How to Remove Tree Sap From Car

How to Remove Tree Sap From Car – There are a variety of solutions that will remove tree sap from car. Each is formulated specifically for removing icky tree residue from your vehicle. The solution you choose will depend on the size of the stain, the type of car and the reasons for removing the sap. Some will remove it completely while others will return a small amount of damage if not used properly.

Tree sap is a nightmare for any car owner. It makes your car windshield and paint gooey and black without proper treatment. But fear not. If you’re dealing with tree sap on your car, we have a few solutions to help you treat it safely and effectively.

Sap is a sticky, wet substance that causes irritations on the skin. This can be very annoying and can make you lose your cool. But if you are wondering how to remove sap from car, then this article will make it easy for you to decide how to do this task. You will learn about some effective methods that are easy to follow.

Table of Contents

How to Remove Tree Sap From Car

It Helps To Start With A Basic Wash

The first step is to completely wash your car. This is a valuable step that you shouldn’t skip. In general, it’s good practice not to let anything like tree sap or other residue sit on your car for days, as when you leave things like this on your car, it can damage the paint over time.

Much of it can simply be removed with soap and warm water. When you wash your car thoroughly, it can remove dirt, grime, and sediment from it. If you attempt to remove sap from your car before you wash it, you could grind lingering dirt particles into the paint.

Removing Tree Sap From Paint

While removing tree sap from the pain of your car usually isn’t difficult, you may have to apply some pressure to the area to remove the sap. As soon as you see sap on your car, you should work to remove it as quickly as possible. Sap is always easier to remove when you first see it.

You have to be careful if the sap is baked on from the sun. If it is, applying too much pressure could cause scratches by moving around the hard sap material.

Here’s how to remove tree sap the right way.


Before We Start, Understand This

It’s always best to wash your car before and after you use any products to remove sap. There are many products available to remove sap, some of which can also remove the protectants on your paint. Wax is one of those protectants.

You shouldn’t use liberal amounts of tar remover – only use as much as you actually need. Using your muscles is a better option than applying more remover. After you remove the sap and wash your car, it’s best to apply a protective coat of wax.

How To Remove Tree Sap: The Process

The steps to follow to remove tree sap from your car are as follows:

  1. Wash your vehicle using Decon Soap. Detailed instructions on its use can be found on its product page. Decon Soap is included in our full Decon Kit, linked to in the materials list above.
  2. Spray on the clay bar lube liberally and use the clay bar pad to remove the tree sap.
  3. If the sap is being extra stubborn, pour a little isopropyl alcohol on a clean microfiber cloth. Hold the towel with the alcohol on it and let it sit for 30 seconds.
  4. Saturate a clean side of the cloth with a little more isopropyl alcohol and rub the area until the sap is gone. Depending on how stubborn the sap is, you may have to repeat this step several times. Keep the surface well lubricated using sap remover to prevent scratches. Be patient with it and do not rub too hard. The goal is to let the alcohol break down and liquify the hardened sap.
  5. Rinse the vehicle once more.
  6. Completely dry your car or allow it to air dry.
  7. Apply a shine and sealant to your vehicle using Mirror Shine. Its instructions can be found on its product page.

Removing Tree Sap From Your Windshield

The steps to remove tree sap from your car are likewise very simple:

  1. Wash your car with Decon Soap.
  2. Pour sap remover (or alcohol) onto a microfiber towel.
  3. Put the towel with remover on it on the sap on your car and let it sit for 30 seconds.
  4. Rub the area until the sap is gone. Depending on how stubborn the sap is, you may have to repeat this step several times. If the sap is really difficult to remove, you can use a razor blade to gently scrape the sap off the windshield.
  5. Wash the windows using an automotive glass cleaner. You may use a household product like Windex as long as it is an ammonia-free version.

Tips For Removing Hardened Tree Sap That Has Been Sitting For A Long Time

After sap has been sitting on your car for a little bit, it becomes hardened and almost baked onto your car. However, there are some items you can use to remove the sap even once it has created a hard layer on your car.

Bacon grease, WD40, or lighter fluid are common household solutions to this type of mess. No matter which of these you decide to use, you’ll need to let them sit on the spot for a while. You should let the product sit on the sap until you see the sap begin to disappear. Once it starts to disappear, you can use a soft cloth to wipe it away.

If you have pine sap on your car, it may take a little more effort to remove because it’s so sticky. A great remover for pine sap is acetone nail polish remover. The acetone is key to breaking up the sticky sap. Soak a cotton ball with nail polish remover and rub away the sap in circular motions. Once you’ve completely rubbed all the sap away, make a paste of one cup of baking soda and three cups of hot water. Applying this paste to the area of the car with a washcloth where you used the nail polish remover will clean it. However, you should still wash your car as normal even after cleaning it with the baking soda paste.

Don’t Have The Ingredients We Mentioned Earlier? Here Are Several Other Easy Home Remedies

If you don’t want to go out and purchase a sap removing product that you’re not confident will work on your car, there are several options you can make easily at home.

Throughout this article, we mentioned that WD40, bacon grease, and nail polish remover are great options that you can use to remove sap from your car. If you don’t have any of those on hand, there are several other items you may have around the house that can help clean sap off your car.

Mineral spirits are a great option to remove sap from your car. These are oil-based solvents such as paint thinners that you probably have sitting around in your garage. You can soak a towel with paint thinner and use it to remove the sap from your car.

Hand sanitizer is another item that you probably have around the house, and perhaps even in your car, that can remove sap. The key ingredient, isopropyl alcohol, breaks down the sap and removes it. However, you want to be careful with this one. It shouldn’t remove the paint from your car, but it might, so try it on a small area first and only use as much as you need.

3 Best Choice For Tree Sap Removal

Best Results – Tree Sap Removal – Rubbing Alcohol
If you have any rubbing alcohol, A.K.A. isopropyl alcohol, around the house, this is your go-to tree sap removal solvent. We are talking about common alcohol, not some 100-proof stuff. You only need a dilute solution for it to work. Put a bit on a paper towel and dab it on. Gently wipe the sap off. Any rough moves with any solvent can leave a mark. Take your time. Let the solvent do the job, not the paper towel and your elbow grease.

Second Choice – Tree Sap Removal – Hand Sanitizer (with a high concentration of Alcohol)
Hand sanitizers range widely in their ingredients, so this is one to check on a surface that is not conspicuous before you try it on the center of your hood. The ethyl alcohol in hand sanitizer can dissolve tree sap. Use caution, but we have tried this method ourselves on a black car, and it worked and left no damage.

Third Choice – Tree Sap Removal – Margarine or Vegetable Oil
One easy way to remove tree sap from your hands is vegetable oil. We tried it on a car, and it also worked. Of the three, this method worked the least best. Consider this a last resort if you are out of rubbing alcohol and high-alcohol hand sanitizer.

Be aware that many cars have a coating of wax or similar material on the finish from either a hand-wax or a car wash. If you use these methods, the wax or film will be removed. So the spot will look a little dull. Spruce it up (get it?) with a bit of wax, and it should restore the shine


Sap contains sugar and other chemicals that can leave behind an unattractive stain on your vehicle that can be very difficult to remove. Sap is sticky, messy and woody that will cling into your car paint which makes it hard to get rid of. Fortunately, with the above ways of removing sap you have all your problems solved.

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