Merely to stop the question being asked again and again.
NYTPROF claims that we have a bottleneck on 's/^\s*|\s*$//g' (I'll believe it when I see it run faster), google knows what to do, on our hardware the two line version below is ~50 times faster.
$x =~ s/^\s+//;
$x =~ s/\s+$//;
String::Util::trim() is only ~35 times faster than the single regular expression but has the advantage of readability, those who prefer code not to look like line noise will find comfort here.