How To Get Gum Out Of Hair: 15 Easy Methods You Can Try At Home

Ariane Cooley LittleThings writer by Ariane Cooley
Ariane is a freelance writer for LittleThings.

I was a bit of a wild child growing up. My older brother and I were frequently toted around on errands and often left to our own devices; he was constantly told to “watch your sister,” because, like I said before, I was a bit of a handful.

One day, my brother and I were out front in the waiting room while my mom was with her hairstylist. I was chewing a big wad of grape Big League Chew while my brother had his nose in a book. I wanted another piece and figured out how I could get rid of my wad and annoy my sibling at the same time. After I stuck the chewed gum onto the back of his head, he reached back, felt the gooey mess… and I was officially in trouble.

This, unfortunately, is not an uncommon scenario — and it raises the question: How on earth do you get gum out of hair?

If you find yourself in a sticky situation like this, never fear! You can likely get the problem unstuck with items that you already have in your pantry.

Scroll down for a comprehensive gum-removal guide.

What Not To Do When You Get Gum In Hair

Panicking about gum in hair
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

First, what not to do when you realize gum is stuck in your pet’s, your child’s, or heaven forbid, your own hair: panic! And don’t try to pull the gum out with your hands, because this may spread it even more.

What To Do Immediately

Aluminum foil to get gum out of hair
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

If you get gum in your hair, immediately isolate the affected area, perhaps by wrapping it or covering it in some way to avoid spreading the problem further. Aluminum foil is a good choice, since it is easy to fold and maneuver and will not stick to the gum and exacerbate the problem.

After you’ve isolated your hair, choose your removal method from those listed below. Other than the required materials, you’ll definitely want to have an old T-shirt or a towel, a place where you can rinse the hair thoroughly, and a sturdy comb.

Gum Removal Methods
Method 1: Peanut Butter

Dipping fingers into peanut butter to get gum out of hair
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Being The Parent praises peanut butter as a remedy for having gum in your hair, and it is one of the most popular remedies.

  1. Scoop out several fingers’ worth of creamy peanut butter.
  2. Work the peanut butter into the gum and hair clump, trying to completely coat the gum. I find that fingers work best, but a toothbrush can be used too if you are squeamish.
  3. Allow the peanut butter a few minutes to stiffen the gum a bit and make it less sticky.
  4. Carefully remove the gum from the hair. You can either pull it out gently with your fingers, or try a comb or a toothbrush to see if the gum can be brushed out.

Method 2: Ice Cubes

Pieces of gum coming out of hair using ice cube
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Simply Good Stuff says that a great way to get sticky stuff out of your hair is to freeze it.

  1. Take a piece of ice and rub it on the gum, running it over and over the entire area of the gum.
  2. The ice will harden the gum and allow you to break it off in pieces, which can either solve the problem entirely, or if the issue is more widespread, allow you to get off as much as possible.
  3. Once the gum has hardened, which should take about 10 to 15 minutes of contact with the ice, it should be simple to break off pieces of the gum and dispose of it.

Method 3: Oil

Grabbing olive oil bottle
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Oil is one of the best methods for removing gum from hair — the American Academy of Dermatology says it’s particularly useful for gum in eyebrows or eyelashes. You can use any type of oil you have on hand: cooking oil, olive oil (bonus, this will condition your scalp at the same time!), coconut oil, sesame oil, or whatever oil you fancy. Oil works by neutralizing the stickiness, and it is a great choice because it will not damage your hair.

  1. Wet your fingers well with the oil or pour some directly onto the affected area.
  2. Work the oil into the gum and hair with the goal of coating the area.
  3. Allow the oil a few minutes to neutralize the stickiness.
  4. Gently work the gum out of the hair, once again using a comb or a toothbrush if you desire.

Method 4: Vaseline

Rubbing Vaseline in hair
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Vaseline works wonders when the affected hair is completely dry — it helps make the glob less sticky, according to Let How

  1. Take a healthy glob with your fingers and massage it into the gum.
  2. The gum should loosen as you work the Vaseline into it, and it should be simple to ease it out using your fingers, a comb, or a toothbrush.

Method 5: Baking Soda

Mixing baking soda and water with gum in hair
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Simple Play Ideas says that some people have found gum-removal success with baking soda.

  1. Make a baking soda paste by adding a little bit of water to some baking soda in a bowl. You’ll want to be able to pick up the paste with your fingers and work it into the gum and affected hair.
  2. The baking soda will stiffen and neutralize the stickiness in the gum and should make it easier to remove.

