How to Clean Sap off Your Car + Expert Advice

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Written By Brandi Marcene

Cleaning tree sap off of your car can be very challenging, especially if it is stuck on the car’s body for a long time. In the summertime, the temperature can get very hostile. During this time, parking under a pine tree for a long time is not the best idea. If you do that, you can expose your car to sticky pine sap droppings that glue to the body thanks to heat and sunlight—trying to clean sap off your car? Read further to find out.

Even hardwood trees tend to sweat and spit out tiny little droplets that are not visible to the naked eye. This liquid will eventually drop down, sit on the car and cause sap droplets to form. Once that happens, all the dust and debris will adhere to its sticky surface, causing black bulging patterns on the car that are difficult to remove.

If your car headlights have some extra dirt on, you can see our guide on how to clean your car headlights.

Products Required for Sap Stain Removal

You can find sprays that are specific for sap stain removal. However, that will not be everything you need. Overall, you can come across different options for sap stain removal, and each of them can either work or not work depending on the severity of the sap stain situation.

Below is a list of items and products you can use, along with reasons why they can be helpful.

  • WD40 – WD40 is a multipurpose car utility tool that you can use for a variety of purposes, including sap removal.  
  • Commercial Tree Sap Removal Spray – Many commercial cleaning sprays are manufactured especially for tree sap removal. Even though they are beneficial, simply using them alone cannot help you completely eradicate tree sap from your car.
  • Hot Water – Tree sap which accumulates on your car’s body will often harden up and collect on the surface. Therefore, softening the sap up by pouring hot water can be a suitable removal method.
  • Soap and Water – Soap is known to break down fat molecules, making them lose their cohesiveness towards a surface. This is why it helps clean out dirt marks, stains and even tree saps.
  • Brushes, Sponges, and Towel Cloths – Saps are sticky and can be stubborn when trying to scrub off. Therefore, you may require different types of brushes, sponges, cloths, and scrapers to remove them.

How to Clean Sap off of Your Car: Steps to Follow 

Getting rid of the tree sap from your car will only include a few steps. These are important to follow because they can allow you to treat the sap situation without destroying the paint jobs.  

Step 1 – Start with a Detailed Car Wash  

A simple car wash will sometimes work like magic when dealing with tree sap droppings on your car. If your sap situation is not very difficult, simply washing the car with soap and water might be enough. However, if you find that the sap stays persistent despite the car wash, then you will have to move on to the next steps.  

Step 2 – Apply Products to Soak the Sap  

After washing the car thoroughly and getting all the dust and debris particles out of the way, you can start applying products to sap accumulation to treat them separately. With your preferred product choice, you will also need a washcloth, towel, or a brush to scrub them out.

When applying a commercial sap removal spray, apply the spray on the cloth and use it to rub out the sticky material. According to the instructions, it is best that you first place the cloth on the area for 30 seconds before you can start scrubbing it off.  

For removing the sap from the windshield, you may have to resort to products such as rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, and a box cutter blade. Make sure to apply the liquid compounds to the sticky residue for a couple of minutes so they can soak in before you can start rubbing the infestation.

Step 3 – Re-wash and Wax  

Once you have removed the tree sap clusters on the car using products, you will notice that some remains are still loosely stuck on the body. To get rid of them, you will have to go for a second wash to finish the job. Make sure you top it off by applying wax to the car for a shiny look and added protection.

Final Words

When trying to figure out how to get sap off the car, if all of these steps do not work, you may need to use boiling hot water, WD40, and other remedies such as baking powder and soda mixture.

Hopefully, you’re now aware of the best practices needed when trying to clean sap off your car.

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