How To Remove Tree Sap

pine tree sap
Image by Peter Massas

By Nikki Phipps
(Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden)

With its sticky, goo-like texture, tree sap quickly adheres to just about anything it comes into contact, from skin and hair to clothing, cars and more. Trying to get rid of  tree sap  can be difficult and annoying.

However, learning how to remove tree sap can be as easy as opening your household cabinets. Many commonly used household products can be used as pine tree sap remover. For instance, one of the most common household items for removing sap is rubbing alcohol. Alcohol acts as a solvent, breaking up sap and dissolving it.

Pine Tree Sap Remover for Skin and Hair

A great way to remove sap from your skin is by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or nail polish remover. Simply rub onto the affected area(s) and follow up with soap and water. Using Crisco or grease-cutting dish soap is also effective.

Nothing is worse than getting sap in your hair. This can easily be taken out with peanut butter. The oils found in peanut butter help break down the sap, making it easy to comb out. Simply cover areas with sap and use a hair dryer (warm setting) to soften. Comb out and wash hair as usual. Mayonnaise has the same effect. Allow the mayonnaise to sit for several minutes before rinsing and then comb hair.

Remove Tree Sap from Clothing

Tree sap can easily be removed from clothing with rubbing alcohol. Simply rub onto the affected area(s) to remove tree sap from clothing. Then place the item(s) in the washing machine (with detergent) and wash as usual in warm water. Do not add other items to the wash. Hand sanitizer also works.

Believe it or not, you can easily remove tree sap from clothing by using a well-known bug repellent too. Spray on Deep Woods Off bug repellent and then wash out. This household item is also great for removing tree sap from windows.

Removing Tree Sap from Cars

There are several other household items that can be used for removing tree sap from cars. Nail polish remover can be used as pine tree sap remover. Care should be given, however, as this can also remove paint. Allow the nail polish remover to soak into a cotton ball. Rub onto the affected area using a circular motion. Rinse off with a baking soda and hot water solution (1-cup baking soda to 3 cups water). Wash the car as usual.

Mineral spirits is an oil-based solvent oftentimes used as paint thinner and commonly found in many homes. This household item is also effectively used for removing tree sap from cars. Soak into a towel and wipe onto the affected area. Repeat as needed until the tree sap is gone and wash as usual.

Another great pine tree sap remover is WD-40. Its mild solvent properties easily break down sap. The lubricant is safe on most types of paint. Spray it on and rinse it off with vinegar and water solution. Wash as usual.

How to Remove Pine Sap from Wood Decks

Want to know how to remove pine sap from wood decks and other wooden surfaces? As an alternative to those harsh, heavy-duty stain removers, use non-diluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. Simply apply with a mop or pour directly onto the affected surface. Allow it to sit for about fifteen minutes. Then scrub with a brush and rinse. The oil-based solution softens the sap residue, making it easier to remove. One note – this works best on finished or sealed decks.

Tree sap is difficult to remove from any surface, especially once it’s hardened. However, learning how to remove tree sap using common household items can make this task easy.

This article was last updated on

Related Articles
Did you find this helpful?
Share it with your friends!
Additional Help & Information

Didn't find the answer to your question? Ask one of our friendly gardening experts.

Do you know anything about gardening? Help answer someone's gardening question.

Read more articles about General Tree Care.

Search for more information

Use the search box below to find more gardening information on Gardening Know How:

Newest Articles
  • firespikes Firespike Plant Information: How To Grow Firespikes
  • sea-rocket Sea Rocket Information: How To Care For A Sea Rocket Plant
  • scaredy-plant Growing Scaredy Cat Plants: Coleus Canina Plant Repellent
  • petunia-bloom Petunia Not Blooming: How To Fix Petunia Plant With No Flowers
  • compost-maggots Dealing With Flies In The Compost: Should I Have A Lot Of Flies In My Compost?