Chewing gum stuck to a shoe in Dublin.   (Photo by Niall Carson - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Imag...
Niall Carson - PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images

Here's How To Get Gum Off A Shoe Using Stuff You Already Have

For those sticky situations.

Finding gum on the bottom of a shoe, be it your new heels or your child’s sneaks, is such a rite of passage. Somehow this will inevitably happen and you, our hero, will be responsible for extracting said goo. Dust off your cape, it’s time to pull a trick out of your sleeve.

How, you might be wondering, are you supposed to manage this crisis? Great news, the world of DIY remedies is expansive. And with the right scientific application you can loosen the stubborn gum. From lubricants to prying methods, favorite foods to beauty products, each has been found to get the gunk off. That said, depending on how stuck the gum is, you might have to use one, two, or all of the below to take care of the gum incident.

To prepare, plan to work your gum releasing magic outside. You might also want to search your neighborhood for a good stick, or invest in a pair of plastic gloves to avoid touching the icky stuff. And why not get your child involved too? Stepping in gum can actually become a great science lesson and an afternoon activity if you treat it right.

If you get stuck, just keep googling. Or, you know, buy some new shoes.

Gum Removal Advice from a Shoe Expert

At the Leather Spa in New York, Vice President David Mesquita has seen it all when it comes to shoe damage. But he says when it comes to how to get gum off a shoe, often the easiest removal solution is the best: a little soap and water.

“For my kids sneakers, my go to is dish soap,” he says. Work that soap and water and around the gum and in all likelihood, the gum will release and come right off. For, well, stickier situations, Mesquita says that acetone, say in a nail polish remover, will do the trick. That said, you should use it sparingly.

“Put it on a Q-tip,” says Mesquita. And avoid using acetone-based products on leather shoes. “It can hurt the tanning process. A little nail polish can take the color right out of the leather,” he says.

What about Goo Be Gone? For kids sneakers, Mesquita says this is fine, but again, it should be avoided on leather shoes where it can cause discoloration.

Instead, those dealing with a gummed up sole should consider the following:

Ice As a Gum Removal Remedy

The concept around using ice to get gum off a shoe is that the act of freezing the gum will make it shrink and release its sticky connection to the shoes. Putting your shoe in a plastic bag in the freezer for a few hours is the best method, but if you’re in a time pinch, you can also rub an ice cube over the gum for up to 20 minutes to chill it enough to get it to give up its grip.

Nancybelle Gonzaga Villarroya/Moment/Getty Images

Peanut Butter Can Be Used to Get Gum Off a Shoe

Hey, tough times call for tough measures and if you find yourself fighting a gummy shoe, but don’t have soap and water at hand, grab your Skippy and go to town. The oil in peanut butter can help lubricate a shoe’s surface and ultimately release the gum. It’ll also make you smell like a walking PBJ so use sparingly.

Wipe Gum Away with Olive Oil

Another home remedy that can get gum off a shoe? Olive oil. Chances are you already have a jug of it in your pantry. Now put a dash on a kitchen cloth and rub it all around the gum on the shoe. Let it sit for a minute to soften the gum and voila, watch it easily pull off.

The Ultimate Gum Removal Method: WD-40

For those truly impossible gum scenarios, where the substance really doesn’t want to give, you can go the automotive route and try WD-40. This super lubricant, more often used to prevent rust and grime, can also displace gum. Just spray a bit on the chewed up wad, wait a minute, then wipe clean with a fresh rag.

What if none of the above works? Visit your local shoe repair shop or check out Leather Spa. Mesquita says his mail in option allows you to ship leather goods from anywhere in the world for repairs.