How To Get Sap Off Car

How To Get Sap Off Your Car: Sticky Situations Safetys First

Last Updated on July 5, 2023 by Chase Manhattan

We all know by now that the key to maintaining the paint job on a car requires regularly washing the car. Even small dirt particles can in time damage the paint. One of the hardest things to get rid of is tree sap. How to get tree sap off car?

  1. Wash the car to prep the surface.
  2. Apply a tar remover to areas with sap.
  3. Wipe with a clean microfiber cloth.
  4. Claybar your car. 
  5. Clean windows with isopropyl alcohol.
  6. Wash and rinse the car again.

Tree sap is very sticky and can impair vision while driving. More importantly, tree sap can damage the car’s paint. If the paint job is damaged from the sap it will get rust spots and rust spreading.

Some car owners damage the paint while cleaning the sap off the car. There is a specific cleaning method for tree sap on cars. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get sap off car.

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How To Remove Tree Sap From Car

How To Remove Tree Sap From Car

Gather Cleaning Equipment

Start by getting all of the needed equipment. I highly recommend getting everything you need. Don’t do this with improvised cleaning equipment. There’s a high chance you will damage the paint. If you don’t have everything you need, just take your car to a professional car wash.

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To clean sap off a car you will need the regular supplies for washing a car. This includes car wash soap, clean microfiber cloths, applicator pads, two water buckets, and a garden hose or a pressure washer to rinse with. Additionally, you will need a tar remover and clay bars for removing the tree sap.

Once you have all of this ready you can start cleaning your car. Also, make sure you have a nice spacious working area.

Wash The Car

Wash The Car

Most car owners skip this part and that’s a big mistake. When getting rid of tree sap, bird droppings, leaf stains, you need to wash the car beforehand. Why wash the car if you are going to be washing it after again?

Well, to remove tree sap, you need a nice clean surface. The thing is, using tar removers and similar products is best done on a clean surface. Abrasive particles will get into the cloth when wiping, and you will damage the paint job.

The tar remover will not be as effective because there are dirt particles that block it from loosening up the sap. Give your car a proper wash and let it dry before doing anything else.

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Apply Tar Remover To Areas With Tree Sap

Now, you are going to be dealing with the tree sap. As you can see by your car tree sap is very sticky. Even the wipers can’t clean it off the windshield. You will need something strong to loosen up the tree sap. Remember, you need to use a safe product that will not damage the paint.

Apply the tar remover spray on affected areas. Don’t apply to areas that don’t have any tree sap. Let the tar remover sit for a while to loosen up the sap. Read the instructions on the product for how long to wait.

Don’t try to get rid of the tree sap by scrubbing with a cloth. Tree sap is abrasive and you will cause some scratches without a tar remover.

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Wipe With A Clean Microfiber Cloth

Wipe With A Clean Microfiber Cloth

When you see the tree sap loosening up, wipe it away with a clean microfiber cloth. One swipe quick motions are most effective here. Make sure that you wipe with a clean part of the cloth. Use as many cloths as you need to. If you wipe with a dirty cloth, you will just leave residue on already clean parts of the car.

Most of the time, tree sap sticks to the roof, the hood, and the windshield. While the windshield and the roof are reachable, the roof can be a bit hard to clean. Also, in bad situations, the entire roof and hood are covered in tree sap.

In cases like this, using a single microfiber cloth and your hand for wiping can take some time. I suggest using a microfiber broom to be more effective. Maybe a broom that can change cloths will be more effective. Just make sure not to clean with a dirty cloth.

Clean The Windows Off Sap

The common areas affected by tree sap are the windshield and the windows. Although the glass can’t be damaged from the tree sap, it’s very blurry and impairs vision. Don’t worry though, the windshield is relatively easy to clean.

You don’t have to buy any car cleaning products here. You can clean the windows using items that most households have. Isopropyl alcohol and vinegar can be used to clean the windshield and windows. 

To clean car windows off sap you will need isopropyl alcohol or vinegar, a spray bottle, and clean microfiber cloths. It’s preferable to put the cleaning solution in a spray bottle. The acid both from the alcohol and the vinegar can ruin the paint.

Apply the alcohol and wipe in a circular motion with the microfiber cloth. Clean the wipers as well. Finish up by applying a window cleaner for a shiny surface. 

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Wash The Car Again

Chances are, there will be some leftover residue from the tree sap when you are done with the tar remover. It may not be noticeable but just to be sure, wash your car again. Basically, repeat step one of this guide.

Optional: Quick Detail Your Car

Now, if you are scared about some damage to your paint that’s not visible, you can do some quick detailing on your car. The easiest thing you can do at home is clay bar your car. This is completely optional though. If you had small amounts of tree sap on your car and you removed it quickly, no need to do this.

Here is a quick video guide on how to clay bar your car.

Related Questions And Other FAQs

Does Sap Ruin Car Paint

Yes, tree sap can damage car paint. It detaches the paint from the body and opens it up to rust. A paint job damaged from tree sap eventually gets rust spots and rust spreading.

Can A Car Wash Remove Tree Sap

Some car wash places remove tree sap, others don’t. A drive-thru car wash and the standard service car wash won’t remove tree sap. A special service where the car wash uses tar remover can remove tree sap from a car.

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