You’ve got yourself into a situation – that sticky gum is stuck in your hair. How do you remove gum from your hair? Chop it? No! But, it gets messier the more you try to untangle your hair. You may also lose a few hair strands. Do not tug or pull to make it worse and get tiny chunks of gum all over your tresses. We have the perfect solution.
Save your hair with a few simple ingredients from your kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Read on for a list of easy and effective ways to remove gum from your hair. Ditch the scissors and scroll down for details. Swipe up!
In This Article
Why Does Chewing Gum Stick To Your Hair?
Chewing gum consists of gum base, sugar, corn syrup, softeners, and flavorings (1). It contains polymers, which are responsible for its elastic and highly sticky nature.
The good news is a patent for non-stick chewing gum is in progress (2). But until then, we have to learn how to deal with this “sticky” situation. While removing gum from the hair is tricky, the following steps will make the process easy.
How To Remove Gum From Your Hair
First and foremost, DO NOT PANIC. Chewing gum stretches and sticks to the hair further if you keep on tugging it. Here’s what you can do:
Step 1: Separate The Hair Section Where The Gum Is Stuck
- Use a hair tie or a rubber band to separate the gummy hair section.
- Secure the rest of the hair with clips or hair ties to prevent the gum from spreading and sticking.
Note: Avoid tugging at your hair. Change into a robe or protect your clothes with a towel.
Step 2: Apply Lubricants, Solvents, Or Fat-Soluble Substances
- Use your finger, toothbrush, or a wide-toothed comb to distribute the lubricants, solvents, or fat-soluble substances (discussed in the next section) evenly throughout the hair.
- Ensure it covers the area where the gum is stuck.
- Do not tangle the hair or form knots.
Step 3: Cover Or Wrap The Hair
- Cover the hair with a shower cap or wrap a towel to soak up excess liquids and make the cleaning easy.
- Wait for 1-5 minutes for the products to work.
Step 4: Remove The Gum
- Try to remove the gum steadily without using force.
- Check for any leftover bits and pieces.
- Repeat steps 2-5 if necessary.
Step 5: Clean Up
- Use water to rinse the remnants of gum and the ingredients used.
- Shampoo and condition the hair.
- Do not brush or comb wet hair. Use your fingers to detangle it.
The next section explains the different ways to remove gum from your hair using ingredients available at home. Read on to know more.
Easy Ways To Remove Gum From Your Hair With Ingredients Available At Home
1. Freeze It – Reduce The Temperature By Using Ice
Studies show that temperature reduction using ice can help remove chewing gum from natural fibers, such as wool (3). Hence, this technique may also help you remove gum from your hair by reducing its stickiness. Follow these steps:
- Apply an ice pack to the gum to help it harden and chip off.
- Slide the gum gently along the hair.
- Keep using ice on the gum until it is completely removed from the hair.
2. Use Fat – Dissolve Gum With Fat-soluble Substances
The synthetic gum base of chewing gums consists of polymers that are hydrophobic, i.e., insoluble in water. Hence, it is a good idea to use oil-based ingredients, such as peanut butter, olive oil, mayonnaise, and groundnut oil, that will bind to the gum and help remove it from your hair. The American Academy Of Dermatology recommends using creamy peanut butter or vegetable oil for this purpose (4).
(i) Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is particularly helpful while dealing with kids or toddlers. Here’s what you need to do:
- Apply peanut butter with your fingertips or a toothbrush to the chewing gum.
- After 1-3 minutes, the gum loses its grip as the chemical bonds are broken.
- Slide the gum easily from the hair using a toothbrush.
- Repeat this process until all remnants of the gum are removed.
- Shampoo your hair to remove any traces of gum and peanut butter.
Note: Pick creamy peanut butter and not the crunchy variant as it has a higher fat content.
It is rich in fats (egg yolks and oil) and can be used to remove chewing gum from the hair. Here’s what you need to do:
- Apply mayonnaise on the gum evenly.
- Wait for 3-5 minutes to loosen the gum from the hair.
- Work slowly in small strokes and slide the gum from the hair gently.
Note: Avoid low-fat mayonnaise as it will not be effective in dissolving the gum.
