How to remove tree sap from your car

We explain how to safely get rid of sticky tree sap from your car’s paintwork


Parking under a tree is usually a bad idea, but sometimes you simply can’t avoid it. Trees let loose plenty of sap that gets stuck to paintwork and windows, plus you’ll have the risk of bird mess and other debris getting all over your car’s expensive paint.

Thankfully there are easy ways to remove tree sap from both paint and glass, and you don’t have to spend much to get the job done. There are plenty of spray-on cleaners that can help loosen the tree sap. Usually they work best if you wash the car before you spray on the solution, then let it soak in and remove it with a clean cloth.

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Tree sap remover spray or wipes

There are many bug, tar and sap removers on the market and one of these specialist cleaners is worth investing in, especially if you regularly have to remove these from your car. There’s also the option of a pack of wipes that you can use to immediately remove sap marks as soon as you spot them.

These wipes have the advantage of not leaving overspray marks on areas of trim you didn’t mean to get the remover solution on, such as plastic bumper trim or grilles. The wipes were not as effective as the spray-on solutions, though.

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We have tested a product specifically designed for getting tree sap off glass, although this is probably a little unnecessary. Normally, tar is easier to remove from glass with a wash and some glass cleaner, which you may already have.

The best method with all the sap removers is to be gentle with the cloth, as you might scratch the paint if you rub too hard. Work at the tree sap gradually until it’s all gone and, once you’ve cleaned it off, you could consider applying some good-quality car wax. This creates a layer between the paint and the sap, so it should be easier to remove in future.

Check out our guide on how to wash your car…

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