Method 6: Hair Mousse

Pumping hair mousse into hand
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Hair mousse can also aid in unsticking gum from unwanted places, according to How To Clean Stuff.

  1. Hair mousse or even hair spray can be effective at removing chewing gum from hair.
  2. Spray either into your hand or directly onto the affected area, being careful not to get it into the eyes, and work it into the affected area.
  3. These products should make it easier to slide the gum out of the hair using a comb, a toothbrush, or fingers.

Method 7: Toothpaste

Squeezing toothpaste onto gum in hair
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings
  1. Apply toothpaste to the gum and hair wad, working the toothpaste into the gum with your fingers.
  2. Allow the toothpaste to dry.
  3. Once the toothpaste has dried, it should be easier to draw the gum out of the hair with your fingers, a comb, or a toothbrush.

Method 8: Rubbing Alcohol

Pouring rubbing alcohol onto cotton ball to get gum out of hair
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings
  1. Rubbing alcohol can neutralize the stickiness of the gum.
  2. Pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto the affected area, or onto a pad or cloth and soak the area well.
  3. Allow the rubbing alcohol a few seconds to work, and gently attempt to draw the gum out of the hair.

Method 9: Mayonnaise

Jar of mayonnaise for piece of gum in hair
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

If you like the idea of rubbing food into your hair, but don’t like peanut butter, then maybe mayonnaise is the solution for you. According Livestrong, the oil helps draw the sticky stuff out. Mayonnaise has high oil and fat contents and will get the gum nice and slick so that it can, hopefully, glide right out of your hair.

  1. Take a generous amount with your fingers and massage it into the gum and hair area.
  2. Allow it a few minutes to work.
  3. Gently attempt to slide the gum out of the hair.

Method 10: Lotion

Combing lotion into hair to get gum out
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Lotion, like several of the already-mentioned solutions, will help gum slide more easily out of your hair.

  1. Apply a generous amount of hand or body lotion to the affected area and massage it in.
  2. Gently pull or comb the gum out of the hair as it loosens.

Method 11: Vinegar

Soaking hair with gum in cup of vinegar
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Plain old white vinegar is slightly acidic and is a good household solvent that can be used to get gum out of hair, according to Hairstyle Camp.

  1. Pour a little vinegar into a cup or onto a rag and soak the affected area thoroughly.
  2. After a few minutes, the gum will loosen enough that you can draw it out of the hair with your fingers, a comb, or a toothbrush.

Method 12: Lighter Fluid

Lighter fluid to get gum out of hair
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Lighter fluid is a solvent, so it will break down the gum to some extent and loosen its grip on the hair — but Livestrong suggests using other household items before resorting to this one. It can be dangerous, because it is, of course, flammable, and not healthy for your skin or scalp. Use particular caution when trying this route, and do not use on a child.

  1. Apply a very small amount of lighter fluid to the gum and the affected area and massage it in with your fingers.
  2. Allow the fluid a few minutes to work, and then gently remove the gum with your fingers or a comb or toothbrush that you do not mind throwing away.
  3. Wash hands and anything that came in contact with the lighter fluid immediately with a degreasing soap like Dawn.

Method 13: Conditioner

Squeezing conditioner into hair to get gum out of hair
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

This option seems almost too easy, but Do It Yourself says it works.

  1. Work a dime-sized amount of conditioner into the affected area with your fingers.
  2. Conditioner will create a slick surface between your hair and the gum.
  3. Gently comb the gum out or draw it out with your fingers.

Method 14: Quick 'n Brite

Shopping for Quick N' Brite
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

If you want a product that is marketed specifically for the purpose of removing gum from hair, then Quick ‘n Brite is your go-to. This product’s website declares that it is nontoxic, biodegradable, and completely safe for skin and hair.

  1. Remove as much gum as possible using the ice cube method described above.
  2. Next, apply a small amount of Quick ‘n Brite to the affected area and let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Use a comb to gently pull out the gum. If it does not come easily, apply more paste, let sit, and try again.

The Last Resort: Cut It Out

Mom cutting gum out of son's hair
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

If all else fails, a cute, short hairdo or perhaps even a buzz cut is in your or your child’s future!

What To Do After You Get The Gum Out

Shampooing hair after getting gum out
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Shampoo, shampoo, shampoo! Depending on what product you use you will want to shampoo well, and perhaps repeatedly, and rinse your hair with warm or even hot water to get the oil or scents out of your hair.

If you are concerned about your hair after the gum debacle, you can schedule an appointment with a dermatologist and they can look at the health of your scalp and hair.

We hope this article helped you solve your sticky situation! If it did, and you know someone who may be in need of a helping hand, please SHARE it with them!