your shoes and shoe laces, especially leather shoes. The next time you step on gum, do not panic, instead simply pick one of these methods to remove gum quickly and