Sticky Situation? No Problem: How to Remove Gum from Shoes

Gum on shoes can be one of the most frustrating and unsightly messes to deal with. It can seem impossible to remove without damaging the shoe or leaving a sticky residue behind. Fortunately, there are several effective methods for removing gum from shoes using common household items. With a bit of patience and the right technique, it’s possible to restore your shoes to their original, gum-free condition. In this article, we will discuss several safe and effective methods for removing gum from shoes, so you can say goodbye to sticky soles and hello to clean, fresh shoes once again.

What are the dangers of gum on shoes?

Having gum stuck on your shoes not only looks unappealing, but it can also pose a danger to you and your clothing. The stickiness of the gum creates a potential for slipping and falling, as well as for making contact with clothing or furniture. Additionally, once the gum makes contact with materials such as wool, cotton, and linen fabric it may melt into the fabric and be extremely difficult to remove.

Moreover, doughy gum on shoes can become gooey, which could create a breeding ground for bacteria leading to even more problems such as skin allergies or dirt adhesion. This can make removal even more troublesome. Hence, it is important to remove gum from shoes in order to avoid any potential dangers.

Removal Methods

Gum may seem like one of those untouchable stains, but it does not have to be. There are several methods for removing gum from shoes, ranging from using household items to using chemical treatments.

Freezing Method

The freezing method of gum removal is a simple and effective way to remove it from your shoes. Put the shoe with the gum into a plastic bag and put it in the freezer for one to two hours, or leave it overnight. After this period, take out the shoe and chip away at the frozen gum with a dull knife or spoon. Try not to cut or scratch the shoe itself.

Once you’ve removed some of the frozen chunks of gum, use ice to harden any remaining sticky parts, and then scrape them away. Afterward, you may wish to apply a shoecare product such as shoe polish or neutral cream to protect the leather from drying out due to exposure to chilly temperatures and/or rubbing alcohol application.

Vinegar Method

Clean Boots with vinegar

The vinegar method is an effective, natural way to remove stuck-on gum from the soles and uppers of athletic shoes. Vinegar’s acidic makeup breaks down the sticky stuff so it can easily come off with a little bit of elbow grease. Here’s how to do it in a few simple steps:

  1. Begin by pouring a generous amount of white vinegar on top of the gum. Make sure it saturates the entire area.
  2. Let it sit for several minutes before using a dull knife to scrape off as much of the gum as possible.
  3. Run your hand over the area to detect any remaining pieces. If there are still some stubborn patches, finish removing them with a piece of fine sandpaper or steel wool, but avoid overdoing it because you don’t want to damage the material covering your shoe.
  4. Finally, rinse off excess vinegar with soap and warm water, and then follow up with cold water for about 10 seconds until all traces of sticky gum are gone!

Peanut Butter Method

The peanut butter method for removing gum can be effective for those who don’t have any of the other substances on hand. Using a sturdy spatula or spoon will help to get an even spread of peanut butter onto the shoe. Let the peanut butter sit on the shoe for about 15 minutes, allowing it to become tacky. Afterward, use a paper towel or cloth to wipe away both the gum and the peanut butter.

Peanut butter is naturally softening and acts like a lubricant that softens up sticky residue like gum. It is also known to offer some cleaning power, which makes it ideal for loosening up unwanted residue without harming your shoes. This method may result in some remaining stickiness on your shoes, but this should go away once they were fully dry. In order to ensure that all traces of gum are gone, you may want to wipe down your shoes with a damp cloth after using this method.

WD-40 Method

WD 40 Method

The WD-40 method is one of several ways to remove it from shoes. In this method, you use a can of WD-40 spray lubricant and a pair of needle-nose pliers.

To begin, spray the gum-covered area with WD-40, making sure that it covers the gum completely. Allow the WD-40 to sit for five minutes, then try to scrape off some of the softened gum with a dull knife or spoon. If necessary, reapply more WD-40 until the gum has been completely removed.

For stubborn pieces that remain stuck to your shoe, use a pair of needle-nose pliers to carefully pull them away from your shoe’s surface. Be sure to grip them firmly but not too tightly as damaging any material on your shoes may cause further damage or dye spots that cannot be removed easily. If any bits remain after removal, you can use a cloth and some rubbing alcohol or window cleaner to clean off any lingering residue.


