Two pine cones on a branch on a sky background
If you’re looking to safely remove sticky tree sap from the finish of your car, it’s ESSENTIAL to make sure you’re making smart choices that won’t further damage your paint. In other words, DOT NOT try nail polish remover. It can badly damage the finish.
The following tips have some caveats, so we highly recommend you read this article to the end. Don’t worry, it isn’t long.
Anyway, tree sap is mostly comprised of water and sugar. However, if you’ve ever used it to start a fire or as waterproofing, you know there must be something else in it, or water would dissolve it. Whatever it is, glass cleaners don’t work well.
It’s certainly not a bad idea to buy a product at an auto parts store designed to remove tree sap, but it may not be necessary. Here are three common household items you can use to remove tree sap that should not damage your car’s finish. That said, it is always wise to try them on an inconspicuous place just to be sure.
Best Results: Rubbing Alcohol
If you have any rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) around the house, this can be your go-to tree sap removal solvent. Use common alcohol, not some high-powered, 100-proof stuff. In fact, a diluted solution should work fine.
Put a bit on a paper towel and dab it on. Gently wipe the sap off. Any rough moves with any solvent can leave a mark, so take your time. Let the solvent do the job, not the paper towel and/or your elbow grease.
Second Choice: Hand Sanitizer (with a high concentration of alcohol)
Hand sanitizers range widely in ingredients, so this is definitely one to check on an inconspicuous surface before you try it on the center of your hood. The ethyl alcohol in hand sanitizer can dissolve tree sap. Use caution, but it should work.
Third Choice: Margarine or Vegetable Oil
One easy way to remove tree sap from your hands is vegetable oil. It can also work on cars. Of the three, this method is the least effective, so consider it a last resort if you are out of rubbing alcohol and high-alcohol hand sanitizer.
BEWARE: If your car has a coating or similar material on the finish from a hand-wax or a car wash, the wax or film WILL BE REMOVED with these methods. After removing the tree sap, you will need to reapply wax to restore the shine.
Source: Torque News