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Removing Tree Sap from a Car

Category Auto
Christmas tree on top of an SUV.
When tree sap gets on your car it can be tricky to remove. You'll want to remove the sap without doing damage to the wax below it. This is a guide about removing tree sap from your car.
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By 2 found this helpful
August 15, 2013

We were "rained on" by a newly trimmed pine tree. Not much seemed to work and the sticky gunk got everywhere!

This combo worked effortlessly:

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  1. Scrape off carefully with single-edged razor blade.
  2. Follow by wiping with WD40 on cloth or paper towel.
  3. Wash car as usual.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 1 found this helpful
April 24, 2011

How do you safely remove pine sap from cars without damaging the paint?

By Amanda from TX

Answer Was this helpful? 1

Answers

April 25, 20110 found this helpful

You take a dryer sheet and wet it some and scrub over the sap normal works for me.

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April 27, 20110 found this helpful

We live in a pine grove in Maine - the pine tree state, so I have some experience with this... I find that Purell or a similar waterless hand cleaner works well.

Mary Rollerson

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July 31, 20170 found this helpful

Mary, the sap has dried & hardened on my car, I'ver tried a number of things that help little.

I am old & can't rub hard--no strength. I don't know what a waterless cleaner is..I have to park under these pine trees--no choice. Will they leak all winter?

Help me if you can, best wished from Jim.

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By 0 found this helpful
July 17, 2010

Can anyone tell me how to safely remove tree sap from my car's finish?

By Claire from Chicago burbs

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

Answers

July 27, 20100 found this helpful

Wash vehicle with a quality car soap and dry. while vehicle is in shade or other cool place. Use isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) on a soft clean cloth, pour on a generous amount.Wipe over sap using very light pressure. If you use to hard of pressure, dirt in the sap or encased by the sap may cause scratching. Follow with a cleaner wax.

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August 8, 20100 found this helpful

I just posted the same question without knowing that it was a widespread problem. I already tried to clean the sap drops. But light dark marks were left on my brand new white Mercedes I wonder if alcohol with be able to remove those dark marks?

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August 11, 20100 found this helpful

Thanks I will try rubbing alcohol. Hope it will still work because I already removed the sap without rubbing alcohol and left dark marks on the finish. The marks are not that dark, but annoying to me.

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August 21, 20100 found this helpful

Have to say, rubbing alcohol works magic. I bought both that and Goo Gone (for cars). Both worked but the alcohol was much easier and required less grease (elbow) to remove the sap. Thanks for the help!

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April 8, 20110 found this helpful

If you have tree sap the best thing to do is not touch it and use a water hose to rince it off. I have tried everything also and found if you touch it, it sticks but if you rinse it with water it comes off very easy.

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Anonymous
February 14, 20160 found this helpful

Mostly this is just a caution (regardless of what you see in some of the responses here (DO NOT USE NAIL POLISH REMOVER).

It contains acetone and acetone will dissolve both enamel and acrylic auto paint, it is a terrible idea.

I parked my truck over winter under a large pine tree and got hundreds of sap spots.

I am using a spray can product called "Tarminator", but my sap is in heavy spots and very dried on it takes 5 to 10 applications of Tarminator and hevy rubbing to remove each spot. The Turtle wax product does not work at all.

I am going to try mineral spirits (paint thinner NOT lacquer thinner) because from the smell it seems like it is the main ingredient in Tarminator and mineral spirits should not hurt my trucks acrylic lacquer clear coat finish.

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June 19, 20160 found this helpful

Rubbing alcohol.or hand sanitizer.

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Anonymous
July 29, 20170 found this helpful

rubbing alcohol is the best...

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April 8, 20120 found this helpful

How do you get sap off a car?

By Lena C.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
April 8, 20120 found this helpful

Rubbing alcohol and a q-tip. wet the q-tip with rubbing alcohol and rub the sap until it lifts off. follow up with by waxing the car with your favorite wax.

Do not use fingernail polish. It will strip the paint.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
April 9, 20120 found this helpful

Use Baby oil and rub it until gone. I wouldn't use any chemicals as they can strip your clear coat/wax or paint right off. You could also try some ice and chip it off very carefully with a blade. I use the baby oil myself.

