Living amongst trees is truly one of the greatest pleasures in life, but there are times when it’s inconvenient, not the least of which is when you step outside to see that your car has become covered in tree sap.
Tree sap is a particular chore to remove due to its thick, sticky texture which will stick to just about anything and harden. Removing it from your car can be even more of a chore since it’s easy to chip or otherwise damage the paint if you don’t take great care in what you’re doing.
Fortunately, this handy guide will walk you through the steps of getting tree sap off your car so that you can once again drive with a smile on your face and not worry about removing a tree from your parking spot.
1. Soap & Water
More often than not, all you need is some soap and hot water. Therefore, the first thing you ought to do is attempt to clean the sap off with soap and hot water. For this to be effective, you will need to clean your car as soon as you recognize sap on the car.
As with bird droppings and other forms of debris that land upon your car, sap can quickly harden and make cleaning more difficult. If gently cleaning with soap and water is not effective, you will have to use of alternate methods.
2. Clay Bar
One method – that you may be unfamiliar with, but has proven to be extremely effective – is the use of a clay bar. A clay bar, which can be purchased in any auto maintenance store, is exactly what its name implies: a large hunk of clay that can be used to remove contamination that a simple wash cannot get to.
To use the bar, first do an initial cleaning with soap and water, taking care to spray the largest chunks of sap off first (if at all possible). Afterwards, take a microfiber rag and remove whatever other bits of debris that you can. Be gentle as you do this, as you do not want to damage the paint on the car. Finally rinse the car again and pat it dry.
Now it’s time to use the clay bar. You will need to choose a clay lubricant, which you can also purchase from your auto supply shop. You can get a solution made from a combination of water and shampoo or you can get a quick detailer. Either one will work but it’s important to have one of them as they give your clay bar a slick surface to slide over. If you don’t use the clay lubricant, the clay will simply stick to the paint, leaving the car dirtier than it was before – something nobody wants. Once you’ve selected your clay lubricant, break a small piece of clay off the bar and flatten it.
The next thing you need to do is spray the clay lubricant all over the area you are cleaning; you can choose to do this only on the area the sap has stuck to or you can clean the entire car. Yes, even windows can be cleaned with the clay bar. In fact, most people recommend this approach since it will have your car looking better than ever before.
Now you can pass the clay over your working area; go left to right or up and down but don’t push downward too hard. This is a job that requires patience and may take multiple passes.
Every once in a while, you will want to reshape the clay to reveal a fresh surface that is free from sap and other dirt. You will know you have completed the job when the clay passes across the lubricant effortlessly, without grabbing any contaminants along the way. Finally wipe off the excess clay lubricant with a microfiber towel and you’re done!
However, if for whatever reason, you do not have easy access to a clay bar, there are other methods you can use as well.
3. Tree Sap Remover
A commercial tree sap remover can be purchased in an auto-parts store; these products, after all, are specifically designed to remove tree sap. Take care to read all of the instructions before using a product on your car. Most commercial removers are simply applied to a rag and used to wipe the affected area. After doing this, you can wash and wax the car once again for best results.
It is also possible to remove tree sap using household products. This can be done if you don’t have easy access to an auto supply shop to purchase a clay bar or commercial sap remover. As with the other methods, the first step is to gently clean your car with soap and water and pat it dry.
One product that is effective in removing tree sap from your car is WD-40, a lubricant and rust removal product that has a wide variety of uses. Spray it directly onto the tree sap and let it sit for a few minutes; this should loosen the sap and make it easy to remove with a wet microfiber rag. Other effective home products include hand sanitizer, which is utilized in a similar way to WD-40. Simply apply it to the sap and let it sit and loosen for a few minutes. Having done that, the sap should wipe off easily. Mineral spirits should have a similar effect when used to loosen tree sap.
As with all of the method’s we’ve mentioned, it’s best to wash and wax your car after removing the tree sap to have it looking its best.
If you find yourself continually needing to remove sap from your car and it’s eating up your time, then you may want to consider simply calling Vernon Imel Tree Services for a tree removal. Chances are, the tree outside your normal parking spot is causing the problem and that’s something we can remedy. While tree removal is easy and efficient, there’s always a chance we can simply trim the tree back to avoid sap dripping onto your vehicle. Simply call us today and we’ll see what we can do!