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.
By CLAIRE 1
Can anyone tell me how to safely remove tree sap from my car's finish?
By Claire from Chicago burbs
April 8, 2011
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.
By Cathy W. 1
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:
By Amanda 2
How do you safely remove pine sap from cars without damaging the paint?
By Amanda from TX
April 27, 2011
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.
How do you get sap off a car?
By Lena C.
April 9, 2012
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.
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
October 11, 2013
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).
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.
How can I remove the sap that has fallen on top of my car?
By Jesse B.
What is the best way to remove tree sap from a car without hurting the finish or the paint?
Try Lestoil. It removes tar, so sap should be a non-issue. It will not ruin the finish. We've used it on our cars and my husband uses it on his Harley and we've NEVER had a problem with it. (06/13/2005)
Whatever you do, DO NOT USE NAIL POLISH REMOVER! A message board suggested this and I tried it and it left smears all over my paint. (05/03/2006)
What works to remove pine sap that won't hurt the paint on your car?
The best way to get rid of tree sap is to use a "clay bar." This should be available at Murray's or PepBoys, possibly even Wal-Mart or Kmart. The only two manufacturers I know of that make clay bars are Meguires and Mothers. If you can't find it in the store, try the web sites for the manufacturers. It's about $10-15, but it lasts for a while. I've had mine about 2 years. The instructions are very simple, although initially it may seem like a bother. (12/01/2000)
After reading some of the other suggestions for removing tree sap, I feel I must point out that the clay bar will NOT strip the wax from the car's paint job. If you're going to wax the car, wax the whole car to keep the paint the same color and condition; don't just wax one tiny spot. I would definitely stay away from any method that would strip the wax. The clay bar is specifically designed to remove sap and tar and bugs, etc. while NOT stripping the wax. (12/01/2000)
Warm rag with a little bit of baking soda. Let it sit on sap then rub off! (08/04/2005)
The best method I've found for pine sap removal is crisco or butter. I've never tried it on a car, but can personally say that rubbing crisco on the sap in my hair removed it immediately. I've also used butter on the kids feet to remove sap while camping. It's fast, but most important it won't remove skin or paint. (08/27/2005)
It always best to remove sap from your car quickly, while it is still soft. The harder the sap gets the tougher it is to remove and the more likely it is to scratch your car's finish. Make a paste with a mild abrasive like baking soda and apply to the sap, then rub it with a rag until the sap is removed. You can also try rubbing the sap with mayonnaise on a rag. I have also heard that WD-40 works well for softening sap so that it can be removed. Clean the area once the sap has been removed. (09/17/2005)
Turtle Wax Bug and Tar remover does not work (even though it says right on the label that it does). (10/01/2005)
I purchased TurtleWax Pine and Bug remover which worked very well on metal, painted surfaces (automotive) and does not harm your paint. I tried to use this same product, however, to remove white pine gum from the plastic of a pick-up box liner and it left a white stain/residue and, moreover, it did a poor job removing the gum. Noticing this white stain I then decided to experiment with butter and ice on other pine gum stains on the box liner as well as on the rubber material at the base (and around the perimeter) of automotive windows. Ice did not work for me (I used several different techniques - applying for a longer duration of time, scrubbing with cube, etc), yet butter worked wonderfully and did no harm (i.e, did not leave white stain) to the plastic, or the rubber. (05/04/2006)
I have been super busy and haven't had a chance to wash my car for the last four months. I live in an area that has a bunch of pine trees so once I finished washing my car i noticed A LOT of tree sap. I took Nancy's advice and used rubbing alcohol, it worked on every single spot. The only problem was that in some cases it left a residue. The solution is to wipe on some butter then wipe it off. My car looks like i just drove it off the lot. Don't waste your money on all that other stuff all you need is alcohol and butter. Good Luck! (06/29/2006)
By Big T
My Beemer just got painted and was looking showroom new. It didn't take any time at all and my Beemer got attacked by a few serious shots of pine tree sap. I tried everything from Goop-gone to all kinds of so called tree sap remover with no luck at all. So I got to thinking. I wasn't to hot on the idea of pure alcohol on my paint so I looked behind my desk seen some "Sanitizing Hand Towels" with aloe and a few Vitamins. I took one to the Sap Attack and whoooosh! In seconds the hardened tree sap was gone rinsed it with some warm water and touched it up with a bit of wax and looks like new again.
I had a ton of pine sap on my new car. I read through the Internet to see what I should do. I kept reading about using rubbing alcohol. I finally decided to try it. It worked! I applied the alcohol to a cotton ball and gently worked the spots. I could only clean 2-3 spots per cotton ball before getting a residue, which I wiped away with a wet cloth. It took awhile, but I got my car back. I suggest using rubbing alcohol and a wet cloth. (07/11/2006)
Ever-popular peanut butter! It worked like a champ, and then I had a sandwich! (07/30/2006)
It's my neighbors tree and it's at the end of my driveway, the first time it got on my wife's new black Impala it cost me $200 to get it cleaned off. that was 4 years ago, now it happened again but this time it got both cars, mine is now the new one. Read through your page of tips, tried them all and found rubbing alcohol worked the best. Your page saved me some money. Thanks. (08/09/2006)
Try WD-40. It removes bugs, tar and sap and will not hurt the finish on your car. (09/13/2006)
The guy at the GM dealer who details the cars said use alcohol. Then re-wax because the wax has also been removed and the sap will stick more NEXT time.
My son came home from school with his car covered with tree sap. It has dried on to a lacquer finish. I have tried lots of sap removers and car polishes but it still will not come off. I would appreciate some suggestion.