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January 29, 20120 found this helpful

How can I remove the sap that has fallen on top of my car?

By Jesse B.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

Answers

January 30, 20120 found this helpful

There is a product at the hardware store called "goo gone". Self explanatory.

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July 24, 20160 found this helpful

I just tried Goo Gone It doesn't work don't waste your money WD-40 works but it's a lot of scrubbing here's my take on it a lot of scrubbing with WD-40 but it does work

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By 0 found this helpful
August 10, 2011

I have some tree sap on my car hood and would like to remove it. Any suggestions for doing so without ruining the paint?

By Rose from Malvern, PA

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
August 28, 20110 found this helpful

I googled this subject and found a video on YouTube. Appears to work pretty well. You might want to do a color test in an inconspicuous spot to make sure the hand sanitizer doesn't damage your paint. This wasn't mentioned in the video but something I wondered about.

http://www.yout  ch?v=eoTj9OC-6eI

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October 11, 20130 found this helpful

Tea Tree oil dissolves pine sap, spruce sap. It's safe enough to use as a mouth wash and will not harm your wax or paint. Find in a drug store or a health food store (better than mayo, butter, soda, cleaners).

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By 0 found this helpful
August 30, 2016

I have white car which remains parked under a mango tree. The sap off the mango branches fell on it, which is now not coming off. I have tried many rubbings and other market thinners like petrol, diesel, acetone, etc. but all in vain. Kindly suggest the proper solution.
Thanks.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
March 11, 20170 found this helpful

I would not use the products you mentioned, as those would damage paint. I would try something like goop on it, and buy a cover for the car if it can't be parked elsewhere.

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July 5, 20130 found this helpful

How do I remove tree sap from my truck box liner/ I hauled a load of wood and now there's sap/pitch all over my liner.

By Cindy

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
July 8, 20130 found this helpful

Turpentine or finger nail polish remover. Helped cut down a evergreen in my front yard. Gloves were sticky with sap, then was my gloves with hands still in them and it came right off. Used gardening gloves not leather ones

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

August 23, 20090 found this helpful

How do I safely remove tree sap from my car?

By argene1946 from Blenheim, ON

Answers:

Removing Tree Sap From a Car

I use Goo Gone. (05/20/2009)

By Glenn'sMom

Removing Tree Sap From a Car

Try Scott's Liquid Gold. (05/26/2009)

By dakota1275

Removing Tree Sap From a Car

Regular Coca Cola will take it right off the windshield. I have heard Coke can mess up your paint, but I have not ever seen it do that. Good luck. (05/27/2009)

By kshanahan

Removing Tree Sap From a Car

Before you try anything, use hand sanitizer that works great. And it's so easy, just wipe on and wipe off. (07/25/2009)

By MGraY

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

April 24, 20110 found this helpful

I've tried everything to remove sap from my auto. What I found to work really well is Goo. It's a liquid that is used to remove almost anything that is sticky. I found that it works better in the sun. Goo seems to work best when the body of the car is warm. It doesn't harm your paint and it works well on glass too.

By SYBCM from Santa Ynez, CA

Answers:

Removing Tree Sap From a Car

Is this stuff orange scented? I believe the name is Goo Gone. (09/30/2009)

By OliveOyl

Removing Tree Sap From a Car

If you mean Goo Gone, it didn't work to get the sap off my car. (10/01/2009)

By metroplex

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

July 17, 20100 found this helpful

How does one clean sap off a car?

By Mary Anne from McLean, VA

Answers:

Tree Sap on a Car

We used to live "under the pines" and had the same problem! Use rubbing alchohol on a soft rag or paper towel. It takes off the pine sap and also any wax, so that will need to be reapplied. Sap is nasty stuff that can change the color of your paint, so the sooner you get it off the better. (04/10/2010)

By Ginnywest

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

April 9, 20100 found this helpful

How do I clean dried pine sap off my car, without damaging the paint?

