How to Remove Gum From Polyester

Samantha Volz

Gum freshens your breath and satisfies a sudden sweet tooth. But when it comes in contact with polyester upholstery, carpet or clothing, it quickly turns into a frustrating mess. Remove gum from polyester as thoroughly as possible and then treat any residual staining caused by the dye in the gum before drying the area.

If your upholstery or carpet requires the use of a solvent-based cleaner, forgo water rinses and vinegar and remove the stain with plain vodka.


Spot test vinegar or vodka in an inconspicuous area to ensure it will not discolor the polyester.


Check the upholstery, carpet or clothing care instructions before cleaning. Always follow manufacturer directions.

  1. Hold ice cubes over the gum to freeze it and scrape or peel the frozen gum off of the carpet, upholstery or clothing with a butter knife. For smaller items, place the stained piece in a plastic bag and leave it in the freezer for 1 hour before scraping the gum off of the fabric.

  2. Dab the remaining residue with a cloth dampened with cool water to remove excess oils and dyes.

  3. Warm vinegar on the stove top or in a microwave until its about the same temperature as your preferred morning shower.

  4. Soak the bristles of a toothbrush in the warm vinegar and gently scrub the stain, working your way from the inside out. Rinse the toothbrush frequently as you work.

  5. Apply store-bought stain remover to the affected area and let it sit for one hour. Scrub the stain with warmed vinegar again until any remaining residue disappears. Rinse the area with clean, cool water.

  6. Dry carpet or upholstery quickly with a hair dryer set on low or by setting up a box fan in the room. For laundry, wash and dry the clothing per the care tag.