How to Remove Tree Sap

Auto Butler

Come on, it’s just a walk in the park, that’s how it starts. You get convinced that instead of Netflix and chill you should head out and commune with nature. You park the car and head in, failing to realize the shower of tree sap that will soon speckle your pristine finish.

You may have heard your dad or grandpa talk about their home remedies to clean sap off. Dad swore by rubbing alcohol, but before you grab your hand sanitizer out of your murse think about it. That goo kills 99.9% of things on your hand, is your clear coat really something you want to risk? So let’s get into how to remove and protect your finish from the dangers of going into the wild.

So let’s cover how to get this done. First off, hit the problem fast. Letting the sap sit can lead to the water evaporating creating a sticky mess, trapping other airborne contaminants as well as eating into the clear coat. You might think that a run through the gas station car wash will do the trick, but really, would we ever recommend that? No. While the quick wash has the idea to spray your car down first, the cold water used won’t soften the sap. You’re going to want to use warm water for this job. The sugars in sap will soften and melt faster with warm water.

If you walk in the park was quick and you caught the sap before it started to dry, a quick warm water hand wash might have solved the problem. If it was an epic hike and picnic followed by stargazing you might have a little more work ahead.

In this case, you’ll still want to do a warm water hand wash. Then follow it up with a visual inspection looking for residual sap. Before you start picking at it with your fingernails or smearing it around, grab your Detail Pro solvent spray and some microfiber cloths. First, saturate your microfiber cloths with the solvent and place the cloth over the stuck-on sap. You’re going to need to let it sit for a little bit and soften up, luckily Detail Pro solvent is safe for your vehicles to paint.

After allowing the solvent to soften the sap, you’ll take a clean side of the microfiber and wipe to remove the sap. The solvent works great on sticky messes, so don’t hesitate to moisten your cloth and wipe the area down again until all the sap is removed.

At this point, you’ll just have to clean up any residue. With a clean microfiber cloth and detailing spray, wipe down the affected areas in order to remove any additional contaminants. Make sure to finish up with some Detail Pro Spray Wax to protect your sap free finish.

Ready to tackle the sap on your vehicle? Here are the products you’ll need:

  • Solvent
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Detailing Spray
  • Spray Wax