Getting Bubblegum Out of Hair

by theraggededge

Quick and simple method to remove bubble gum or chewing gum from hair using butter

Long hair and gum don't mix..

Well, actually they do - quite often


My daugher isn't allowed to chew gum or bubblegum but, today, she came back from the playpark in tears. A friend had given her some gum and somehow she had managed to get it into her hair.

Tegan's hair is her pride and joy. Apart from the occasional trim, it hasn't been cut since she was a baby. She's nearly 10 and her hair reaches well below her waist. When it is brushed smooth, it gleams like polished teak.

You can imagine her distress and my dismay at seeing a gruesome clump of gray mess stuck in it - about halfway down its length. Yuk.

Quick instructions for removal of gum from hair at the bottom of the page.


Photo courtesey of chefranden. under the Creative Commons license.

Searching for a solution

And remembered that the answer to every question is 'butter'!

I recalled that while doing some research for a page on Butter, the Healthy Option something about butter being used to remove bubblegum from hair. So I did a little quick research - it had to be quick as the reason for looking was standing next to me wailing. I found a couple of websites mentioning that peanut butter is good for the task because of its high fat content. We have peanut butter but it's the crunchy kind and I am not fond of the smell. I carried on looking for butter and found a mention of it helping with the gummy hair problem.

Getting the gum off the child

and her hair!

I got a lump of butter from the dish. Luckily the warm weather has softened it nicely. I slathered it on Tegan's delightful lump of hair and gum. Not sure what I was expecting - perhaps for the gum to somehow miraculously slide off her tresses. Nothing happened, except the mess was even worse and stank of butter. Double yuk.

I continued to rub the butter into the hair and noticed that the white/gray gum was no longer visible. We moved over to the kichen sink and I ran some hot water and (don't tell anyone) squirted a little dish soap into the buttery tangle.

Holding the hair under hot running water and rubbing it, I could see that, as the lather was rinsed out, the chewing gum had gone already. Don't know where it went - the butter must have simply dissolved it.


Butter does remove gum from hair!

Tegans hair after gum removalThis is Tegi's hair after removing the chewing gum and washing. The gum had been stuck in the left-hand side. As you can see, the butter did its job and there is no sign of the tangled mess.

Quick instructions for removing gum from hair:

1. Rub softened butter all over gum.

2. Work in with fingertips for 5 - 10 minutes.

3. Apply a little dish soap (washing-up liquid) and rinse affected section of hair until butter and gum have gone.

4. Wash and condition as usual.


Updated: 08/06/2011, theraggededge
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Ever been stuck with this sticky problem? Have you had to remove gum from anything else? Share your tips.

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lou16 on 07/18/2012

I dipped my niece's hair into white vinegar and I was then able to comb it out - it was absolutely amazing - never thought of trying butter.

ForestBear on 08/13/2011

Great page! glad there was a solution, thanks for the tip

ohcaroline on 08/07/2011

I had always heard that peanut butter was a solution...but I've never had to use it.

Dianne on 08/07/2011

So glad you found a solution for removing gum from Tegan's beautiful hair.

bev-owens on 08/06/2011

Well I'll be. Had never heard of using butter. Used peanut butter many times when my daughter used to get gum stuck in her hair. Ice cubes worked too. It made the gum brittle enough that we could break it out but took longer than the peanut butter.

irenemaria on 08/06/2011

You can use food for just anything - huh =D Thanks for the tip

kajohu on 08/06/2011

What a great tip! I had heard of using peanut butter before, but not butter. I haven't had this problem with my boys' hair, but occasionally gum would get stuck on clothing (in pockets....) or on the carpet. I wonder if butter would've helped that. I'll keep it in mind for the future.

mivvy on 08/06/2011

I had to remove gum from my sister's hair (many years ago), but could not. So I simply cut it out together with a strand of hair. She did not like it, nor did my mother

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