Removing tree sap from a car's finish
is a problem that we deal with on a regular basis. We've found that by
hand-buffing the sap droplets with rubbing alcohol, we're able to remove
the sap pretty well because the alcohol acts as a solvent to break up and
For some cars, though, removing the sap can require a good
deal of work, especially when there is a large amount of sap, or when it's
obvious that the sap has been left on the finish for an extended period
of time. For these cases, we experimented to find a quicker, easier method
of sap removal. By hand buffing the sap-covered areas with a light-duty
compound, we remove the hardened "shell" on the sap droplets. Then we use
the rubbing alcohol. The light-duty compound helps to soften up the sap-covered
areas so that the rubbing alcohol can dissolve the droplets faster and
with less effort.
This method also allows the detailer
to apply less pressure on the droplets, so there's less change of scratching
the area. Once the sap has been completely removed, we buff the surface
again with light-duty compound to clean up any marks that might have been
made during the hand-rubbing stage.
The last step is to apply a coat of
wax with a protective glaze finish for a deep shine without any swirl marks. We then recommend
that the customer park their car in a different spot, away from trees that weep.
You can use the following things
to remove tree sap, in this order:
Bug and tar remover (carried at any
Kerosene and a rag (put kerosene on
rag, dab sap spot repeatedly)|
Gasoline and rag (same procedure as
kerosene) As soon as the sap is removed, wash the area with soap and water,
then wax it.|
Start with the bug and tar remover,
this is the mildest of the three.