Removing it from shoes can be difficult, so the best way to address the problem is to avoid it in the first place. If you’re wearing shoes with laces, be sure to keep them tied at all times – this can prevent gum from settling between the laces. Stay clear of surfaces that may have gum on them, and be mindful of where your feet are taking you.

Protective Spray

This section will talk about preventive measures to avoid it from sticking to your shoes.

Use protective sprays

Regularly treating your shoes with protection sprays is a great way to ensure they remain free of gum. You can purchase leather protection, waterproofing sprays, and other shoe protectants from stores that specialize in shoe care and repair. Make sure that the spray is designed for the material of your shoes. If you’re unsure what kind of material your shoes are made of, check the care instructions on the label or consult with a professional cobbler.

Before applying protective spray on any fabric or leather shoe, make sure to use a clean cloth to remove any dirt or debris from the surface so it will not be sealed into it. This will also help create a barrier between your skin and any chemicals in the protective spray.

Choose the right shoes

When it comes to preventing gum from getting onto your shoes, it is important to choose the right types of shoes. Shoes with leather or faux leather uppers are not ideal for protection against gum as it can slip through. Closed-toe shoes, such as sneakers and loafers, are an excellent choice for being a physical barrier between the gum and your feet. Doing this allows you to avoid sticky messes without having to use any special cleaning products.

Always think about the circumstances in which you might encounter gum. For instance, if you often take public transportation or go out for walks in the city, you should be prepared with closed-toe shoes that shield you from any potential messes on the ground. Additionally, avoid wearing sandals or any type of shoe that has open areas at all times since there is virtually no protection available against rogue bits of gum. You also want to be sure that your chosen footwear is well-fitted; poor-fitting holes can cause gaps which can in turn let small amounts of sticky substances get into them if they are not properly sealed around your foot’s shape.

Avoid sticky surfaces

Avoiding sticky surfaces, to begin with, is the easiest way to prevent gum from getting on your shoes. This includes more than just avoiding gum; it includes being extra careful walking on any kind of sticky surface such as wet sand, tar, and spilled drinks with sugar. It is always a good idea to pay attention to where you are walking and what surfaces you may come in contact with.

It is also important to make sure your laces are tied before you walk, as untied laces may drag across the ground or stick to various surfaces which can cause an accumulation of unwanted material. Additionally, be careful when walking over grates and vents—gum often accumulates there due to its sticky consistency.

Finally, if you do find yourself in an area full of gum residue (such as sidewalks in populated cities) it’s recommended that you take extra precautions and wear shoes that cover the entirety of your foot so that no skin or fabric can come into contact with the surface. Otherwise, use a wide path and try not to step on anything strange!


Can I use rubbing alcohol to remove it from suede shoes?

Rubbing alcohol should not be used on suede shoes as it can damage the material.

How do I remove gum from the sole of my shoe?

To remove it from the sole of a shoe, try using a stiff-bristled brush to scrape it off or use ice to freeze it and then peel it away.

How long does it take to remove gum from shoes?

The amount of time it takes to remove it from shoes depends on the method used and how stuck the gum is.

Can I use a hair dryer to remove gum from my shoes?

Yes, a hairdryer can be used to heat it and make it easier to peel away from the shoe.

Will removing gum from shoes leave a stain?

If it has been on the shoe for a long time, it may leave a stain. It’s important to act quickly when removing gum to prevent staining.

How can I prevent gum from sticking to my shoes?

To prevent it from sticking to your shoes, try to avoid stepping on it or wearing shoes in areas where it is commonly found.

Can I use a washing machine to remove gum from my shoes?

No, shoes should not be placed in a washing machine as it can damage the shoe or cause the gum to spread to other parts of the shoe.

How do I remove gum from leather shoes?

To remove it from leather shoes, use a cloth soaked in vinegar or rubbing alcohol and gently wipe away the gum.

Can I use WD-40 to remove gum from my shoes?

While WD-40 can be effective in removing it from shoes, it is not recommended as it can damage the shoe or sole.

How do I clean my shoes after removing gum?

To clean your shoes after removing them, use a damp cloth to wipe away any residue from the cleaning method used.


Gum removal can seem like a daunting task, but with the right materials and techniques, you can safely and effectively remove any gum stuck to your shoes. With these simple steps, you can save both time and money. The most important thing to remember is to be patient and take your time with the gum removal process.