How to Get Sap Off of a Car

by Kate Carpenter

Unless you live where there are no trees, you have, or will, encounter tree sap on your car. It doesn't matter what the tree is, the sap of trees all have similar properties, and there are many safe ways to remove it from the finish of your car. .

Wash the car with sudsy, soapy water made with dish detergent, then rinse. The reason for washing the vehicle before beginning any method of removing tree sap is to not only washing off as much of the sap as you can, but also removing any dirt and grime that might scratch the finish as you apply the selected method of sap removal.

Dilute, no more than 50%, rubbing alcohol with warm water. Soak a cotton swap or cotton ball in the rubbing alcohol solution and rub it on the sap spot. The rubbing alcohol softens the sap and makes it easier to wipe off. Rinse the spot where the sap was and the rubbing alcohol is with warm to hot water.

Soak a cotton ball in the rubbing alcohol solution and leave it on the sap spot for a few minutes before rubbing the sap off, if the sap has been on the vehicle for a long period of time or exposed to intense heat. Frequently check the progress and dampness of the cotton ball, adding more rubbing alcohol if needed. Rinse the spot when the sap has been removed.

Apply hand anti-bacterial hand sanitizer to the sap spots with a clean cloth or cotton ball is another method for removing tree sap. Follow by rinsing with hot water and the sap should be gone. A clean, round terry cloth waxing pad can be used to apply the anti-bacteria hand sanitizer if there is a large area of sap to be removed. Rub in a circular motion, similar to waxing a car. Rinse thoroughly once the sap is gone.

Use acetone free nail polish remover with a clean cloth or cotton ball on the sap spots. After the sap is removed, make a paste of water and baking soda to wash the affected area, then rinse with hot water. Test this method out first on a hidden place of the car paint to make sure it will not harm the paint.

Buff the treated areas with polish, after removing heavy sap, to clean up any marks that might have been created during hand-rubbing with the chosen sap removing method. Any treated area must also be re-waxed since the method and solvent used to remove the sap usually removes the underlying wax..


  • check Use any one or more of the above methods to remove the sap from car finish. Always keep a good coat of wax on your vehicle for easier removal of sap drippings. As soon as you notice any sap on the car, wash the car with plenty of soap and water or take it to a car wash with power washers. The sooner sap can be removed, the easier it is.


  • close When utilizing the above methods to remove tree sap from a car, remember to use the least amount of pressure possible to reduce the risk of scratching the paint. Should you be hesitant about any of the methods and the finish of your vehicle, first test the method on a door jam or hidden area of the vehicle. Do not let the acetone free nail polish remover sit on the surface too long, as it may leave a mark in the clear coat.

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