Pippa Kay from Hampshire UK

Answers:

Pine Tree Sap on Car

I just successfully removed 1-1.5 year dried sap on my silver-colored car. What I used:
- Murphy's Oil Soap.
- a small wooden spoon (that was already saturated with oils - basically, I wanted a smooth, wood spoon that wouldn't scratch)

Prep:
1) Rainy day. Wax is a little soft (if at all possible).

Procedure:
2) I rubbed a lot of the oil onto the dried wax.
3) After 5-10 minutes, I rubbed it with a cloth. Then I used the wooden spoon scrape off the dried wax. Worked like a charm. The paint didn't come off. The wax came off like hard dried candied syrup.

After most of the wax came off, I rubbed the oiled cloth into the bits of dried pieces and they came off. I did this on the headlights as well and it worked well.

Pros:

Cons:

I had about 20-30 spots of dried wax (with a few bubbles of hard wax). (11/22/2009)

By skaypip

Pine Tree Sap on Car

Checked today on your site for removing pine sap. Tried the alcohol as suggested. Removed sap build up from last summer, no damage to the paint. The greatest. (12/22/2009)

By HBuck

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

November 12, 20090 found this helpful

How do I

clean dried pine sap off my car, without damaging the paint?

Pippa Kay from Hampshire, UK

Answers:

Pine Tree Sap on Car

It works. Alcohol wipe from a first aid kit worked perfectly. You

need to have one for each spot. (11/25/2006)

By Lex

Pine Tree Sap on Car

Wow. I never would have believed it. I have a brand new car that I

bought earlier this year. It had three different spots of smeared

tree sap. By now they had dried and looked white on my dark blue

car. A touch of Purell did the trick in seconds (didn't need

scrubbing). There was a bit of residue, so I tried the butter thing.

It looks like new again. Thanks. (01/07/2007)

By Carla

Pine Tree Sap on Car

I never add comments to sites, but had to this time because the

alcohol suggestion worked great. My truck was covered with little

specks of what I am guessing is sap. I tried everything for a car I

could think of, and baby oil, WD 40, nothing took this off, except

the alcohol. Doesn't seem to have affected the finish at all. I

tried the nail polish remover first, but felt safer with the

alcohol. Thanks for the help. (12/04/2007)

By K

Pine Tree Sap on Car

Windex or similar glass window cleaner. It is cheap, easy, and safe.

Just used it today on my truck. (04/25/2008)

By Common Sense

Pine Tree Sap on Car

I have not tried this on a vehicle, but plain vegetable oil

dissolves pine sap instantly. I have taken it out of hair and off

hands with this simple solution.
(04/27/2008)

By Marcia

Pine Tree Sap on Car

Was very impressed with the fact that plain old OFF was able to

remove month old tree sap from my son's car with very little effort.

(06/15/2008)

By Sue

Pine Tree Sap on Car

I have that problem constantly because I have to park under a pine

tree. I tried scraping it off and it didn't work well, and while

rubbing Rain-X onto the window, I noticed it was gone. I thought it

wasn't possible so I tried it on every sap spot I had and it got rid

of it. I believe the secret is the alcohol inside, so using Rain-X

or nail polish remover or anything with alcohol would work.

(07/13/2008)

By Nicolette

Pine Tree Sap on Car

I tried using baking soda and a warm rag and it really worked now I

can't even find out where it was to begin with. Thanks a lot.

(07/15/2008)

By Stephanie

Pine Tree Sap on Car

Fingernail polish remover is just acetone. Instead of buying

expensive polish remover, just go to your local hardware store and

pickup a can of acetone. It's usually found in the paint department.

Works great for tree sap removal.

Editor's Note: There is acetone and non acetone fingernail

polish remover. The acetone kind could harm your paint.

(07/18/2008)

By Jeff

Pine Tree Sap on Car

I used rubbing alcohol as per advice from this site. I definitely

"do not" suggest it as it wrecked the clear coat on my car and left

me with streaky dull spots all over the hood and trunk of my car.

(07/24/2008)

By Sarah B

Pine Tree Sap on Car

Pure rubbing alcohol without acetone is the best. Acetone

screws up the paint. Even some Absolut vodka or rum is OK.

(07/29/2008)

By HN

Pine Tree Sap on Car

The best solution is to use Non-Acetone nail polish remover. It

removes all sorts of sap, you will strip the wax, give it a spray of

Son of Gun wax polish to top it off once you get the goo off.

