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Q: How can I remove pine tree sap from my car? ( Answered,   3 Comments )
Subject: How can I remove pine tree sap from my car?
Category: Science > Chemistry
Asked by: jose47-ga
List Price: $3.00
Posted: 23 Apr 2004 08:55 PDT
Expires: 23 May 2004 08:55 PDT
Question ID: 334893
How can I remove pine tree sap from my car?  The car was parked under
trees for months.  The deposits are solid.  Soap and water, hand
cleaner, mineral spirits, barbecue starter fluid, and rubbing alcohol
do not help.
Thank you for any ideas or suggestions.
Subject: Re: How can I remove pine tree sap from my car?
Answered By: tlspiegel-ga on 23 Apr 2004 13:15 PDT
Hi jose47,

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Parking under large trees often results in a peppering of sticky
substance coating the car. Most people assume this is tree sap, but
the culprit is far more likely to be insect honeydew, excreted by
aphids or -- in some cases -- scale insects, infesting the leaves and

Composed of sugars and other waste products that pass through the
insects' bodies undigested, honeydew becomes harder to remove the
longer it's left on the car. However, if you remove the honeydew and
park under the tree again, you'll just end up with more sticky stuff
drizzling down on your vehicle.


Question: How can I remove tree sap from my car's exterior? 

Answer: Remove pine tree pitch with a wax and grease-removing product.
Such products are available at auto supply stores.

Be sure to wash and dry the car before applying the wax and grease
remover. Then dampen a clean cloth with the solvent and rub the
affected area. It may require several attempts if the sap is very
thick or extremely hard. The surface may appear hazy after the solvent
evaporates, but a good wax application will eliminate the haze and
complete the job.

Or, you can try rubbing alcohol, WD-40 lubricant or Skin-So-Soft bath
oil. The way to use those materials is to let them do their work of
dissolving (in the case of alcohol) or softening (in the case of
oils), enough to rub off the remaining sap. If you use the oil, wash
the car afterwards to remove it.

How do I remove tree sap from my car or clothing?  
Pine pitch can easily be removed from almost anything by using a
water-soluble paint brush cleaner. The best thing, which is also
harmless to skin, paint and hair, is bacon grease or lard. Just rub it
on, and off comes the sap. To get pine sap off of your hands, simply
rub mayonaise on them. Then wash it off. It works great. To remove
pine tar or almost anything, apply lighter fluid, gasoline or WD-40 to
the stain. Plain old rubbing alchohol also works great.

Avon Skin So Soft (oil) removes it just like that. It also will take
the sap off cars and windows.

How to clean... Tree sap from automotive finish

How can I safely clean off some tree sap that is on my car's exterior?
It has been on there for a while and seems to be stuck like glue. It
must have fallen on my car when I was parked under some pine trees
last autumn.

Tree Sap

Removing tree sap from a car's finish is a bit more difficult than
tar, as hardened sap can scratch your paint. I've found that by
hand-rubbing the sap spots with mineral spirits or denatured alcohol,
I'm able to easily remove the sap without damaging the finish. Mineral
spirits and denatured alcohol acts as a solvent to break up and
dissolve the sap.

If there is a large amount of sap on the car, or if the sap has been
left on the finish for an extended period of time, it can be a lot of
work to remove. For these cases, I discovered that hitting the
affected areas with a light-duty buffing compound removes the hardened
surface on the sap spots. Then I can hit the sap with the mineral
spirits to remove it. The light duty buffing compound softens the sap
so the mineral spirits or denatured alcohol can do its job. The goal
is to use the least pressure possible to reduce the risk of scratching
the paint. After removing heavy sap, I always buff the treated areas
with a good polish to clean up any marks created during hand-rubbing
with solvent. The treated area must also be re-waxed.

We have also had good success using orange based solvents and
children's plasticine (molding clay). Apply a bit of the solvent and
rub with the clay - it is abrasive enough to scrub off the sap which
has been broken down by the solvent.

All of the chemicals used to remove the aforementioned road stains
also remove your wax or sealants. After removing tar, sap or bugs,
plan to spot wax or re-wax your vehicle. If you don't have time to wax
right away, use a quick detailing spray that contains wax. Eagle One's
Wet Spray Wax, a quick spray wax, is great for this kind of spot
waxing, too.

Information provided by 


The -Pine sap problems,209&sid=209&article=1503

Q - I need advice on what I can use that will safely remove pine tree
sap from my finish. If you could provide a quick response, I would
appreciate it.

A - Although I had an in-depth discussion of sap removal about a year
ago, new readers may have missed it. To recap, most "tree sap" specs
are actually insect droppings. Ants even cultivate the creatures in
order to eat the sweet secretions. (If this makes you queasy, think
about honey.) The consensus from our learned readers is that cold
water is best for removing this stuff.

But, if your car has actual pine sap on it, most automotive tar and
bug removers will soften it. Mineral spirits or charcoal lighter fluid
may also work. Just do not let any solvent stay in contact with the
paint too long. Wash the area thoroughly afterwards. Be forewarned
that the solvents will also remove the wax.


Many suggestions provided at Tree Sap on our car finish....Help! 

I have pine tree sap all over my car, what is the easiest way to get this off. 

John Paul
jim, pine sap is tough, try mineral spirits if that doesn't work very
light rubbing compound. waxing will be necessary after you get the sap
off. if you value the paint have a reconditioner look at it

Keyword search:

remove old pine tree sap from car exterior
pine tree sap remove from car
pine tree sap removal from car finish
old pine tree sap on car

Best regards,
Subject: Re: How can I remove pine tree sap from my car?
From: cmiller-ga on 23 Apr 2004 10:59 PDT

:I have tree sap on my SUV, it has been on since spring. I am not sure
of what kind of tree. It is a clear and hard. Thanks. :)
A:It's pine tree sap, pick it off with your nail or a razor blade ( be
careful with the blade). It ay have stained the paint try a little
nail polish remover to remove the last of it. Don't rub away the


Goo Gone.

searched remove "pine tree sap"
Subject: Re: How can I remove pine tree sap from my car?
From: boodah-ga on 26 Apr 2004 09:31 PDT
I found this imformative even if not that helpful. It must be from a
chemist or something.
Subject: Re: How can I remove pine tree sap from my car?
From: joshinfo-ga on 04 May 2004 18:03 PDT
Here's a good summary on one page of How to Remove Tree Sap from your Car

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