Brilliant Ways on How to Get Tree Sap Out of Clothing

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Outdoor enthusiasts usually have one thing in common; at one time or another, they find gooey sap on their clothing that won’t come out in the wash.

So what takes tree sap out of clothes safely? The trick is using the right removal technique since laundry detergent is not capable of dissolving sap on its own.

Luckily, the best methods on how to get sap out of clothing are right here, including the supplies necessary and steps to follow.

Now you can continue enjoying the great outdoors without worry sap will ruin your clothes!

Materials Needed:

  • Spoon or butter knife
  • Rag
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Laundry detergent with enzymes
  • Peanut butter
  • Vegetable or olive oil
  • Nail polish remover
  • Hand sanitizer
  • WD-40


Effective Ways on How to Remove Tree Sap Out of Clothing

Brilliant Ways on How to Get Tree Sap Out of Clothing

How do you get pine sap out of clothes without damage?

People often wonder, “Will tree sap wash out of clothes just by laundering it normally?” and the answer is no.

Even with a super-strong detergent, the stickiness and discoloration from the tannin in the sap will remain in clothes without some pre-wash treatment to remove it.

Let’s look at the effective ways to get sap out of clothes and then focus in on more challenging issues such as dealing with dried sap, or sap stains already set in clothing.

How to Remove Pine Sap from Clothing

How to get sap out of clothing depends on the type of tree the sap originates. Some trees have a less sticky sap that is easier to remove.

There are different methods on how to get pine sap out of clothing, which is the worst offender for sheer stickiness.

No matter which method you follow on how to get sap off clothing you will use these following supplies:

  • Spoon or butter knife
  • Rag
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Laundry detergent with enzymes

If you don’t have any rubbing alcohol available, here are some other options:

  • Peanut butter
  • Vegetable or olive oil
  • Nail polish remover
  • Hand sanitizer
  • WD-40

You will also require access to a freezer and washing machine to complete the sap removal.

TIP: Always test the remover solvent on a hidden area of clothing to test for colorfastness.

Steps on how to remove pine sap from clothing that is still sticky

Brilliant Ways on How to Get Tree Sap Out of Clothing

Step 1: Place Sap-covered Item in Freezer

Place your item in the freezer for 15 minutes. Freezing still-tacky sap makes it harden, allowing you to remove a large portion without smearing it around.

If you don’t have freezer space for the garment, hold an ice cube over the sap until it hardens.

Step 2: Scrape

Take the edge of a butter knife or spoon and quickly, but gently, scrape off any hard sap.

You may need to place it back into the freezer between scrapings, as it only takes a few minutes for the sap to soften again.

Step 3: Apply Solvent

The trick on how to get sap out of clothes is the solvent. The remover solvent has the right chemical makeup to help dissolve or loosen the sap, making it lift from the fibers of your garment.

Fresh sap is also much more amenable to removal tactics. While rubbing alcohol is the go-to solvent choice most experts agree upon, using cooking oil, WD-40, or peanut butter also works well for raw sap.


Chemical-based solvents such as rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover bust up the sap, and the rag absorbs it.

Pour some solvent directly onto the sap and let sit for 30 seconds. Begin to rub over the area with the rag, moving to a clean section as discoloration pulls from the clothing fibers. Reapply more solvent to the cloth and keep rubbing at the sap until it fades away.


The oil-based solvents help separate and lift the sap from clothing fibers. How to get pine sap off clothes using this type of sap remover requires soaking or covering the sap and letting the garment sit for 15 minutes to allow the sap to loosen.

Follow up by rubbing the oily solvent into the sap stain with a rag. Work over the stain from both the inside and outside of the garment until the sap lifts.

Step 4: Launder

The critical step on how to remove pine sap from clothes is the laundering process. Try to pre-treat the garment and get it into the washer as soon as possible, before the sap has a chance to set.

Put the clothing into the washer and run it through the hottest wash and rinse cycle possible. Use a quality laundry detergent high in enzymes that will pull out any remaining sap stuck deep in the clothing fibers.

After the wash cycle, there should be no trace of the stain. But, check the garment for residual sap before putting it in the dryer. If you see any spots, repeat Step 3 and relaunder until the sap disappears before tossing into the dryer.

TIP: Never dry a garment that has visible sap stains. Doing so can set the stain and make it extremely challenging to remove later.

How do you remove dried sap from clothing?

Brilliant Ways on How to Get Tree Sap Out of Clothing

A common question is how to get dried sap out of clothes.

To remove tree sap from clothes where the sticky substance is now dry and rock hard is more difficult, but not impossible.

Step 1: Scrape Off the Sap

How to get sap out of jeans and other clothing starts by taking a butter knife or spoon and scraping off as much of the dry sap as possible from the garment. The dry sap should flake off the material, but use caution not to damage the clothing fibers.

Step 2: Apply the Remover Solvent

Under the dried sap, you will find a hard, dark stain where it penetrated the clothing fibers.

The most success for getting tree sap out of clothes is by using rubbing alcohol as a solvent. If you don’t have any available, use any of the alternative chemical-based solutions above.

Pass on the cooking oil or peanut butter, as it won’t penetrate the dry sap stain as well as the others.

The ideal method on how do you remove tree sap from clothing is to take a rag, dip it into the solvent, and dab it onto the sap stain. Give the solvent time to begin softening the residual sap.

Sap removal from clothes takes patience. Once the solvent soaks into the sap stain, reapply more to the rag and begin rubbing out the stain. The stain should become more flexible and start to lighten up.

Keep rubbing and reapplying solvent until there is no sap left. Add a final bit of solution onto the area to sit until the next step.

Step 3: Launder

Hopefully, the final step to removing sap from clothes is by running it through the washing machine and dryer.

Place your sap-stained garment in with other items that can handle the hottest wash cycle and run the washing machine using an enzyme detergent.

So, will sap come out of clothes? The answer will be evident when you pull the garment from the washer.

Do you see any faint remnants of stubborn sap? Dried sap may take another round of solvent and rubbing if a stain remains after washing. If the area is clean, go ahead and dry the garment as usual.

How to get sap out of clothes that went in the dryer

Frequently, people accidentally wash and dry items and wish for a way of removing pine sap from clothing that now appears to set a permanent stain.

How do you remove pine tree sap stains? To learn how to get tree sap out of clothes after drying, you will first need a dedicated enzyme-based stain remover found in most laundry sections of the grocery store and an old toothbrush.

Follow these instructions to deal with removing tree sap from clothes that have already been through the wash:

  • Wet the stain with a dab of water, then soak the area with the enzyme stain remover. Use a hairdryer to warm the clothing fibers and allow proper penetration of the remover, but don’t allow the fabric to dry out.
  • Making sure the stain stays wet with remover, let the garment sit for one hour.
  • Next, take the toothbrush and work more stain remover into the sap rubbing vigorously.
  • Rinse the stain under hot water. Repeat brushing in the stain remover as many times as necessary, but typically three or four cycles will flush out the remaining sap.
  • Launder afterward, washing with hot water, and dry as usual.

Final thoughts

How do I get sap out of clothes? Well, first, I try to avoid sticky pine trees! Second, I follow the tried-and-true methods above on how to get tree sap out of clothes.

The trick on how to remove sap from clothes effectively is to target each stain a bit differently depending on whether or not it’s fresh and not to put it in the dryer until it’s gone.

How do you remove tree sap from clothing? We would love to hear your tricks!