While camping in hot weather, pine tree sap dripped onto the windows and exterior of the parked car. The drops of tree sap are sticky, and verrrrrry slightly runny.

I guess it's easy to remove from the Windows using a blade meant for cleaning a glass stovetop, unless you have better ideas?

But obviously I won't use a blade on the car's paint. How can I remove the tree sap from the paint? Can I heat it with a hairdryer and wipe it off?

1 Answer 1


First of all, don't use a hairdryer as I believe this will actually make it harder to get the sap off of the vehicle or at the very least will ultimately cause finish damage. Here are a few things you should try to remove the sap safely when you first discover the sap:

  • Clean your car as soon as possible. The longer tree sap or any substances like bird droppings or insect remains are left on the surface of the vehicle, the more difficult they are to remove. For the least amount of effort and the most success at a sparkling car exterior, act fast to remove tree sap from your car.

  • Use products like Goo Gone Automotive Formula or Turtle Wax Bug and Tar Remover. Follow the instructions on the container. This is the most highly recommend way to remove the sap. The solution is formulated to dissolve sap the best without hurting your car's exterior. Place some of the remover on your rag, and hold the rag on the sap while gently applying pressure. The sap will soak up some of the remover. Using the rag, rub in a circular motion to lift the sap from the surface.

Goo Gone

  • Spray WD-40 on the tree sap. The sap will begin to absorb the solvent. Let it sit for a few minutes. You can use your rag to lift the loosened sap from the car. Something a lot of people do not know about WD-40 is it was originally designed as a cleaner for airplane exterior skin. It also has the added benefit of displacing water, thus the "WD" designation for "Water Displacement".

  • Finish with a regular car wash and wax. The car wash will help remove any residue left over from the sap or the cleaner used to remove it. Any solution that would deteriorate paint will be washed away. A new coating of wax is recommended to renew the protective coating on the vehicle.

(NOTE: I pulled this information from this website. I did not include several of the options they listed because I believe these procedures run a high risk of damaging the finish of your vehicle. I have used the processes listed here with good results.)

  • 1
    I actually used a light cutting compound to get mine off and in my case it did work perfectly and did not harm the car's clearcoat or other finish; however surely caution would be advised in using cutting compound. I never realized Goo-Gone was good for this, fantastic tip.
    – Fattie
    Commented Apr 1, 2018 at 16:44

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