Finally, time to vacation at Grandma and Grandpa’s lake house. My hubby, kids, and I look forward to this vacation at the end of every summer. Many family members uniting at the beautiful retreat that has been kept for generations. Toasting marshmallows on the campfire, hiking the trails, and all the food we can eat. But also, unfortunately, there will be…


I never really noticed this problem the previous summers; maybe it was where I parked our car before, but this year it was evident. Beautiful trees landscape the lake area, and of course, I parked beneath the gorgeous canopy of trees that enjoyed dripping on my semi-new car.

Tree Sap

I noticed the sticky sap drippings (some clear and some browner) all over the hood, windows, and roof of the car when we were packing up to leave. I was to going to ask what to do, but I didn’t want to come off as “thanks for inviting us to your beautiful lake house, but your trees destroyed my car’s exterior”. See what I mean? My next solution was to research something that I can do to remedy this without being costly, removing the paint, or kill the environment.

THERE MUST BE A SIMPLE SOLUTION! During my research, I read two sides to everything. Some of these solutions worked and some were horror stories. I decided to avoid anything that could have a harsher chemical that will damage the paint. I crossed out rubbing alcohol, WD-40, and Goo Gone off the bat. These products do have fine uses, but just not for me on this job. I only have one car to experiment on (mine), so I wanted as low of a risk as possible.

I read quite a few articles and blogs such as The Homemakers Journal on this problem. I even watched a video testing which recommended products that should work and jot down notes of the ending results.

The solution that works in removing the sap quickly was isopropyl (rubbing alcohol), however, I found out that HAND SANITIZER seems to work the best when it comes to not harming the environment as much. I even looked into “green” or eco-friendly sanitizers, and they do exist!

My Car Got Sapped


Cleaning gloves. This may not be 100% necessary, considering it is hand sanitizer you are working with, but better safe than sorry when it comes to overexposure of any cleaning product.

A microfiber cleaning cloth. They make special ones just for cars. They take the stress out of worrying about scratching the paint. A really soft sponge could be substituted, but I recommend (and most of the research did as well) a microfiber cloth.

A bucket for warm water. A hose is fine, but the warmer the water the better.

A towel. In case you want to pat dry the car after rinsing it down.

How to Clean Your Microfiber Towels after use 🙂


STEP #1 Rinse off your car with warm water. You can use soap if need be, but rinsing the car off with warm water will allow you to start with a cleaner palette. Allow to dry or use a towel to pat the exterior of the car until dry.

STEP #2 Put your gloves on and squirt enough sanitizer to cover a small area of the sap (about the size of a coffee cup coaster). Let the sanitizer sit on the sap for about 30 seconds.

STEP #3 Gently use the cloth with minor pressure to rub the stain away. It should clean off easily, but for the more sun-baked sap stains, you may need to apply it more than once.

STEP #4 Once the stains are removed, rinse your car with warm water, and allow it to dry, or pat dry with a towel.

SIDE NOTE: In case you get some of the sap on your skin while cleaning, you can use a small amount of vegetable oil on the affected area. Rub it on your skin like lotion, then rinse with soap and water. It should just rub right off.

THE SAP IS ZAPPED! It is a bit time consuming, but the results concerning the condition of your car’s exterior and the budget-friendly over all cost make it worthwhile. I hope this works as well for you as it did for me.

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