Simple solution and works well. (08/02/2008)

By car owner

Pine Tree Sap on Car

Try a used fabric softener sheet that has been dampened with water.

(08/12/2008)

ByCathy from MA

Pine Tree Sap on Car

Saw pine sap on new Hyundai Tucson, cleaned it with Grey Goose, just

a little, worked great. (09/09/2008)

By Mike

Pine Tree Sap on Car

I followed the suggestion to use a fabric softener sheet soaked in

water. It worked great. (09/22/2008)

By Andrew

Pine Tree Sap on Car

Dry Gas works great.

Editor's Note: Dry gas is an alcohol-based additive used

in automobiles to prevent any water in the fuel from freezing.

(10/04/2008)

By Jorge M

Pine Tree Sap on Car

The acetone took off the paint on my Audi, very disappointing. I

will try the alcohol, but I'm leary. I could chop down that darn

tree, but it's my neighbor's and it hangs over my driveway.

Unbelievable. (11/30/2008)

By beej

Pine Tree Sap on Car

The Ultimate Answer.

I read all of the posts and tried a few. One was to use

mayonnaise, "don't do that". If you care about the finish on your

vehicle "listen carefully."

I have Pine trees all around my house so keeping up with the Pine

droppings is a full time job, to say the least. My truck is red. Red

shows everything. When I tried the mayonnaise it left a spot in the

finish for some reason. I had tried WD-40 in the past with some

success, but some spots just never came up. I saw on here that

someone suggested using rubbing alcohol so I tried that. The alcohol

worked very well, but when I washed it off it left a hazy film. I

tried a few things and "eureka" I found the solution. My solution is

outlined below. Follow each step carefully.

First a warning, or disclaimer" "Do this at your own risk. There

is no guarantee that this will work as well for you as it did for

me." You will need: rubbing alcohol, Q-tips, a rag sprayed with WD-

40, a dry rag, and a water dampened rag.

  1. Dip a Q-tip in rubbing alcohol and rub the pine tar until it is

    completely dissolved. (Do not reuse Q-Tip. Use a a new one for each

    application)

  2. After the tar is dissolved wipe spot with wet rag to remove the

    alcohol.

  3. Rub the cleaned area with the WD-40 rag.
  4. Once again wipe cleaned area with damp rag for rinse.
  5. Wipe with dry rag.

I followed each step carefully and the result was fantastic. Hope

this helps for your vehicle. (08/12/2009)

By profile=thr932716">Dumpster Dawg

Pine Tree Sap on Car

Hi folks. These are great ideas for removing the pine sap. Here's something

else you should consider;
I live in an apartment complex, and always park in the same place,

under a pine tree, and never had a problem for about a year. All of

a sudden, I started getting the pine droppings. It was then I

realized that they were coming from the newly formed pine cones,

which were still green and just glistening with sap. So, if it's

possible for you to remove the pine cones over where you park. I

believe you'll solve most of your problems before they begin. Good

luck.

(08/22/2009)

By profile=thr579088">footnote5

Pine Tree Sap on Car

"Do not" use rubbing alcohol. I used 70% rubbing alcohol on a cotton

ball to remove dried sap from my car. It removed the sap, but

ruined my paint. I rinsed, washed and waxed (with Turtle Wax paste)

my car immediately, but the rubbing alcohol has ruined the finish.

I now have foggy-looking spots all over my car. The spots are not

smooth. I tried rubbing compound and a buffer, but no luck. I have

an '04 Corolla that is in great shape. (09/05/2009)

By profile=thr424057">suebdoo93

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September 30, 20090 found this helpful

Can tree sap eat through car paint? We have a tree that I cannot identify, a deciduous tree with pods.

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May 20, 20090 found this helpful

What is the best way to remove tree sap from an automobile?

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July 17, 20070 found this helpful

My son came home from school with his car covered with tree sap. It has dried on to a lacquer finish.

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October 5, 20060 found this helpful
Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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June 15, 20050 found this helpful

What is the best way to remove tree sap from a car without hurting the finish or the paint?

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