How to Remove Tree Sap From a Car

When you park your car under a large tree, you might come back to find a spattering of a sticky substance coating the car. Most people refer to this as tree sap, but it's far more likely to be insect honeydew, excreted by aphids in the leaves and branches of the tree. It's composed of sugars and other waste products that pass through the insects' bodies undigested [source: Browh]. What we will, nonetheless, call tree sap, as most people do, is very difficult to remove from the car, and doesn't respond well to a normal soap solution. If you leave it alone it will turn black and be even harder to remove. Here are some things you can use to remove tree sap from your car.

  • Nail polish remover Pour some nail polish remover onto a cotton ball and wipe it on the sap. The sap should come right off. After it's removed, wash away any residue with a paste of baking soda and water.
  • Mineral spirit Dampen a soft cloth with mineral spirit (turpentine). Rub the cloth on the sap, and the sap should come off. After it's removed, wash the area with water.
  • Lighter fluid/rubbing alcohol/bacon grease/WD-40 Place any one of these on the sap and leave it there for a while. It will get to work dissolving the tree sap. When you notice the dissolution, rub off the remaining sap [source: Browh, WD-40].
  • Commercial car cleaning product Try cleaning the area with a commercial car cleaning product [source: Heloise]. These products are available in automotive supply shops.
  • Tar remover Try applying a bug and tar remover [source: Allen].
  • Buffing Removing tree sap can leave the spot dull, so you may want to polish the area with car wax and bring back its original luster. //]]]]> ]]>