Gum and hair
Chewing gum has a number of benefits. Studies have linked chewing gum to weight loss, improved memory, and reduced stress. But in the wrong circumstances, gum can be extremely sticky.
Gum is made from synthetic rubbers and resins to create its chewy, sticky texture. If you pull on gum, you may notice that it stretches. There are chemical bonds between molecules in chewing gum that make it difficult to remove from objects, especially hair.
In addition, many commercial chewing gums are hydrophobic (meaning that they don’t dissolve in water). They more easily stick to oily surfaces than water bases.
These properties of chewing gum make it difficult to remove gum from your shoes, clothes, and hair. Rather than resorting to scissors, try using some of these household products to remove chewing gum from your hair.
How to remove gum from hair
Getting bubble gum in your hair can be messy, especially for younger children. In many cases, scissors may seem like the best — and only — solution. But, there are a few everyday tools you can use to bypass cutting.
Peanut butter is a thick, oily substance with hydrophobic properties. Using peanut butter on gum can reduce gum’s sticky nature, making it easier to remove from your hair. Because both peanut butter and gum are hydrophobic, it’s easier for them to stick to each other than to stick to dry hair.
To remove gum with peanut butter, cover the affected area of hair completely with creamy peanut butter. Work the peanut butter through that hair with your fingers and then wait a few minutes for it to work. The gum should become stiffer and easily removable from your hair.
Cooking oils are also hydrophobic. For example, if you combine oil and water in a jar, they easily separate. Substances in your cooking oil break down the stickiness of your gum without causing damage to your hair.
Oils that may work include:
Apply oil to the gum area, rubbing it in gently. Use your fingers or a comb to remove the gum from your hair.
If using oil is too messy, you can use ice to freeze the gum off. Freezing gum can reduce its stickiness, allowing you to easily remove it from your hair.
Apply an ice pack to the gum for 5 to 15 minutes or until the gum hardens. You can also wrap your hair in a cloth with a few ice cubes for an extra boost. Though effective, this method is most effective if only a small amount of gum is stuck in the hair.
Vinegar is also an effective remedy to remove gum from your hair. It is a solvent that breaks down the bond between your hair and the gum. It does leaves a strong odor behind.
To remove gum, saturate the area with vinegar. You can dip your hair in a cup of vinegar or soak it with a cloth. The longer your hair soaks, the easier it is to remove the gum. For an added boost, lightly heat the vinegar before applying it to your hair.
This method can take time depending on how much gum is stuck to your hair. When the gum begins to soften, go through your hair with a wide-tooth comb.
Getting gum stuck to your hair can be a nuisance. But, this is a treatable inconvenience. Consider using safe household products and remedies to remove gum rather than resorting to using scissors.