How to Remove Gum from Leather Shoe Soles

What You'll Need
Dish soap
Warm water
Peanut butter
Vegetable oil
Flat plastic scraper

Walking around any public place today and you just might end up with some gum on your brand new leather shoes. Gum is one of those things that everyone at some point in time is going to have to deal with. For the majority of the time, removing gum from the bottom of shoes is not a difficult project. However, there is some care that is to be exercised when the gum is on leather shoes. Here are some steps to remove the gum without damaging the leather shoe.

Step 1 - Remove Excess Gum 

Use a flat plastic scraper and carefully try to remove some of the excess gum. This is the large clumps of gum that can be removed without any type of cleaning. Keep the scraper flat so that it does not actually scratch the leather. For soft leather uppers, this is very important to remember. You can also use your fingernails if it is on the bottom of the sole. A small pick will also help to remove a lot of the clumps in the tread.

Step 2 - Mix Water and Soap

Find a small container and pour some warm water into it. The water should not be hot enough to scald your skin. Mix in enough dish soap to make some suds. Drop in a very soft cloth, or a sponge, and get it moist. Wring out any of the excess water. 

Step 3 - Wipe Leather Shoe

In cases where the gum is stringy and has made a lot of different "tracks" on the leather shoe, you will need to wipe it with the warm water and soap. Wipe at the gum streaks with a firm application of the sponge. Rub in small circles like you are shining the shoes. This will keep the grain intact. 

Step 4 - Rinse with Clean Water

Once you have wiped the leather shoe down with the soap and water you will need to rinse it off. Use a clean cloth and clean water to wipe at the area where the gum was. If the gum is still there you have the option to repeat washing with the soapy water, or moving onto a different technique. If the gum is gone, dry the shoe and use some leather conditioner.

Step 5 - Rub Peanut Butter onto Shoe

If the gum is still present, especially in the small grains of the leather, then you can use some peanut butter to remove it. Dip a clean cloth into some peanut butter and apply it to the shoe. Rub it in tight circles and make sure there is a thick coating. Let the peanut butter stand for 1 minute. 

Step 6 - Remove Peanut Butter

After letting the peanut butter set for a minute on the leather shoe, wipe it away with a new cloth. Once the peanut butter is removed you should see that the gum is gone. If not, then apply some vegetable oil instead of the peanut butter. The natural oils in the vegetable oil will help breakdown the remaining gum. Wipe away and recondition the leather.