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How To Remove Hardened Tree Sap From Car without Going To A Professional

How To Remove Hardened Tree Sap From Car

Your beautiful car has hardened tree sap on the hood or on the window! How in the world will you get it off? When it comes to answers and solutions on how to remove hardened tree sap from a car, we have the information you need to successfully take that sap a thing of the past! 

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE

Even though a little tree sap will not bring your world to an end, it can quickly become an issue if you leave it on your vehicle. Just imagine that tree sap sitting on the hood of your car, during a long and hot summer day! Not a pretty picture, is it?  It’s time to get that hardened tree sap off of your car ASAP! 

Get With The Hand Wash, Instead of The Automatic Car Wash 

Automatic car washes are great and convenient for that quick car wash. But they can rarely help when it comes to getting hardened sap off of your car. So, skip the automatic car wash and opt for a good ole hand washing.  

  1. First, gather all of your supplies. 
  2. You’ll need a bucket of hot water, gloves to protect your hands, a power washer if you have it (this is for removing that stubborn tree sap!) a sponge, car wash soap and a good, brand-new and clean microfiber cloth.
  3. Next, see if you can park your car without the sun beaming down on it. Stay far away from trees! You don’t want more sap on the car!  That sun will also be no good for this job, as it will dry your water quite prematurely- while leaving those ugly hard water stains. This will also increase the chances of your car getting starched too. 
  4. Move on to rinsing your vehicle completely and thoroughly. You don’t want to leave not a single nook or cranny with dirt on it.  
  5. If you do have a power washer, make sure that your nozzle is on a wide setting, so that you can reach a lot more of the car with the water setting. This will also ensure that you don’t damage the paint on your car. 
  6. After you have rinsed your car, it’s an all-out mission to remove that sap! So, get the scrubbing- and make sure that you put some good ole “elbow grease” into the cleaning with your clean sponge and soap. You can also use a washing mitt or an old bath towel. You don’t want an abrasive cleaning cloth, as you don’t want to damage your paint job. 
  7. Make sure that your water is as hot as you can stand it. If it gets warm or even cold, it won’t be as effective than the hot water, in removing that hardened tree sap.  That hot water will go to work in softening and helping to dissolve the tree sap. 
  8. Rinse your car and then repeat the steps above. 
  9. Chances are, you may have to do this a few times. So, be patient and don’t get agitated if you only remove a bit of sap with each wash.  
  10. Do this procedure until you have no more sap on your car. If you have several drips or drops located on various areas of your car, be sure that you get it all. You may have to do a “walk-around, to make sure that you have all of the sap on your radar, and ready for removal. 
  11. Next, dry your vehicle thoroughly.  
  12. Finally, apply a strong coat of wax and make sure that you spend time polishing it in thoroughly and completely! You don’t want wax residue on your car. 

Can Rubbing Alcohol Damage Car Paint?

While we don’t recommend placing isopropyl alcohol on your car, it is certainly NOT recommended for cars that have a fresh coat of paint. Please do not use isopropyl alcohol at its full strength. Take the time to dilute it.  

What About A Little Rubbing Alcohol or Mineral Spirits to Remove Sap From My Car? 

OK- as we stated above, please do not use your alcohol at full strength.  

    1. Take a cloth or an old clean cotton shirt or even a clean rag and gather your alcohol or your mineral spirits until your cloth is damp. Some car enthusiasts recommend using hand sanitizer.  until thoroughly dampened.
    2. Place your soaked cloth directly to the tree sap, and let it sit for just 30 seconds, a not a second longer!


  • Remember:  isopropyl alcohol is so strong, that it can strip away clear coats and auto paint! Mineral Spirits are strong too! So, please do not leave it on the cloth for more than 30 seconds! 


  1. Check to see if your sap has softened. Are you able to rub it off with your cloth? If it is soft and a bit more pliable, then use a “wax on, wax off” motion (remember the movie “Karate Kid”?). if the sap is still hardened, then please do not resort to using more alcohol. You will risk damaging your paint job. 
  2. Get some piping-hot water and pour it directly on the tree sap for 15 seconds. 
  3. That hot water should make the sap softer and able to be wiped away. 
  4. Now comes time for you to wash and rinse the tree-sapped area of your vehicle with that piping hot water to remove any remnants and residue of the alcohol. 

