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How to Get Gum Out of Hair Without Cutting It Out

Discovering a wad of chewing gum in your hair can feel like a tragedy, especially if the sticky nightmare is near the roots.

If you have managed somehow to get gum into your hair, or maybe, your child has somehow managed to create this sticky mess, you’re probably teetering on the edge of grabbing scissors to cut it out. –But wait, not so fast!

Before you grab the scissors and hack the problem away, try one of these age-old solutions for how to get gum out of hair. 

How to Remove Gum Out of Hair

how to remove gum out of hair

There are a number of methods that may be used to remove gum from one’s hair with the intervention of scissors. Here are our top picks!

Ice Cubes

Heat is not a good idea for handling gum, but cold can do the trick. An ice cube will make the gum brittle and easier to break away from the hair shaft.

How to Use

  • Hold the ice cube against the gum until it’s frozen.
  • Once hardened, break the gum into small pieces, pulling them out of your hair.
  • Refreeze if necessary until all the gum is gone.


How to Remove Gum Out of Hair - Vaseline

Most people have a tub of Vaseline, also known as petroleum jelly, in their bathroom cabinets. It consists of a mix of wax and mineral oil, which can help slide the sticky gum out of hair without ripping it.

How to Use

  • Use your fingertips to work the Vaseline onto and around the gum.
  • With one hand, continue massaging Vaseline down the hair shaft as you use the other hand to pull small sections away from the gum gently.
  • Continue working section-by-section until the gum is free.

Cooking Oil

Oily hair isn’t ideal, but when you’re tangled up with chewing gum, it’s one of the most effective ways of taking care of the issue. You can use any food-grade oil, including canola, olive, or vegetable.

How to Use

  • Soak a cotton ball in oil, then dab it all over the gum.
  • Let the oil sit for a few minutes so it soaks into the hair and gum.
  • Rub the oil through the hair and gum, covering each strand in the lubricant.
  • Slide the gum out of your hair using your fingers or a comb.

Baking Soda

How to Remove Gum Out of Hair - Baking Soda Paste

If you can’t find any Vaseline, the solution to remove gum from hair might be in your baking cabinet. Baking soda is an oft-used cleaning ingredient because it dissolves the bonds in gum that make it sticky.

How to Use

  • Make a thick paste of baking soda and a few drops of water.
  • Use your fingers to spread the paste on the entire piece of gum. Let it dry completely.
  • The gum should be dry and crumbly enough to break away into pieces.


Vinegar is a solvent or substance that dissolves chemical bonds. It works similarly to baking soda, breaking up the polymers and resins that give gum its distinctive chew.

How to Use

  • Soak a cloth in vinegar.
  • Wrap the cloth around the chewing gum, holding it in place for several minutes.
  • Unwrap, then use a wide-toothed gum or toothbrush to slide the now-soft gum out of your hair.

Hair Mousse

How to Remove Gum Out of Hair - Hair Mousse

Hair mousse can also come to the rescue, lubricating the strands and allowing the gum to slide right out.

How to Use

  • Cover the affected area down to the hair ends in a dollop of hair mousse.
  • Use a wide-toothed comb to slowly and carefully slide the wad down the length of your hair.

Peanut Butter

It might seem counter-productive to smear something sticky and sweet on a gooey mess, but creamy peanut butter is one of the most well-known treatments for getting gum out of hair. With a few globs of this lunchtime staple, your tresses will be free in no time.

How to Use

  • Coat the gum and surrounding hair in a generous glob of peanut butter, massaging it in.
  • Continue rubbing until the gum starts to crumble.

The Blow Dryer Method

blow dryer

In some instances, a bit of steady heat from a blow dryer may help to melt the gum and assist you in your efforts to remove the gum.

Things Not To Do if You Get Gum in Your Hair

Now that you know how to get gum out of hair, here are a few pointers for what not to do.

Don’t Panic

The last thing you want to do when dealing with a minor emergency is let your emotions get the better of you. Instead, try taking a few deep breaths before tackling the problem.

Don’t Let the Gum Spread

It’s a good idea to section off the affected area by tying it off with a ponytail holder to prevent the sticky mess from spreading.

Don’t Try to Force the Gum Out

Things Not To Do if You Get Gum in Your Hair

Yanking and tugging on the gum can break your hair, and being too rough could result in an unwanted haircut. Be gentle and work slowly using one of the home solutions; you should have no problem escaping unscathed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few of the most common questions about how to remove gum from hair:

Will washing get gum out of hair?

Washing will not get gum out of your hair. Gum is water-insolvent and hydrophobic, which means water can’t dissolve it.

Can toothpaste remove gum from hair?

Yes. Toothpaste can get gum out of hair if it contains baking soda. However, it’s not as effective as using baking soda on its own.

Is it safe to use acetone for removing gum from hair?

It is safe to use acetone for removing gum from hair, but it is very drying. You should only use it if you don’t have other oil-based options available.

Can dish soap get gum out of hair?

Dish soap might help you get gum out of your hair because it’s slippery, but it’s not as effective as peanut butter, mayo, or vegetable oil.

Will oil dissolve gum stuck in hair?

Oil won’t dissolve gum stuck in hair like baking soda or vinegar, but it does make it easier to slip the sticky mess off of your hair strands.

These are the top eight ways to get gum out of hair without scissors. Remember, there’s no need to panic if you get gum in your hair. You now have four new methods to try to spare your hair!

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