How to Remove Tree Sap From Your Car


The moment you discover that your vehicle is covered in tree sap your heart usually sinks, not just because your shiny car is now dirty, but because of the work it will take to remove the sap. Cleaning sap off of your car can be a tedious process, can potentially scratch your car paint, and going through a carwash might not do the trick. However, there are several ways to remove sap from your car that will make the task much easier. Follow one of these methods to restore the clean, shiny surface of your car.

Part 1
Washing Your Car with Soap and Hot Water

Washing Your Car with Soap and Hot Water on How to Remove Tree Sap From Your Car

1
The longer tree sap or any substances like sap (and bird droppings or insect remains for that matter) are left on the surface of the vehicle, the more difficult they are to remove. Acting fast will require the least amount of effort and the most success at getting a sparkling car exterior.

Washing Your Car with Soap and Hot Water on How to Remove Tree Sap From Your Car

2
Giving your car this initial rinse will get all the large debris off but it will also help you to see where you need to focus further cleaning. Take the time to wash your whole car, even if it's not all covered in sap. You will be more satisfied when you get the sap off if your whole car is nice and clean. Besides, you already have all the supplies out and ready to go.

Washing Your Car with Soap and Hot Water on How to Remove Tree Sap From Your Car

3
Use the hottest water you can, as the sap will be weakened most effectively by really hot water. Before using other methods of sap removal, try cleaning your car with really hot water. If the sap gets removed, then great, you are done. If the sap remains, at least you have a clean surface on which to try other methods. Be sure that your rag is clean and that you rinse it often to get any debris and sap out. Using a dirty rag will only spread this across the surface of your car.

Washing Your Car with Soap and Hot Water on How to Remove Tree Sap From Your Car

4
Rinsing the area you are cleaning will allow you to see if your job is done or if you need to use more elbow grease to get the sap removed.

Washing Your Car with Soap and Hot Water on How to Remove Tree Sap From Your Car

5
All the cleaning you have done has effectively removed the sap but it has probably also removed any wax that was protecting the surface. Use your usual method of waxing your car or, if you have never waxed your car before, consult How to Wax You Car for directions.

Part 2
Removing Sap with a Commercial Remover

Removing Sap with a Commercial Remover on How to Remove Tree Sap From Your Car

1
Make sure to get all the dirt and grime off the surface around the sap. If attempting to get the sap off with the hot water and soap doesn't work, continue with these steps. Even if the wash doesn't get the sap off, the warmth of the water will begin to soften it, making it easier to remove. This is also helpful if the sap has been on the car for a while.

Removing Sap with a Commercial Remover on How to Remove Tree Sap From Your Car

2
This should be available at any auto-parts store. Using this type of product is a highly recommended way to remove sap from your car because it is formulated to dissolve sap effectively without hurting your car's exterior.

Removing Sap with a Commercial Remover on How to Remove Tree Sap From Your Car

3
Then hold the rag on the sap while gently applying pressure for a minute or so. The remover should soak into the sap, breaking down the connection between the sap and your car's surface.[1]

Removing Sap with a Commercial Remover on How to Remove Tree Sap From Your Car

4
Be relatively gentle while doing this, as you don't want to spread any of the sap across the surface of your car.

Removing Sap with a Commercial Remover on How to Remove Tree Sap From Your Car

5
[2] Rewashing you car will help remove any residue left over from the sap or the cleaner used to remove it. A new coating of wax is recommended to renew the protective coating on the vehicle, making sure your car has a beautiful, shiny surface.

Part 3
Removing Sap with Products from the Home

Removing Sap with Products from the Home on How to Remove Tree Sap From Your Car

1
Make sure to get all the dirt and grime off the surface around the sap. If attempting to get the sap off with the hot water and soap doesn't work, continue with these steps. Even if the wash doesn't get the sap off, the warmth of the water will begin to soften it, making it easier to remove. This is also helpful if the sap has been on the car for a while.

Removing Sap with Products from the Home on How to Remove Tree Sap From Your Car

2
There are a variety of products that you may have in your home already that can remove tree sap effectively.[3] Be sure to use them sparingly and test them on a hidden area of your paint job before applying to any sap, as none of them are made specifically for the surface of a car. Try mineral spirits or alcohol wipes. Mineral spirits applied lightly with a soft cloth will break down the sap and remove it but it has the potential of damaging your car's surface. Do not rub too vigorously or for too long so that the paint job is not damaged. Mineral spirits and alcohol wipes should be tried separately. Use the previous directions and try with mineral spirits. If that fails, use readily available 91% isopropyl alcohol instead of mineral spirits. Alcohol evaporates quickly and although your cloth will seem wet, it is the water that is left after the alcohol evaporates. Keep your cloth wet with fresh alcohol and move quickly with light pressure. This will easily remove hard dried as well as fresh pine tree sap. Spray WD-40 on the tree sap.[4] The sap will begin to absorb the solvent. Let it sit for a few minutes. You can use your rag to lift the loosened sap from the car. Rub hand sanitizer on the tree sap. Place a small amount of hand sanitizer on the sap and let it set for a few minutes. Rub with a clean cloth and the sap dissolves right off.[5]

Removing Sap with Products from the Home on How to Remove Tree Sap From Your Car

3
The car wash will help remove any residue left over from the sap or the cleaner used to remove it. Any solution that would deteriorate paint will be washed away. A new coating of wax is recommended to renew the protective coating on the vehicle.