How to Get Sap off Car: Dried & wet, Pine & other trees

You would agree as a car owner that sap has a way of sticking to the exterior of a car especially if it’s the sap of a pine or maple tree. They make the car look dirty and can blur vision if on the windshield. When smeared, sap appears like your car was scratched by a brash object, more reason why you should know how to get sap off a car.

Unfortunately, tree sap can prove problematic to remove, and may cost you a reasonable sum of money to remove.

In this article, we’ll cover the diverse proficient techniques you can utilize to eliminate sap from your vehicle. You’ll also learn the best cleaning products to use, and you have your most pressing questions about saps answered.

How to Get Tree Sap Off Car

When you drive into a new area, you may want to park your car under a shade, and the easiest shade to find is a tree. Parking your car under a tree is easy and fast, but it has its drawbacks. Upon your return, you may find a muggy stain on your vehicle which is called tree sap.

Tree saps are, by their nature, very difficult to remove from your car, and if you do not properly follow the process of cleaning it off, you may end up with tree sap car paint damage. As much as you want to quickly get the sap off your car, it’s important you follow expert advice on how to go about it, so you don’t end up blurring your car paint or even peeling it off. The expert advice you need is provided below:

  • When you get to where your car is parked, and you see that annoying sap on your car bonnet, sides, or windows, the first thing you want to do is check if the sap is dried. If you’re lucky and the sap still seems wet, you can quickly wash it off with water and soap. However, as in most cases, if the sap is already dried, you’ll want to move on to the next step.
  • Branch into a local store and get a specialty sap remover. Though there are homemade products such as nail polish and hand sanitizer that can do a good job, a tailor-made tar and sap remover for cars is a much safer and better choice.
  • Apply the sap remover moderately on the affected surface and leave it till the sap dissolves.
  • Next, use a clean towel to clean the solution. Then, rinse with clean water.

How to get Sap off Car

Learn more and shop Tree Sap Remover for Car

How To Get Pine Sap off Car

If you’re not very lucky and it’s pine sap that’s stuck on your car, then you have a greater job to do. Pine tree saps are saps coming from pine trees, and they are much more difficult to remove than other tree saps. Therefore, if you go about it wrongly, you may be left with seriously damaged paint.

But, wait a minute, how do you know if what’s on your car is pine sap or ordinary tree sap? The truth is – you can’t really know. On appearance, they look very similar, and you’ll only get to know which it is when you start trying to remove it. If the sap seems a lot stickier and harder, then it’s pine sap.

On how to remove this hardened tree sap from your car, you’ll have to get a specialty sap removal. The only difference from how you remove an ordinary tree sap is that you may have to apply more sap removal on the affected surface. This is because pine tree saps are stickier, and you need more of the solution to dissolve them.

After the pine sap dissolves, use a microfiber towel to clean off the residue. When done, wash the area with clean water – preferably warm.

However, given that a pine sap could prove challenging to remove, you could explore the option of using a tree sap removal car detailing clay bar. Clay bars or Clay mitts are known to easily remove stains from your car without scratching your car paint. To use a clay bar, follow these steps:

  • Wash your car thoroughly
  • Soak the clay bar in soapy water and rub gently on the affected surface.
  • Rub until pine sap comes off.
  • Rinse the area with clean water

Note: When using a clay bar, you mustn’t rub too hard so as to protect the finish of your car paint. For a practical view, you can watch this video on YouTube on how to remove pine sap from the car.

How Do You Remove Tree Sap from Car Without Damaging the Paint?

It doesn’t matter how annoying a sap looks on your car, you don’t want to be rash in trying to remove it because you may end up damaging your car paint. So, to avoid that, here are some of the best methods you can employ in safely cleaning sap off your car:

Tar and Sap Remover

If you can get your hands on a quality sap remover, then you’re good to go. It’s the safest, most effective, and most efficient way to remove sap from your car without damaging your car paint. And, of note, whichever sap remover you buy, you should carefully read through the instructions on how to use it. Typically, here are the steps you’ll have to follow:

  • After you’re done washing and drying off your car, get a clean microfiber cloth and apply on it a small quantity of the remover.
  • Place the cloth on the affected area for at least one minute, then in a circular motion, rub the sap gently until it melts.
  • Rinse the area with clean water.
  • Dry and polish your car with a little car wax.

