How to Remove Tree Sap from Just About Anything

Spring and late summer are the prime seasons for sticky, gooey, tree sap. The stuff seems to ooze onto everything with ease. Getting it off, however, can be a whole different matter. Here are some sure fire methods for removing tree sap from just about anything.

A pine cone dripping tree sap.

Let the Agent Do the Work

The most efficient and effective way to remove sap from any surface is to allow the removal agents to do the work. In the case of alcohols, that means letting them dissolve the sap, and in the case of oils, letting them soften the sap before rubbing the remainder of it off.

To avoid damaging the surface covered in sap, AWAYS test removal agents on an inconspicuous area first. Only when that area has been treated successfully should you proceed to a larger area. Always wear gloves and use precautions when using any type of chemical.

How To Remove Sap From Vehicles

Note: When removing sap from a vehicle, the goal is to use the least amount of pressure possible to reduce the risk of scratching the paint. After the sap is removed, treated areas should always be buffed with a high quality polish or re-waxed in order to clean up any marks created during removal. As always, test the method in an inconspicuous place before applying to a broader area.

How To Remove Sap From Wood (including decks and wooden patio furniture)

Try applying non-diluted Murphy's Oil Soap with a mop (large area) or pour directly onto the affected surface. Allow the soap to sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing it clean with a soft brush. Rinse and allow to dry. Supposedly, this method works best on sealed wood.

How To Remove Sap From Clothes (including fleece, polyester, and cotton)

Apply a liberal amount of hand sanitizer to the area, and gently work it into the fabric. For really stubborn spots, brush the area with a soft bristled toothbrush. Rinse and dry.

How To Remove Sap From Leather

Rub creamy peanut butter into the leather. The oil conditions the leather while softening the tree sap. Simply rinse with warm soapy water and allow to dry.

How To Remove Sap From Skin

Oil-based Agents:

Alcohol Agents*:

*Caution: these can cause skin irritations with some people

Apply to the skin with a soft damp cloth, then rinse with warm, soapy water.

How To Remove Sap From Hair (including pet hair and paws)

Hair is one of the hardest things to remove tree sap from, but the task can be made somewhat easier if the sap is still soft. Short of getting yourself a new haircut, try the following:

Creamy peanut better (the oilier the better). Apply it liberally to the hair and soften it using a hair dryer on the lowest setting (careful to avoid burning the skin). Let the softened peanut butter sit for a few minutes before combing it through the hair with a large-toothed comb. Shampoo and rinse with warm water. If you can't stand peanut butter, substitute mayonnaise.

About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at

Showing: Comments Sort: Relevance

My niece had tree sap in her hair and she was about to be in a pagent. It was awful. Our family talked to some older people and they said to use mayonnaise. Worked like a charm. She did not win the pagent but atleast her hair was shiny and clean.

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

Use damp fabric softener sheet to remove sap from your windshield and car. Cathy from MA

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

I had tree sap in my hair and got online and found out about using off. The bug repelent. It works great. We have a yard full of pine trees. I use it on everything that gets pine sap on it.

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

Butter! Use wonders!

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

I should of taken before and after pictures our pickup was cover hood and roof with cottonwood tree buds which are covered in pitch, I use a bit of butter on a little spot and unreal how it worked, so I did the whole affected area and it all come off unreal the whole hood and roof took about 1/4 pound of butter (not much considering the area) after washing the truck and very happy with the results

thanks so much for the idea.

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

In This Article
Removing Tree Sap Stains
Removing Tree Sap
Holidays and Parties Christmas Helpful HintsDecember 1, 2008
More to Explore
ThriftyFun on Facebook
ThriftyFun on Pinterest
Enter a Contest
Free Newsletters
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Related Guides
A dog sitting near pine trees.
Removing Tree Sap from Your Pet's Fur
Beautiful Cedar Deck
Removing Sap from a Deck
Christmas tree on top of an SUV.
Removing Tree Sap from a Car
Sap spot and cleaning supplies.
Removing Tree Sap on Microfiber
© 1997-2016 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Published by . Page generated on May 24, 2016 at 4:06:49 PM on in 408 msecs. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of ThriftyFun's Disclaimer and Privacy Policy. If you have any problems or suggestions feel free to Contact Us.
To Top
Loading Something Awesome!