Lou from Spring, Texas
Try Avon skin so soft bath oil. It removed gummy residue from tape, it also removes tar and doesnt harm paint finishes (07/25/2006)
Try rubbing alcohol, WD-40, or Skin-So-Soft bath oil. Wash the car afterwards to remove any residue. (07/26/2006)
Have you tried Witchhazel? You can find it in the pharmacy around rubbing alcohol. I've heard to use this on skin, but I don't know how it will work on a car. (07/27/2006)
By Dawn Salisbury
Heard about using peanut butter from a housewife, and can't wait for a mild day to try it Fortunately , the 'sap source' was cut down.
The rationale behind using peanut butter is not that 'it sticks too the roof of your car', but,that the oil doesn't evaporate as fast as most solvents. I'll opt for the 'all natural' spread , as it should
remove the spots in a JIFFY. (02/27/2007)
What is the best way to remove tree sap from an automobile?
Mary from Washington, MO
Try vegetable oil. I worked in a flower shop for a few years and at Christmas time we used it to get the sap off of our hands. (07/17/2007)
I have used Goo Gone and Goof Off (same sort of thing) on my cars before. I had some vinyl lettering that I removed and it left a sticky residue. I used the Goo Gone and it was gone. It didn't hurt the paint at all.
This is not a very "green" solution, because the stuff stinks. It smells very toxic. I used double rubber gloves and wished that I had a mask. Be sure to do this outside or in a well ventilated area.
After working in the auto industry for 20 years, I can tell you what should work. After washing the car (to remove any other dirt), try using Bug and Tar Remover. You can find it in the automotive section of any store (like Walmart or Pep Boys). Use it sparingly, because it will strip any wax you may have on the car, but it won't damage the finish.
It's a time consuming process, but I've had much success with this. After, wax the area. As I mentioned, the remover also strips off any wax. Also, a good coat of wax on the car will make it much easier to remove the sap should this ever happen again.
Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, it works well for me, not much scrubbing. (08/09/2007)
What didn't work:
I applied Varsol to dried sap on my car window, and it didn't work. (09/04/2007)
I work at a car wash. A clay bar is the best way. You can use that all over your car, that is better. You can buy a kit for about $20.00. You get the sprayer and the clay bar (like Playdoh), spray what is in the bottle and take the clay bar out of the package and use in small circles. Make sure that you keep the area wet at all times. Everyone should do this if your run your hands over your car and it fells rough. After you clay bar the whole car then wax. The wax will last three times longer. (12/25/2007)
Use rubbing alcohol, it comes off pretty easy. After the sap is gone clean the area with Windex. It's that easy. (07/04/2008)
I had sap on my car and used lemon extract. It worked great, I didn't have to scrub or anything. Paint still looks good. (07/06/2008)
I used the Magic eraser and it didn't work well, a little bit but not well.
By Joy from Canada
Use a dampened fabric softener sheet, wring out water. You can use it to take off bugs and sap. A used fabric softener sheet will also work.
By Cathy from MA
How do I safely remove tree sap from my car?
By argene1946 from Blenheim, ON
I use Goo Gone. (05/20/2009)
Try Scott's Liquid Gold. (05/26/2009)
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)
Before you try anything, use hand sanitizer that works great. And it's so easy, just wipe on and wipe off. (07/25/2009)
Can tree sap eat through car paint? We have a tree that I cannot identify, a deciduous tree with pods. It is not a pine tree. It has dripped some kind of sap on the car and nothing, not Goo Gone, nor Bug and Tar remover will get the spots off of the car.
By gutenbergw from CA
Try a pineoil cleaner. Lestoil or Pinesol or a generic. Place it pure on the spot and let it soften. Not sure it will work now you have tried other things, but it's worth a try.
Be careful when you use any of these products, including the ones you have used. They can harm the finish of the car more so than the sap that's on it. (08/24/2009)
How do I
clean dried pine sap off my car, without damaging the paint?
Pippa Kay from Hampshire, UK
It works. Alcohol wipe from a first aid kit worked perfectly. You
need to have one for each spot. (11/25/2006)
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)
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)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Sarah B
Pure rubbing alcohol without acetone is the best. Acetone
screws up the paint. Even some Absolut vodka or rum is OK.
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
Try a used fabric softener sheet that has been dampened with water.
ByCathy from MA
Saw pine sap on new Hyundai Tucson, cleaned it with Grey Goose, just
a little, worked great. (09/09/2008)
I followed the suggestion to use a fabric softener sheet soaked in
water. It worked great. (09/22/2008)
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.
By Jorge M
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.
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.
completely dissolved. (Do not reuse Q-Tip. Use a a new one for each
I followed each step carefully and the result was fantastic. Hope
this helps for your vehicle. (08/12/2009)
By <a href="http://www.thriftyfun.com//profile/index.lasso?
id=87879093" width="400" height="300" alt="RE: 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
By <a href="http://www.thriftyfun.com//profile/index.lasso?
"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 <a href="http://www.thriftyfun.com//profile/index.lasso?
How do I clean dried pine sap off my car, without damaging the paint?
Pippa Kay from Hampshire UK
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)
1) Rainy day. Wax is a little soft (if at all possible).
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.
I had about 20-30 spots of dried wax (with a few bubbles of hard wax). (11/22/2009)
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)
How does one clean sap off a car?
By Mary Anne from McLean, VA
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)
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
Is this stuff orange scented? I believe the name is Goo Gone. (09/30/2009)
If you mean Goo Gone, it didn't work to get the sap off my car. (10/01/2009)