(iii) Cooking/Vegetable Oils
Oils, such as olive, groundnut, canola, or coconut oils, help in lubrication and easy gum removal. Here’s what you need to do:
- Apply oil to the part of the hair where the gum is stuck.
- Check periodically when the gum loosens.
- Add more oil along the hair length.
- Slide off the gum smoothly.
Note: You can also use this technique to remove gum from the eyebrows or eyelashes.
3. Grease It – Reduce Friction With Lubricants
Hair mousse, lotions, cold creams, conditioners, and petroleum jelly can lubricate the hair and remove gum stuck in it. These lubricants help detangle your hair, which speeds up the process of gum removal. This method is beneficial if the gum stuck to the hair close to the scalp.
- Apply the lubricant of your choice on the gum and around the hair.
- Use a wide-toothed comb or your fingers to slide the gum along your hair.
Note: Do not use these products excessively, as they might make your scalp and hair greasy.
5. Melt It – Break Chemical Bonds Using Solvents
The gum base of chewing gum is made with different polymers (1). Solvents like rubbing alcohol, vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda in water breakdown these polymers in the chewing gum and aid its removal.
- Vinegar: The low-strength acetic acid in the vinegar helps disintegrate the chewing gum’s chemical bonds and makes it easy to remove it from the hair.
- Rubbing Alcohol: Xylitol, a sweetener commonly used in chewing gums, dissolves partially in solvents, such as alcohol (5). Thus, it can help in removing the gum from the hair.
- Lighter Fluid: It contains butane, a solvent that may dissolve the gum. However, it is a highly inflammable substance. Hence, be careful when you spray it on the hair to loosen the gum.
- Baking Soda: It is commonly used in cleaning as it neutralizes bonds and removes sticky residues from any surface. Mix baking soda with water to form a thick paste. Apply this mixture to the chewing gum to loosen it from your hair.
Note: Avoid solvents coming in contact with your eyes.
If Nothing Works, Cut It Out
If none of these methods work, cut your hair to get rid of the chewing gum. Make sure you don’t do it on your own – visit a professional hairstylist to cut only the part of hair stuck with gum.
Infographic Excerpt: Steps To Remove Chewing Gum From Hair With Vinegar
Vinegar and other solvents help dissolve the chemical bonds of the gum and help loosen it. It is also effective for removing chewing gum from clothes and home furnishings. Check out the infographic below to know about the basic steps of using vinegar to remove gum from your hair strands.
Removing gum from your hair can be tough, but you don’t need to panic if it happens. Most chewing gums contain polymers that give them a sticky texture. If you have gum stuck to your hair, you first need to section off that part of your hair. Then apply a lubricant or solvent to your hair. Cover your hair so it soaks in the lubricant for about 5 minutes. Then, try to remove the gum from your tresses gently. You can also try other remedies, such as using ice cubes, baking soda, toothpaste, hair mousse, peanut butter, and conditioner. Most importantly, be patient and gentle while removing the gum!
Frequently Asked Questions
How does lemon oil remove gum from hair?
Put a few drops of lemon oil on a paper towel. Wrap the towel around the gum and let it sit for some time. The gum will begin to come off slowly.
Does acetone remove gum from hair?
Yes. Acetone may remove chewing gum stains. However, it may dry out your hair. Therefore, use it with caution.
- Gum stuck in your hair can be a frustrating experience.
- Carefully separating the chunk of hair that is stuck and applying some sort of a lubricant can help free your hair strands of this sticky situation.
- Ice, peanut butter, and mayonnaise are some of the common household items that can come in handy in removing gum from your hair.
Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.
- Edible polymers: challenges and opportunities
- Polymeric materials having reduced tack, methods of making the materials and chewing gum compositions containing such materials
- Removing Modern Accretions: Hot-Melt Adhesive, Chewing Gum, and Pressure Sensitive Tape.
- Tips for Removing Gum without Cutting Hair.
- Toward Green Production of Chewing Gum and Diet: Complete Hydrogenation of Xylose to Xylitol over Ruthenium Composite Catalysts under Mild Conditions.