How to Remove Gum from Shoes?

Do you condemn a new pair of shoes or favorite pair because someone’s (or your) well-chewed bubble gum stuck to it?

Definitely no!

So, what do you do when you step on gum your shoes pick up on the sidewalk?

Since owning a pair of high-quality shoes is an investment that you should guide at all costs, the attention your shoe attracts is a function of how much care you show the pair to keep it in excellent and long-lasting shape.

Let’s rephrase that!

Your shoe is a fashion article and must be in top shape at all times.

What then do you do when you see that annoying piece of gum latched to the sole of your shoes?

Take a chill and join us on this ride as we unveil simple (but tried and tested) tips to help you clean out the most stubborn gum from your shoes with ease.

The Freezing Removal Method

Long before refrigerators became a regular household item, people living in snowy areas know that ice can work many wonders – like removing many kinds of gum and glue from their possessions.

It is no surprise, then, that applying ice is one of the most effective methods of getting rid of gum from the sole of your shoes.

Ice will first harden the gum and then make it easy to remove.

There are different options for applying ice to the gum. However, it depends on the amount of time you have or how soon you need the nuisance off.

With limited time, you can keep rubbing a single cube of ice on and around the area for 10-20 minutes until it loses its grip and comes off.

If you are not in a hurry, on the other hand, you can use the following steps:

  • Put the gum-ridden shoe into a plastic bag and ensure the gum gets fastened to the container by pressing either thumb on the piece of gum for some seconds; this action will make it stick to the plastic bag.
  • Next, put the plastic bag into the freezer (away from your food).
  • Let it stay in the freezer for 2-3 hours to allow the gum to freeze.
  • The moment you notice it is frozen, bring it out from the freezer and remove the shoe.
  • The gum would have attached to the bag rather than the shoe, making it gum-free.

Simple, right?

A Great Read: The 7 Best Shoes for Sweaty Feet of 2022

The Ice Removal Method

This method is an alternative way of using ice to get rid of gum from your shoes if you do not have a freezer nearby.

Purchase ice cubes (or get some from your neighbor) and throw them into a large ice bag.

You can put the shoe with the gum side directly on the ice but make sure that water will not get into the shoe as the ice begins to melt.

The second part is crucial to prevent the shoe from damage owing to exposure to liquid and moisture.

Now add a little pressure to the gum to make it stick to the ice.

Use a blunt knife-like object to gently scrape off the gum after it has frozen to avoid damaging the shoe.

Ensure that you use a plastic bag that will ensure the ice stays frozen for long.

Note, however, that this method requires a lot of patience to get the desired result.

The Peanut Butter Method

This is a sticky yummy licking method of getting rid of gum; you will have fun applying this method.

Whoever thought peanut can be useful for any other thing than eating?

Add two tablespoons of creamy peanut butter to the gum and allow it to stay on for 10 minutes.

Take a piece of wire brush to scrape the gummy substance off.

The gum will come off but with a little dissipation of energy.

Be careful when scrubbing off the sticky paste, so you do not damage your shoes.

When done, put the sole of the shoe through running water and use a sponge to clean off any peanut butter residue left on it.

A thorough cleaning and drying session will prevent ants from getting attracted to your shoes and damaging it.

The Sand and Stick Method

A quick and inexpensive way of getting rid of fresh gum (immediately it happens) is to apply dry sand since the gum is still soft.

All you need is some dry sand sprinkled on the gum.

You then pick a stick to rub the sand into the gum for it to start peeling off bit by bit.

Keep adding more sand as you rub on till all the gum is completely removed from the sole of your shoe.

This option works best if you are in a rush, as you do not need to wait for the gum to harden before getting it off as you move around.

The WD-40 Method

Another popular method of getting rid of gum from your shoe is applying a spray called WD-40 (sold in cleaning supply stores and supermarkets).

All you need to do is spray the solution on and around the gum on the shoe sole, then allow it to stay on it for a minute to weaken the adhesive bond on the gum.

You then take a paper towel or wash rag to wipe off the gum from the sole. This removal session should be easy.

But if it is proving to be stubborn, you can spray a second time to get the desired result.

When you are through, use an extra paper towel to wipe off any residue left on it.

Do not allow WD-40 to get on the fabric of your shoe (especially in the case of suede and leather), so it does not destroy the surface.

The Olive Oil Method

This is an easy but efficient gum removal method our moms have used for generations.

You need to rub the olive oil directly on the gum but avoid staining the suede or leather of the shoe.

Allow the oil to stay on the gum for a minute.

Next, rub off the oil-soaked gum with a paper towel.

If any excess gum is sticking on the sole, you can dip your pinky finger or something similar in olive oil and rub on the gum to get rid of it.

Use a paper towel to wipe off excess oil to prevent possible falls when walking on a slippery floor.

This last procedure is essential, especially if the shoe is not oil or slip resistant.

Gum Dissolver Method

This process involves using common non-harmful chemical substances to dissolve the gum from the sole of the shoe without leaving permanent damage.

A lighter fluid like naphtha or nail polish remover will work well.

Soak a piece of cloth or paper towel in naphtha, rub on the gum, and watch the adhesive slowly dissolve gradually.

Knowing that naphtha is a flammable substance, ensure your environment is well-ventilated and kept away from items that can ignite a fire.

Tip: the best nail polish remover for dissolving gum are those that are Acetone-based.

Lastly, take the utmost precaution not to allow the naphtha or nail remover fall on your shoe, especially suede or patent shoes, for the fact that it will damage the finish.

If you work in a heavy-duty environment and want shoes that can withstand the chemical composition in Acetone-based gum removers.

What Should You Do if There Are Still Gum Residues After Trying All the Methods Above?

Before you put on your shoe, ensure you clean the affected part with water and soap such that any residue is exposed instantly.

Ensure that you have a soft brush by the side to clean off the remaining gum on it.

Another method is to use a FootFitter Professional 4-Way Suede and Nubuck Cleaner to clean out the remnant.

Made with brass and nylon bristle, it is gentle, durable, and removes dirt and debris from shoes as easily as you can chew bubble gum.

The 4-way cleaner is suitable for nubuck and suede shoes considering that it rubs away scuffs and stubborn stains easily.

Also, the rubber crepe tool helps to restore texture while eliminating deep stains that may occur when removing the bulk of the gum.

To guide against damages to your shoe that may have been occasioned by water, peanut butter, or naphtha during the removal process, it is advisable to use a dull knife or a flat card to scrape off the gum from the shoe – particularly if it is made from suede materials.


It is indeed an ugly experience to step on gum, whether within the comfort of your home or while you are out walking on the street.

No one wants chewed-out bubble gum to slow them down from achieving their task or completing a journey.

More so, you, too, will also desire that your shoe lasts long, investing in a new pair.

This is why you have to be on the lookout for a smooth, fast, and non-complicated way of getting rid of this issue that comes up unannounced.

No matter how sticky the gum you step on, you need not worry again on how to get it off without damaging your shoes.

You can choose any tip that is convenient or comfortable, depending on the materials you have at your disposal.

They are all inexpensive and will keep your shoe in shape for as long as possible.

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