The majority of us strive to ensure that our cars are kept as clean as possible all the time and there is nothing more frustrating than finding endless drops of sap all over our windows and paintwork. Not only does this look messy and dirty, but it can also prove to be very tough to remove. Regardless of how the tree sap landed on your car, you should not ignore it as the longer it stays there the more difficult it can be to remove it, and over time the sap can also cause damage to your car's clear paintwork, which can lead to discoloring and staining.
So, how can you clean it off?
Here are several ways in which you can remove sap from your vehicle in an attempt to restore a clean and shiny surface:
1. Hand wash with soap and hot water
As stated above, the longer you leave tree sap or any other substance on your car, the more difficult it is to remove. Before you try more strenuous labour, you should start the process of removing the sap from your car by washing your car and as with all situations, you should try this as soon as possible after the sap has hit your car.
Begin by rinsing your car, as this will spray the sap as well as wash off any debris and will also help you to see where you may need to focus more of your cleaning efforts. You should then use a microfiber rag covered in hot, soapy water to give your car a good scrub until the sap has eventually weakened. If the hot water works and removes the sap, then this is great as you won't need to bring out any further products and you're all done. Just make sure that you rinse the surface of your car repeatedly as this will allow you to see if there is any sap still there. However, if this doesn't shift the sap, then it's ok because at least you now have a clean surface to try out other different methods.
Once you've rinsed your car and if the sap is gone, wax your car to ensure that the paint and clear coat is protected. On the other hand, if you tried all of this and you were unsuccessful in removing the sap, then why not try a different method.
2. Use commercial products
There a number of products out there that are designed to remove things such as tree sap from your car, which you can find in your local automotive shop. Commercial products are a great tool for removing tree sap, as products such as Turtle Wax Bug and Goof Off are formulated to be hard on tough stains while not damaging the paintwork.
Start by applying the remover of your choice onto a clean rag, before gently applying the rag to the sap with some pressure, allowing the remover to soak into the sap and breaking down the sap's connection with your car. You can then attempt to rub off the sap gently, using a circular motion until it's all disappeared.
If the remover has worked and there is no more sap on your car, finish off by giving your car a wash as this will help to remove any residue that may be leftover, followed by wax to add to the protective coating of your car and giving you a beautiful and shiny surface.
3. Home remedies
There are many household products out there that could help you to remove the sap, however, be sure to test them first on hidden paint areas of your car before applying large amounts.
One home remedy that you could try is alcohol. If you rub alcohol into a cloth and let it soak into the sap, this should break down the sap and remove it, but please do bear in mind that this could also potentially damage your car's surface. Be cautious and don't leave the alcohol on your car for a long period of time and make sure your wash with water and soap afterward.
The lubricant, WD-40 is another remedy that you could use to spray on the tree sap. Be generous with the amount of solvent that you spray on the tree sap and make sure you let it sit and absorb for a couple of minutes. Once sprayed, get your rag in there as this should lift the loose sap from your car, and again, once complete, give your car a wash with water and soap.
Hand sanitizer is also a well-known household product for removing sap. If you place a small amount of hand sanitizer onto the sap on your car and let it sit for a couple of minutes before rubbing, it should dissolve right off.
There are many other household products that you could use such as, cooking oil, a scrape, and even a razor blade (recommended as a last resort) that can help you to restore that shiny car you've always wanted.