Rubbing Alcohol

Another option you can explore when removing sap from your car is using alcohol or an alcohol-based product (nail polish remover, hand sanitizer, mineral spirit, alcohol wipes, etc.). Alcohol is very effective, and with the right quantity and right approach, you are on your way to cleaning sap off your and keeping your paint intact. On how to remove sap from car rubbing alcohol, follow these steps:

  • Wash and dry your car
  • Apply a little quantity of the alcohol product on a microfiber cloth.
  • Place the material on the smudge and leave for some minutes.
  • When the sap dissolves, rub it off gently and rinse the area thoroughly.


WD-40 is also a very good choice to remove sap from your car. It contains alcohol and other powerful chemicals that clean off stains easily. However, it would help if you were careful of the quantity of WD-40 you use because too much will damage your car paint. On how to remove sap from a car with WD-40, follow these steps:

  • Wash and dry your car
  • Apply a moderate quantity of WD-40 on the affected area and leave to sit for a few minutes.
  • When the sap dissolves, clean off the residue and rinse your car.

How to Get Dried Sap Off a Car

When saps are fresh, they are easy to clean off. But when they get sticky dry, they become harder to clean. And apart from the difficulty of washing off dried saps, they can be very damaging to your car paint because the longer sap stays on your car, the more they penetrate through your polish.

Now, you must be wondering – “how do I get dried, baked-on tree sap off my car?”  Here are a few steps to do that:

  • Start by washing your car carefully. Park your car in your wash space and fill up a bucket with clean water. Mix soap or other car-cleaning products with the water and soak in your mitt. Then wash with mitt carefully. When done, rinse off your car and dry it up.
  • Next, you need to prepare your tree sap remover solution. Suppose you’re interested in how to get sap off car home remedy In that case, you can use alcohol-based home equipment such as nail polish remover, hand sanitizer, mineral spirits, and isopropyl alcohol (91%). However, we recommend you use a sap removal tailor-made to remove dried sap from cars. You can get such tree sap remover at Walmart or any local store near you.
  • Spread your tree sap remover solution across the affected areas. Wait long enough for it to dissolve. When it dissolves, clean it off with a microfiber cloth.
  • Lastly, rinse your car thoroughly.

Furthermore, when saps fall, they could fall anywhere on your car. Meaning you could have some on your windows and windshield. And having dried saps on your windshield could greatly impede your vision as you drive, which is very dangerous. To avoid this danger, you should pay attention to the following tips on how to remove tree sap from car windshield and how to get tree sap off car window:

  • Carefully wash your car with soap.
  • Add sap remover (or rubbing alcohol) on a microfiber towel.
  • Place the towel on the target position on your vehicle and leave for some minute
  • Rub the region until the sap is no more. If the sap is truly hard to eliminate, you can utilize a sharp edge to scratch the sap off the windshield delicately.
  • Wash the windows utilizing a verified glass cleaner. You may also use a family item like Windex as long as it is free of ammonia.

How Do You Keep Tree Saps Off Your Car

The saying, “Prevention is better than cure,” is no less true when it comes to sap on your cars. Staying clear of saps is easier than going through the labor of removing them from your car, so here are a few tricks on how to prevent sap from your car.

Avoid Parking Under Trees

This is your no.1 prevention tip for keeping your car safe from saps. As easy and stress-free as it may seem to park under a tree, you should avoid it if you don’t want saps on your car. Some trees produce more sap than others, and it would help if you could identify the trees you should stay completely away from. Here’s what those trees look like:

  • Trunk with many holes
  • Dead bark
  • Broken or decayed branches

When you see trees with the above characteristics, please don’t park your car beneath them. Also, some trees are so large that their broken branches are not obvious, which may deceive you into thinking they’re good. Be wary of them.

Apply Wax Regularly

Regularly, ensure your car is layered with fresh wax, as it protects your car paint from being disrupted by external elements. Without the wax, you make it easy for saps to penetrate the clear coat to damage your paint.

When you apply a fresh coat of wax, it can be effective for a couple of months, especially if you use a very good wax product. The best tip is to apply wax every time you take your car through a thorough washing.

Use a Cover

A car cover could save you from a lot of trouble. It is one of the best ways to keep sap off your car bonnet, top, sides, and windows. When you have your car properly covered, you won’t have to think about washing sap off your car, but about washing sap off your cover.

Most car covers are small enough to comfortably sit in a small space in your car boot until needed, making it all comfortable for you. Also, you won’t only be protecting your car from so, but also from any other element. Ensure you get a cover that suites your car model, so that it covers the car completely, removing any threat of saps, tars, or bugs.

Keep Your Cleaning Equipment close by

We mentioned earlier that the best time to clean off sap is as soon as it appears. Keeping the necessary equipment in your car will help you take advantage of this as quickly as possible. Remember, the sooner you clean off the sap, the easier it will be. The longer it takes, the harder it gets.

