A lesson learned the hard way! Always always always check pockets before laundering clothes!
It felt like a brush with death - a sinking feeling - CHEWING GUM had somehow made its way into the clothes that had just finished drying!
Luckily (and thankfully) not one bit of gum got on the inner walls of the rotator drum. On closer inspection, the offender was found to have been in the pocket of a WHITE pair of slacks!
There was only one thing to do: launch a search on the internet. So I googled "gum on clothing in dryer" - there are apparently three major techniques of removal - employing either ICE, VINEGAR or PEANUT BUTTER.
As I whizzed through websites and forums, I deduced that the technique one must use in removing the gum depends on the type of fabric.
Freezing or rubbing the affected area with an ice cube seems best for nylon.
Blue Jeans are best treated with vinegar, warmed in the microwave, then applied to the gum, which can be scraped off with a butter knife. Another technique is to lightly scrub the jeans with the vinegar and a toothbrush.
For the white pants in my dilemma, I applied PEANUT BUTTER to the gum spots. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then scrub with an old toothbrush. Wash the area with dishwashing liquid and hot water and POOF, NO MORE STAIN!
There is one other remedy that works well with spandex and other materials used in sportsgear and running pants: "Skin-so-soft" oil, again using a toothbrush as a scrubber. It works wonders but does take some 10 minutes of good brushing. Immediately hand wash to prevent any further staining by the oil.