ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Autos»
  • Car Care & Maintenance

How to Remove Tree Sap from Car

Updated on July 31, 2012

Remove Sap from Car

If you live in a heavily wooded area or unassumingly parked your car under or near a pine tree you have likely had to deal with tree sap falling on your car. If you catch tree sap early it can easily be removed; however, if it has had time to bake in the sun you may have some trouble. To remove baked on tree sap from your car you'll have to take a few extra steps to remove it since soap and water won't remove it in most cases.

If you remove the sap incorrectly you can easily scratch your car. With this method you can remove tree sap with a basic solvent and a little bit of patience.

Tips to Avoiding Tree Sap on Your Car

  • If you live in a climate that is cold you will have fewer problems with tree sap. Tree sap usually starts to come out of the trees in warmer temperatures. If it is an especially hot day you will want to avoid parking your car near sap producing trees.
  • Often times we think we have tree sap on our car when in fact it is honeydew which is a insect secretion that is produced when insects eat the sap from trees. Many ants, caterpillars and butterflies create this sticky secretion. If you live in an area with lots of these types of insects you may want to spray the tree branches with a high pressure water hose to remove the insects that may live above your car.
  • Lastly, the most obvious tip is to avoid parking under or around trees. However, I know this can sometimes be impossible based on where you live and work.

Dissolve the Sap

The easiest way to remove sap from your car is to dissolve it with a solvent. When trying to dissolve the sap it is important that you be careful not to remove the paint from your car as well. This is why it is so tricky to remove sap from cars. Whenever using a solvent on your car you should test the solvent on a hidden portion of the vehicle, if it appears to not affect the paint you can then use it on the portion of the car that has the tree sap. You should also never leave the solvent on your car for an extended period of time. You should wipe on and then wipe off, this will help ensure that you do not harm the paint on your car or permanently damage your cars finish. When using a solvent you shouldn't need anything besides something to apply and remove the solvent, however; if you feel you need a tool to scrape the sap off I would recommend a wooden spoon. The soft wood and rounded edges shouldn't scratch your car yet should be able to help with the extra stubborn sap.

Nail Polish Remover: With this method you will want to pour the remover on to a cotton ball and gently rub the sap in a circular motion. The nail polish remover should start to break down the sap which will allow you to remove it. When you are done you should wash the affected area with a baking soda and water solution. I would suggest using 1 part baking soda and 3 parts hot water. When you are done wash your car as normal. You may need to spot wax your car afterwards; since this method can often times leave a dull finish.

Mineral Spirits: This is an oil based solvent that is usually used to remove paint from paint brushes. When using this method pour some of the mineral spirit onto a rag and gently wipe the affected area. Repeat this over and over until the sap has broken down and can be removed. When you are done wash the car as normal and if needed spot wax the affected area. Using solvents on your car can oftentimes dull the finish, but can be recovered with a bit of wax.

WD-40: This is probably the safest solvent to use on your car, but it also the least effective. WD-40 is a mild solvent which is why it is safer to use than then other solvents. Just spray the WD-40 over the area and wipe away. You may need to do this several times. To remove the WD-40 from your car, wipe the affected area with a water and vinegar solution. Afterwards, wash the car as normal and spot wax it to recover the finish.

Cleaning Up Sap

Hopefully you managed to get the sap off of your car, but you have likely managed to get it on your hands and hopefully not your clothing and hair. If you did, don't worry there are simple ways to remove sap from your hands, clothing and hair.

Hands: To remove sap from your hands you can use hand sanitizer or even something as simple as mayonnaise.

Clothing: To remove sap from clothing, just dab it with some rubbing alcohol and rub it into the sap. Be careful not to smear the sap further around the clothing. Allow it to sit for a few minutes and wash like normal.

Hair: Removing sap from hair is a lot like removing gum from your hair. Try rubbing peanut butter or mayonnaise into the sap. Once you start to feel is breaking apart take a comb and try to brush it out. When most of the sap is removed, wash your hair with shampoo as normal.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)