Tree sap is a sticky substance filled with minerals and nutrients produced from a tree; it can be seen as the blood of a tree. Whenever you park your car under a tree, probably because it is your last resort, you might get a lot of loose sap all over the windows and paintwork.

For you to have found this article means that you have found that sticky substance on your car, and you have no idea how to remove it. The minute you notice that your vehicle has tree sap on it, you should work towards cleaning it immediately. This is because it will eventually turn black if left alone, which will be more challenging to remove.

It can be quite challenging to remove tree sap from your car, and if you are not careful, you might damage your vehicle’s expensive paintwork. This article outlines the best ways to remove tree sap from your car without damaging it. Follow the straightforward steps below, and you will have your vehicle looking as good as new.

Different Ways to Remove Tree Sap from Car

Wash Your Car Thoroughly

When getting rid of tree sap on your car, the first thing you can try is to wash the vehicle immediately you notice it. The longer it stays on your car, the more it dries and the more difficult it will be to remove. It would be best if you acted as fast as possible, so you put in minimal effort and still get excellent results.

All you need is hot water, a microfiber cloth, sponges, and carwash soap when dealing with sap. Take your time to wash the car, including the part where the tree sap is on. Rinse the vehicle thoroughly and leave it to dry under the sun for a while; ensure that you do not park under a tree, so you do not get more sap on it.

Next, dip your microfiber rag into the hot and soapy water and scrub the area where the sap is on your car. Once you are done, rinse the surface with hot water repeatedly until the sap is removed. Then, dry the surface of your car and wax it again because there is a possibility that all the wax has been removed.

Images courtesy of Hugo B.

Nail Polish Remover

Nail polish remover is another effective way to clean tree sap on your car; if you were not aware, you are now. You are probably wondering how this works, and it is pretty straightforward. The acetone in nail polish remover does an excellent job breaking up very sticky pine sap.

Pour some drops of nail polish onto a cotton wall, preferably a cotton ball, so it is much easier for you. Wipe the sap until it comes off and wash away any residue with baking soda and water – this helps protect your car’s paintwork, so it does not get damaged.

Use Alcohol or Mineral Spirit

You can also use alcohol or mineral spirit to obliterate the tree sap. Soak a clean cloth in mineral spirit (turpentine) or isopropyl rubbing alcohol and let it sit directly on the tree sap for about thirty seconds. Ensure that you do not let it stay on for too long because it can damage your car’s paintwork.

Check the tree sap to see if it is soft enough to remove and if it is not, place the dampened cloth directly on it for another thirty seconds; it should be soft enough to remove after this. Use the material to rub off the sap gently and wash the area with hot water and soap to clean off any residue.

Images courtesy of Ambitious Creative Co. – Rick Barrett

Use Commercial Tree Sap Remover

Another method is to use commercial tree sap remover, which you can purchase at any auto-parts or automotive supply shop. The first thing you should do is wash your car thoroughly with carwash soap and hot water. Clean off all the dirt surrounding the sap, and you might be lucky because it may come off right there.

If the sap does not come up, proceed to use your commercial tree sap remover. This product does an excellent job of getting rid of tree sap while protecting your car’s exterior. Pour some of the sap removers onto a clean rag and place it directly on the sap while applying pressure. After the rag has stayed over the sap for some time, gently rub it in a circular motion to lift the sap off your car.

Once this is done, the area should look good as new, but you still need to rinse the area with hot water to clean off any residue. Lastly, add a fresh coat of wax for protection, as you might have washed the old one away during the process.

Apply WD-40

Spraying WD-40 directly on the sap is also an excellent method to apply. Once you have placed it on the sap, please leave it to soak for about five minutes, where it will work on dissolving the tree sap. Use a wet rag (must be placed in hot water) to wipe the sap until it is completely removed, and wash the area with soap and water for a clean surface.

Images courtesy of WD-40

Use a Razor Blade

The last method to consider is to use a razor blade to scrape the sap off your car. This will help to loosen the sap, making it easy to scrape. Before doing this, you need to soften the sap with a lubricant, which must be oil-based or alcohol.

Remember to scrape the sap as gently as possible, so you do not peel your car’s paint and damage the surface. This should be taken as a last-resort method because your vehicle will suffer damages that will cost a lot to handle if it is done incorrectly.

Images courtesy of Laura Mitulla


Follow any of the methods above to rid your car of tree sap on your car safely, and remember to carry out these steps gently so you do not damage your car’s exterior.

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Pavlo Prannyk
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