How to Get Sap Out of Clothes

Sap oozing out of tree

Knowing how to get sap out of your clothes is key outdoor knowledge. It’s sticky and hard to get rid of if you’ve never dealt with it before.

The good thing is that you can take care of it with products you likely already have in your house!

Here’s what you need to know:

What supplies you’ll need to remove sap

You won’t need all of these supplies because any of them will help break it down. Here are your options:

  • Rubbing alcohol (Hand sanitizer works too.)
  • Peanut butter
  • Normal laundry stain remover
  • Baby oil
  • Specialty cleaner

As you can see, you’ve got plenty of options to choose from. If you’re removing sap from your skin, I highly recommend using baby oil or hand sanitizer. They’re very gentle and won’t irritate it.

The only tools you’ll need are an old toothbrush or dull scraping tool like a credit card, and paper towels (or a washcloth.) I tend to prefer paper towels so I’m not just transferring the sap to something else that needs to be cleaned.

If you have delicate fabrics, I recommend using a less aggressive cleaning agent. It might not be as effective at breaking down the sap but will lessen the chance of staining. Specialty cleaners are a good choice here too if you’re not sure what you can use.

How to remove the sap step by step

  1. Remove as much sap as possible by grabbing it with your paper towel.
  2. Use the credit card to remove anything finer by gently pushing the edge along it.
  3. Soak the affected area in your cleaner of choice, and gently begin scrubbing it with your old toothbrush.
  4. After a few minutes, you can run warm water over it to flush the cleaner off and see how much sap is still there.
  5. If there is still too much sap, repeat the previous steps. If not, you’re ready to put it in the washer and be done! You can even put some detergent directly on the spot to spot treat it.

As you can see, the process is pretty straightforward and shouldn’t take longer than five or ten minutes. That being said, do be careful with what cleaner you choose as to not stain your clothing. Some materials are very sensitive to things like alcohol.

Also, avoid using any cleaners that have artificial colors as they can end up leaving stains of their own. You always want to clean fabrics in the recommended way as they all have different reactions. Cotton is a very different material from polyester, after all!

It’s also important to be gentle while you get rid of the sap. The sticky nature of it can make it tempting to try and yank it out, but doing so can end up damaging your clothing. It’s very possible to damage it more than the sap stain did, ask me how I know.

Washing machine

You’re a sap cleaning machine now

Tree sap is the nuisance of any clean up after a good time outdoors but is luckily very easy to deal with.

It’s really great how many household products can deal with it too, but if you don’t have any there are products made specifically for it.

Rubbing alcohol is a great solvent and my go-to choice for removing it. It breaks down the sap in about five minutes and makes it much easier to deal with. However, I’ve heard great things about the other options and have been fortunate enough to not need them.

The process itself isn’t bad and once you’ve done it once, you’ve learned all there is to it. It’s really a game of patience that sometimes requires another go to fully remove the sap. Additionally, as mentioned before: go slow. This not only will reduce the chances of damage to the clothing fibers, but also give the cleaner time to break down the sap.

As always, I appreciate you reading this article and would like to hear if you have any solutions that have worked for you in the comments!


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