Can I Use A Razor Blade? 

This depends. Are you out of options? If you feel you are handy and careful, you may be able to use a single-edge razor blade. Check out the steps below:  

  1. First, try to loosen your sap with some hot water. 
  2. Next, get clean single-edge razor blade (or even a utility knife) and carefully… and we do mean CAREFULLY work to scrape the sap off.  
  3. You want to use SLOW BACK AND FORTH WIGGLES to remove the sap with your blade. You also don’t want to be in a hurry, or even be frustrated. Stay calm as you don’t want to chip or scrap your car paint away. Work your blade underneath the sap, which will allow you an opportunity to “peel” the sap off of the car. 
  4. We want to make sure that we offer this solution as a last resort. We also want to make sure that you are GENTLE AND CAREFUL. If you are in a hurry, angry or even agitated in the least, don’t try this method. You will risk not only peeling off the hardened sap, but your car paint. We hope you heed our warnings! 
  5. A razor blade is highly effective in removing tree sap from your car window, as you only have the glass to contend with. But you still have to remember to be careful! 


Is WD 40 Safe On Car Paint? Can I Use It To Remove The Sap Off Of My Car? 

Yes, you can. WD-40 is very safe to use on your car's paint WD-40 is a substance that has a mineral oil base. To use it for the removal of car sap, try the following method: 

  1. First, spray WD-40 right smack dab on the sap and allow it to permeate or soak into the sap for about five minutes.  
  2. Get a wet cloth and soak it in some very hot water. Place that hot-watered and soaked cloth on the sap, with the WD-40 for extra penetration. 
  3. Let it sit for a few minutes. 
  4. Then take your cloth and rub away the sap. You may have to repeat this process, depending on how hard the sap is. 
  5. When your tree sap is gone, wash the area with hot water and soap. Be sure that you rinse and dry- and take your time doing so. 

Can I Use Cooking Oil From My Kitchen To Remove Tree Sap? 

If the sap is fresh and not hard, then your cooking oil may prove to be an effective oil in removing the sap off of your car. Check out the following steps: 

  1. Grab a cloth and soak it in hot water. Place your cooking oil on top of the sap and then place your hot and wet cloth on top of the oil and sap. This will add a great layer of penetration for removing the fresh sap. 
  2.  Wipe away the sap. 
  3. Do this a few times, to remove the sap. 
  4. Again, this is a highly effective tree-sap-vs-car removal process, IF the sap is fresh. If the sap has become hard, then cooking oil may not work. 

Does Vinegar Remove Sap?

Many have tried vinegar to remove sap and have found it effective. So, grab a cloth. Dab it in the vinegar. Then with vigorous motions, rub it against the hardened tree sap. Next, rinse with warm water and see if you have any sap that remains. You may have to repeat this treatment a few times.


Will Goo Gone Remove Sap From Car?

While Goo Gone is great at removing gum, crayons, grease and stickers, it is known for also removing fresh tree sap off of cars. So, grab your clean cloth and place some Goo Gone on the cloth. Then, hold it over the sap for about 40 seconds. Then, gently wipe away the sap. If the sap is a bit harder to remove than you thought, apply a small amount directly on the sap and allow it to sit on top of the sap for a few minutes.  Then use your microfiber cloth to wipe your Goo Gone and sap away. Wash and rinse the area and then apply a coat of wax. 


Protect Your Car From Sap! 

Wouldn’t it be horrible to perform all of these methods to remove sap off of your car, only to park your car under a tree, and have more sap on the car? Be sure that if you are forced to park your car under trees that emit sap, you: 

  1. Get a car cover. This is the easiest way to prevent not only sap from getting on your car, but those “unwanted gifts” that birds leave! Make sure that you invest in a sturdy and quality car cover that is easy to use. 
  2. If you can, try not to park your car under trees. Will it require that you walk a bit further? Then you may have to make that sacrifice. And if you cannot avoid parking under trees, try solution number one, the car cover. 
  3. Every few months, wax, your car. Sure, we know that this will not keep tree sap off your car, it will slow down the etching process.



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