How to Remove Gum From Shoes


A.J. asked: How can I remove gum stuck in the treads of my sneakers?

Though it’s a popular treat that has earned recognition for freshening breath and preventing tooth decay, gum seems to end up in inappropriate places that make it simply a nuisance. When you find it stringing from the bottom of your shoe, you’re left with a sticky goo that seems to be stuck like glue. Fortunately, this is a common problem and  numerous methods have been found to remove it. Some are easier than others, but in the end, your shoe will be gum-free and you’ll be off and running in no time.

Plastic Bag Method

You Will Need:

  • Plastic bag
  • Freezer

Steps to Remove the Gum:

  1. Place the gummy portion of the shoe into a plastic bag.
  2. Press the plastic bag onto the gum so that the gum adheres to the bag.
  3. Place the shoe and the bag into the freezer.
  4. Allow it to freeze for at least an hour or two.
  5. Remove the shoe and the bag from the freezer.
  6. When you pull the bag away from the shoe, the gum should stick to the bag and be pulled off of the shoe.

Using Adhesive Removers

You Will Need:

  • WD-40
  • Peanut butter
  • Baby oil
  • Goo Gone
  • Paper towels
  • Soft cloths

Steps to Remove the Gum:

  1. Spray a small amount of WD-40 or other oily substance on the gum.
  2. Allow it to set for a minute so it can be absorbed around the gum and loosen the adhesive bond.
  3. Wipe it away with a paper towel or soft cloth.
  4. Repeat until the gum is completely removed.

Scraping Method

You Will Need:

  • Dull knife or spoon
  • Freezer

Steps to Remove the Gum:

  1. Start by scraping off as much of the gum as possible.
  2. Place the shoe in the freezer for an hour or two and allow the gum to harden.
  3. Remove the shoe from the freezer.
  4. Pry any remaining gum pieces out using a spoon or dull knife.
  5. If the gum softens while you are removing it, place the shoe back in the freezer to allow it to harden again.

Sand/Dirt Method

You Will Need:

  • Sand
  • Dry dirt
  • Stick

Steps to Remove the Gum:

  1. This method works well if the gum is still soft and pliable.
  2. Sprinkle some sand or dry dirt onto the gum.
  3. Rub the gum with a stick.
  4. Continue to add more dirt or sand as you scrape.
  5. The gum will begin to rub off in small pieces.
  6. Keep rubbing until the gum is completely removed.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Naptha lighter fluid will dissolve gum. Simply moisten a paper towel or soft cloth with the lighter fluid and rub the gum away. Use caution as lighter fluid is flammable. Work in a well ventilated area that is away from any flames.
  • Nail polish remover can also be applied to the gum. The acetone will dissolve the gum but may damage your shoes.
  • Peanut butter and other mild removers also work for removing gum from hair.


  1. Sweetheart says:

    This method does not work and made it dirty.

  2. Alma says:

    Who said it’s all easy? Any of these methods work very well; it is a matter of patience and persistence. I tried WD-40; the freezer? I got cold feet!!

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