How to Remove Tree Sap from Car? 8 Easy Ways

Remove Tree Sap

Tree sap on a car is a big problem. Do you know how to remove tree sap from car? There are different options for cleaners for removing tree sap from car. You can use whatever you have available or use a commercial cleaner to remove tree sap.

Tree sap can not only be unsightly and impair visibility while driving, but it can also be difficult to remove and damaging to paintwork if not done right away.

But overnight, sap won’t ruin the paint on your car. There is still time to fix the impending issue if your car was just recently the victim of a malicious maple tree.

The following advice will help you remove tree sap without damaging the paint on your car.

How to Remove Tree Sap from Car?

Thank goodness, it’s simple and inexpensive to get tree sap out of paint and glass. There are many spray-on cleaners available that can aid in removing the tree sap.

Hand Wash ASAP

Although automatic car washes are practical, they rarely assist in removing old tree sap from your car’s exterior. In fact, since they spread the sap, automated carwashes might even make things worse! The best course of action is to thoroughly wash your hands, especially if you can get a sponge to your car before the sap has a chance to dry.

  1. A few buckets of hot water—hot water is essential for cleaning tree sap—a hose or power washer, sponges, carwash soap, and a microfiber cloth are all things you’ll need to get started.
  2. Then, leave your car somewhere shaded (but not underneath a tree). Sunlight will cause water to dry out too quickly, leaving water stains and raising the possibility of being scratched.
  3. After that, thoroughly rinse your car, making sure to get everywhere. If you decide to use a power washer, make sure the nozzle is set to a wider setting so it won’t scratch the paint.
  4. Following rinsing, use a clean sponge or washing mitt and soap to scrub the entire car, including the sap. Again, hot water is crucial because the heat softens any dry sap.
  5. Rinse and repeat until the sap is no longer noticeable. Any leftovers can be removed by scratching with your fingernail.
  6. Apply a thick coat of car wax after the car has completely dried. For good measure, give it a good polish.

The hand-wash method will work for the majority of people, but if the tree goop is particularly difficult to remove from a car, you might need to take additional steps. Check out these other methods to get rid of sap.

Alcohol-Based Solution

One of the special tools a detailer may occasionally carry for these sticky situations is an alcohol-based solution, such as diluted isopropyl alcohol. The tree sap is broken down by the solution, making it easier to wipe off with a fresh microfiber. Once more, if this doesn’t get rid of the tree sap, you might need to use a clay bar. Just keep in mind that it’s essential to avoid letting the IPA sit on the paintwork for an extended period of time or in the sun, especially when using strong dilutions, as this can harm the clear coat. This will frequently depend on how concentrated your IPA solution is because they can range in strength. To be safe, diluted your IPA solution with water.


  1. Directly apply WD-40 to the sap stain, and let it sit for five minutes.
  2. Apply a hot, wet cloth to the top to increase penetration. (Optional)
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 as needed to remove the sap using the cloth.
  4. Wash the area with hot water and soap after the sap has been removed.

Cooking Oil

  1. If the sap is still fresh, you can cover it in non-toxic cooking oil, like coconut or canola. Give it five minutes to rest.
  2. To increase penetration, place a wet cloth that has been soaked in hot water on top. (Optional)
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 as necessary to remove the sap.
  4. Finally, wash the area with hot water and soap.

This guide will go over how to wash a car at home and some frequently asked questions about best practices for washing cars in order to assist you in keeping your car clean.

cooking oil

Commercial Cleaners

  1. Buy a cleaning or adhesive removal product made for commercial use if you want to help get sticky things off. There are many products that function well, including Goof Off, Goo Gone, Turtle Wax Bug and Tar Remover, and 3M™ Adhesive Remover.
  2. Use the product as directed, or spray the chemicals onto a clean cloth and place it on top of the sap for a short period of time.
  3. Repeat step 2 as necessary after wiping away the sap.
  4. Once the sap has been eliminated, wash the area with hot water and soap.

You May Also Like: Best Car Interior Cleaner

Baking Soda

  1. Warm water and baking soda are combined to form a thick paste.
  2. Spread the paste gently over the tree sap on your car, being careful not to scratch the paint.
  3. Give this some time to settle.
  4. Boiling water should be poured in a stream on top of the sap and baking soda.
  5. Use a fresh, damp rag to clean the area.

Razor Blade

  1. Use a commercial product, rubbing alcohol, or a lubricant with an oil base to first loosen the sap.
  2. Grab a clean razor blade or utility knife*, and try to safely and delicately scrape the sap off.
  3. Slowly wiggle the blade underneath the sap, which will give yourself the opportunity to “peel” it away.
  4. We cannot emphasize this enough: move very slowly! Any incorrect maneuver can remove paint from your vehicle or leave a dark gouge in the paint, necessitating a trip to an auto body shop for repairs.

Use a Polish

Still finding it challenging to get the tree sap off? Then, a polish is required here. It would be hand polish, machine polish, and finally wet sanding, going from the least aggressive to the most. The polishing compound itself contains abrasives in its formula, so sometimes all it takes is a little elbow grease to remove the more difficult stains. However, it is best to use someone who is skilled in using a machine polisher. If the first method doesn’t work, keep trying the more aggressive approach. The last thing you would want is to further damage the paintwork. It is likely that you will need to finish with a machine polish if you intend to use the wet-sanding technique to remove the sap using grit sandpaper. This is due to the fact that the sandpaper is so aggressive that it will cause micro marring and swirl marks, which must be removed by a machine.

Read Next:


Will Vinegar Remove Tree Sap from Car?

Spraying the affected areas with enough vinegar can be helpful. Let the vinegar sit on them for five to seven minutes.

Does WD 40 Remove Tree Sap?

This multipurpose item works wonders to get pine sap off.

Will Tree Sap Hurt Auto Paint?

Sap can damage your car because of how it bonds with the vehicle’s surface. Tree sap drops shrink over time, and as they shrink they create stress on your car’s finish because of that strong bond with the paint.


The secret to removing tree sap from a car without damaging the paint is to proceed carefully to prevent any damage. Even with the cleaner, you must exercise caution. You should gently scrape the windows and windshield as well as the paintwork. Don’t forget to wax your car and to wash it before and after.

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