So, keep a tree-sap cleaning kit in your car every time. Your kit should include a specialty sap remover, a microfiber towel, a clean mitt or sponge, and a bottle of water.


Can rubbing alcohol damage car paint?

Rubbing Alcohol is one of the best cleaning products to remove all sorts of stains from your car without damaging the paint. However, if you use it improperly, you could risk blurring or damaging your car paint. Diluting rubbing alcohol between 10-15% will keep you in safe hands. Anything above that could leave negative effects on your car paint.

Rubbing Alcohol easily evaporates, so it naturally doesn’t pose a threat to your car paint. If you adhere strictly to the above precautions, then you should have no problem using rubbing alcohol on your car. Furthermore, you could use rubbing alcohol to remove sealant or worn-out wax from your car without damaging the car paint, unlike many other cleaning products.

Does pine sap damage car paint?

Pine Saps are saps from pine trees that could prove to be very damaging to your car paint if not addressed quickly. Unlike other trees, the saps from pine trees are very sticky and muggy and they require more effort to remove.

To save your car paint from pine sap damage, you should get a specialty sap remover to remove the sap immediately. Apply the remover on a microfiber cloth and lay on the pine sap till it dissolves. If the sap proves stubborn, apply more of the sap remover till it dissolves. When the sap melts, rub it off gently and rinse your car thoroughly.

What is the best tree sap remover for cars?

One of the best sap removers available in the market is the Turtle Wax Bug and Tar Remover. It is very efficient and easy to use. You only need to place a small quantity on the affected area and you watch this sap remover dissolve the sap in only a few seconds. Also, it is big enough to use for a very long time, making it a durable and reliable choice.

Furthermore, there are other sap removers such as the Stoner Car Care Terminator that are very good. However, if you don’t want to use a sap remover, you can explore other alcohol-based home products such as nail polish remover, hand sanitizer, WD-40, mineral spirits, and isopropyl alcohol.

What dissolves tree sap?

A good sap remover, when applied on a microfiber cloth and placed on the affected area, will dissolve tree sap in a few seconds. You can also dissolve tree sap by spreading an alcohol-based product on the affected surface. Some of the alcohol products you can use include WD-40, nail polish remover, hand sanitizer, isopropyl alcohol, and mineral spirits.

However, when using a product other than a specialty sap remover, you should be very careful as too much solution applied could damage your car paint.

Does WD-40 remove tree sap?

Yes! WD-40 easily removes tree saps when you apply them the right way. To use WD-40 to remove tree saps from your car, follow these steps:

  • Wash and dry your car
  • Apply a moderate quantity of WD-40 on the affected area and leave to sit for a few minutes.
  • When the sap dissolves, clean off the residue and rinse your car.

Of note, you should be very careful when using WD-40 on your car. It is a very powerful chemical that could damage your car paint if used inappropriately. Strictly follow the steps above and you’ll have no problems.

Will Goo Gone remove sap from a car?

Goo Gone automotive spray gel is specially made to remove difficult car stains from the car interior and exterior. So, the answer is a big yes! When sap stains your car, you can get goo gone from a local or online store and follow the steps below to clean the sap off:

  • Wash your car thoroughly. Then, dry it.
  • Apply the goo-gone automotive spray gel on a microfiber cloth and let it sit on the affected area for a few seconds for the sap to dissolve.
  • When the sap dissolves, rub it off gently using the towel.
  • Wash the area with soap and water.

Of note, it is important you way the area with soap and water when you’re done so as to remove any residue of the product left on the car. If you don’t do this, you may risk damaging your car paint.

Does Dawn dish soap remove sap from cars?

Dawn dish soap removes sap from cars but only when it’s fresh. When the sap gets dried and stuck on the car, Dawn dish soap may not be very effective. So, if you see a sap on your car, and you notice it’s still fresh, you can grab a Dawn dish soap to clean off the sap following these steps:

  • Wash and dry your car
  • Spray the dish soap on the affected area.
  • Use a microfiber cloth to rub off the solution
  • Wash the area again.

Final Words

Tree sap can sometimes prove difficult to remove from your car, but the techniques, tips, and solutions we’ve explained in this article should make it easier for you to wash off this substance from your car.

These solutions are also the safest – you will be able to protect the beauty of your car paint when you employ these techniques. We hope that now you have your answer to the question of how to get sap off car.

From using simple household products to heavy-duty commercial products, you can attack these stains in a dozen different ways, depending on how stubborn the sap seems to be in your situation. If you don’t have the time to clean off the sap yourself, you can also find car experts who would gladly help you with it.


Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts