How to get tree sap off of clothes

How to Remove Tree Sap from Clothes and Fabric


Yes, your favorite quarter-zip or puffer coat can still be saved!

by: Morgan Goldberg

December  4, 2021

Photo by Bobbi Lin

If you like to camp, hike, or bring home a Christmas tree during the December season, then you know the sinking, pit-in-your-stomach feeling of realizing you’ve sat in or leaned against sap. At first, it might not register. There are a lot of sticky elements in the great outdoors and not all of them are as lethal to your favorite quarter-zip fleece as sap often is. Though once you’ve become conscious of the fact that you’ve managed to get sugary tree excrement on your beloved leggings, the heart-wrenching sensation is unmatched.

But what if we told you that you’d never have to experience that pain again? That you’d never have to discard another contaminated puffer jacket? Well, that is, in fact, what we’re here to say. We’ve scoured the internet for every sap-eliminating tip and trick in the book, so you have multiple methods at your disposal the next time your garments come in contact with this dreaded natural adhesive. From expected remedies like stain remover to avant-garde options like peanut butter, here is how to get tree sap out of your clothes.

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No matter which of the following processes you try, the first step should always be scraping away the still-tacky excess goo using a spoon or dull knife. This will give your chosen treatment the best chance of success. Then, test for colorfastness using your selected technique by applying a drop to a hidden part of the fabric, rinsing, and blot drying. If color change doesn’t occur, proceed as planned. If color change occurs, pick another removal method.

Freezing is the least invasive option, so it’s always worth a shot. If it fits, place the entire item in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Otherwise, rest a bag of ice on the stain for the same amount of time. Once the sap is sufficiently frozen, break it off with your hands and scrape the rest away using your spoon or dull knife. In some cases, this is all you need to do before throwing it in the washing machine.

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An obvious route, laundry stain remover does exactly what it’s designed to do — even when the stain is gooey sap. Pour your go-to liquid directly onto the sap and use a rag or old toothbrush to work it into the fabric. Let it continue to soak for about five minutes and then wash it with your regular detergent in the hottest cycle the garment’s care label allows. This process should yield a stain-free item.

Rubbing alcohol—or hand sanitizer, if you’re on the go—tends to break down sap quite reliably. Use a rag or old toothbrush to work it into the fabric, then let it soak for about 15 minutes. Follow up with your regular detergent and the hottest wash cycle the garment’s care label recommends. If all goes well, your garment will emerge sap-free.

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If you don’t have access to ice, stain remover, or rubbing alcohol, consider peanut butter or cooking oil as your last resort. While these household substances also have the power to disintegrate sap, they may leave oily stains of their own behind in its place, which you’d have to subsequently attempt to remove. An internal monologue about the lesser of two evils is bound to ensue.

Don’t get discouraged! You might need to repeat your treatment two or three times—or combine multiple methods from this list—to fully remove the stain, so be patient and NEVER put the garment in the hot dryer between attempts. The heat could set any residual stain that would otherwise come out with another try, rendering it impossible to remove.

Did we miss any ways to remove tree sap? Tell us your tricks below!


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How to Get Tree Sap Out of Clothing

Getting Tree Sap Out of Clothing

Whether you rescued the neighborhood cat from a tree, went on a refreshing forest hike, or just leaned against a pine tree while gazing at the clear blue sky, the result is the same: You’ve got sticky tree sap all over your clothes. It’s one of the most problematic outdoor stains precisely because of its gluey nature. As soon as tree sap makes its way onto your jacket, pants, or shoes, it turns them into a true dirt magnet, forming a thick layer that is really hard to get rid of, binding more and more grime to your garments. The only way to stop this is by dealing with the sap stain sooner, rather than later.

Regardless if it’s a white shirt or your blue jeans you want to get the tree sap out of, you can follow the same tried-and-true steps: You start by removing excess tree sap from your garments, you pre-treat the stain with some liquid laundry detergent, add the detergent and the clothes to your washing machine, press start, and at the end of the cycle, unload your garments.

Now, let’s unpack the complete stain removal process and see how you can get pine pitch out of clothing in five simple steps:

Step 1

Remove Excess Tree Sap from Fabric.

Grab your spoon or dull knife and gently scrape off the excess sap. Once that’s done, you can test for colorfastness by applying alcohol or hand sanitizer to an inside seam. After one to three minutes, dab with a towel. If no color comes off, the item is colorfast. If the item is colorfast, add rubbing alcohol or clear, alcohol-based hand sanitizer to the spot, then blot with a paper towel.

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Step 2

Pre-treat the Stain.

Pre-treat the tree sap stain with Tide Ultra Stain Release Liquid by pouring directly onto the stain. Rub the fabric together gently or use a soft-bristled toothbrush to work the detergent into the fabric. Let the detergent sit for five minutes.

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Step 3

Dose Detergent.

Use the cap to ensure you use the right amount of detergent, and pour it into the detergent dispenser if you have an HE machine, or directly into the drum before loading the clothes if you have a non-HE machine.

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Step 4


Without rinsing off the detergent, place your tree-sap-stained clothing inside the washer and wash on the usual cycle, on the hottest wash temperature indicated on the garment’s care label.

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Step 5


When the cycle is complete, unload the garments immediately.

If the stain persists after washing, repeat the previous steps before tossing the garment in the dryer, as drying will set the stain.

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How to Remove Tree Sap from Carpet and Upholstery?

The best way to get tree sap stains out of your carpet or upholstery is to first remove any excess from the stained area. To do that, fill a plastic bag with ice, and place it over the stain. Once the sap is hardened, gently scrape off as much of it as you can with a dull knife or a spoon.

Now comes the solution: Mix two teaspoons of Tide Ultra Stain Release Liquid with one cup of hot water and work the solution into the fabric with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Let it sit for five minutes.

Next, grab a paper towel and soak up the solution, then wipe the area clean with a damp cloth, then blot the whole thing dry with another paper towel.

Finally, let your carpet or upholstery dry overnight, then bust out your vacuum cleaner and collect any stray fibers.

Can Rubbing Alcohol Remove Tree Sap?

Yes! Rubbing alcohol is a universal tree sap stain remover, which can spirit away the sticky substance without a trace. Be careful, though, as isopropyl alcohol can wreak serious havoc on your fabrics: It’s recommended to test it on a less visible area of your piece of clothing first, before applying it to the stain.

Additional Tips on Removing Tree Sap

You’re in the mood for experimenting? Here are two alternative tree sap stain removal methods to try at home:

Some people swear by using sunscreen on their tree-sap-covered articles. Simply spray a small amount of sunscreen on the stained area and gently rub the fabric together, then launder as usual.

Other DIY pros prefer the combination solution of an ice cube plus vinegar: First, hold an ice cube against the sap stain until it’s completely frozen, then scrape it off with a spoon. Next, dip a cloth in vinegar, and gently rub the stain until it’s no longer visible, then give it a rinse under running water, and run the item through a washing machine cycle.

Be warned, though, a high-quality laundry detergent will always be more efficient at cleaning your clothes than using vinegar or baking soda. Read our article on how vinegar and baking soda compare to laundry detergents for more info on this topic.

Effective Stain Removal for a Variety of Stains

There is no need to fear enjoying life outdoors. Sure, things can get messy with tree sap stains or other outdoor stains from dirt or grass, but the good news is, Tide can help you remove the toughest stains from your favorite garments, so you don’t need to worry. So, get some fresh air to clear your head, and let Tide clean your clothes.

Products to treat tree sap stains

Tide Ultra Stain Release Liquid Laundry Detergent

Tide Original Scent Liquid Laundry Detergent

10 ways to clean fresh and old stains


  1. Preparation for cleaning
  2. Type of resin - wood (natural) or epoxy
  3. Fabric material
  4. Fresh or old stain?
  5. How to prepare things for stain removal?
  6. Methods for removing tar
  7. Heat treatment
  8. Liquid solvents and tools
  9. How to get rid of epoxy?
  10. Remove stains and odor after cleaning

Wood stains and epoxy stains are not accidentally classified as stubborn stains. The sticky, viscous substance tightly glues the fibers of the material, and it seems that there is no way to remove the resin from the clothes without leaving a mark. But do not despair and send your favorite jeans or jacket to the scrap. There are many effective ways to get rid of tar stains at home. The choice of cleaning agent depends on the degree and age of contamination, the type of resin and the composition of the material from which the affected clothing is made.

Preparing for cleaning

If you find a dark tar stain on the leg or sleeve of your blouse, you first need to remember how it could have appeared. If the trouble arose after a walk in a park planted with coniferous trees, or while picking mushrooms in a pine forest, then we are talking about tree resin. Another thing is if the stain appeared during the repair or after going to the construction site. In this case, it can be assumed that the resin is epoxy.

Resin type - wood (natural) or epoxy

There are two types of resins: natural, or woody, and synthetic. But all of them are distinguished by incredible stickiness, the ability to quickly penetrate into the fibers of the fabric and glue them together.

The type of resin must be correctly identified before cleaning can begin.

  1. Wood tar (tar) is a dark brown viscous oily liquid. It is formed as a result of hardening of the juice of some trees. Pine, spruce, larch, poplar buds, thuja and other plants emit resin.
  2. Epoxy resin is a representative of synthetic substances, since it is produced by a chemical process. Such resins are widely used in the household, construction, and manufacturing. Epoxy exhibits its binding properties only in combination with a hardener and is resistant to acids and alkalis.

Vegetable stains are much easier to remove than epoxy stains.

Fabric material

When choosing a cleaning agent, it is important to know what fabric the soiled jacket or blouse is made of. Otherwise, a hole may form at the site of the stain, the paint will peel off, or some other trouble will happen.

Material composition and care instructions are indicated on the label. If the information is erased or the label is cut off immediately after purchase, you should be guided by the following rules:

  1. Wool and natural silk do not tolerate strong alkaline solutions. To clean the surface of these materials from resin, ammonia or a mixture of starch (1 tsp) and turpentine (5-6 drops) are used.
  2. Turpentine or acetone will help to remove the viscous substance from cotton fabric . When the resin dissolves, the contaminated area is wiped with alcohol and washed with water.
  3. Acetate silk and bologna fabric are treated with refined gasoline. Acetic acid and acetone should not be used to process these materials.
  4. Nylon and nylon do not tolerate treatment with gasoline, benzene and alkaline solutions. Resin stains from these materials should be removed with warm water and laundry soap.
  5. Leather items do not tolerate solvents. For them, the best cleaning agent is vegetable oil.
  6. Jeans soiled in wood resin can be easily cleaned with turpentine and ammonia in equal amounts. Potato starch is added to the solution, achieving a thick paste, and the place of contamination is smeared. After drying, the remnants of the paste are shaken off with a brush, and the pants are washed.
  7. Membrane jacket can be cleaned with turpentine and laundry soap. Turpentine is diluted with water in a ratio of 1:2, grated soap is added to the mixture and the soiled part of the clothes is washed.

Fresh or old stain?

A fresh stain that has just appeared is always easier to remove than an old one. Therefore, as soon as a resin blot is detected, it is necessary to immediately start cleaning:

  1. Wipe the resin with a paper towel or handkerchief, trying to collect a thick mass from the surface of the material.
  2. Do not wash or soak the item. This will not help the case, the stain will spread even more.
  3. If you don't have a stain remover on hand, you can try removing the stain with vegetable oil. In case of failure, you will have to start processing with other substances suitable for the composition of the tissue.

Fresh stains are usually blurry and darker than the tissue. Old pollution has a clear contour, they are lighter than the fabric, appear both from the face and from the inside.

How do I prepare things for stain removal?

Before applying the cleaning agent, the affected article must be prepared as follows:

  1. Shake out the dust, clean the surface of the clothing with a brush.
  2. Test the durability of the fabric in an inconspicuous area such as a pocket or inseam on the side.
  3. Lay out the product on a table or floor, place a board wrapped in cotton material under the stain.
  4. If the item is lined, rip it off beforehand so that the plank can be placed between the top and the lining.
  5. Moisten the cloth around the stain with water. This will prevent the formation of divorces.

The product is ready for cleaning. Now it remains to choose the appropriate tool - and you can get to work.

Ways to remove wood tar

Cleaning stains and removing tar from clothes without leaving a trace is not easy, but possible. To do this, there are many proven folk remedies and methods, as well as a number of industrial stain removers.

Heat treatment

Having found a fresh stain from pine or spruce resin on clothes, the first thing to do is to try to remove the bulk of the viscous substance with a cotton napkin or some improvised means (for example, the end of a branch), moving from the edge to the center.

If possible, the resin should be frozen. To do this, the soiled product is placed in a plastic bag and placed in the freezer for two hours. The hardened substance can be broken by hand and shaken off the surface of the material. In addition, the stain can be removed with a knife or blade, the main thing is not to damage the fabric structure.

Ice cubes can be used to freeze resin on bulky items that are difficult to fit in the freezer (such as jackets, down jackets or coats).

The freeze method is not suitable for fine silks, cambric, nylon and other delicate fabrics. In this case, it is better to resort to heating with an iron. To do this, the contaminated part of the clothing is placed between two white paper napkins and ironed with a hot iron. The heating temperature should not be higher than the maximum possible for this type of fabric.

Most of the melted viscous substance will be absorbed into the tissue. It remains only to finally get rid of traces of pollution with the help of washing or a special stain remover.

Liquid solvents and improvised products

Many modern housewives prefer to use specialized stain removers to clean difficult stains. Of course, if a person every day faces the danger of getting dirty in resin, buying an expensive product makes sense.

The compounds below will easily cope with tar, bitumen, wax stains:

  • Beckmann EXPERT;
  • Plex Antispot 1;
  • Koch Chemie Flecken Wasser;
  • Udalix Oxi Ultra.

Before using a stain remover, carefully read the instructions and determine whether the selected product is suitable for the particular fabric from which the affected product is made.

In addition to heating, cooling and industrial stain removers, tar stains can be cleaned with improvised means, one of which is sure to be in every household:

    • Alcohol. Ordinary rubbing alcohol is an excellent tool with which you can completely wipe the stain from pine resin from dense fabrics: cotton, denim, linen. Delicate fabrics should not be treated with alcohol, as thin fibers can dissolve. The stain is removed as follows: pour a little alcohol on the place of contamination or moisten the blot with a swab, after 10-15 minutes, the remaining resin is removed with a napkin, and the product is washed in the usual way.
    • Kerosene. Moisten the place of contamination with pure kerosene, then wipe it with ammonia until the stain disappears completely.
    • Ammonia. To remove tar stains from clothes, you can use a 10% ammonium hydroxide solution - that is, ammonia, which is sold in any pharmacy. The ammonia-based composition will cope even with long-dried resin on clothes. For its preparation, ammonia (10%), warm water and glycerin are mixed in equal amounts and applied to the site of contamination.
    • White spirit. Especially suitable for synthetics. With the help of a cotton swab dipped in white spirit, the contaminated area of ​​clothing is treated, allowed to soak in, waiting for 20-30 minutes, then washed by hand or in a typewriter.
    • Acetone. The agent is applicable to dense materials dyed with permanent dyes. A cotton swab is moistened in acetone and applied to the area of ​​contamination for several minutes, after which the residual resin is rubbed off by hand and the product is washed.
    • Turpentine. Turpentine is applied with a pipette to the stain and left for 30-40 minutes. The dissolved resin is washed in hot water, adding 1 tbsp. l. soda for 5 liters.
    • Petrol. For self-cleaning stains of any origin, you must use special refined gasoline, sold in hardware stores, but not fuel. The stain is wiped with a piece of cloth soaked in gasoline until it completely disappears.

  • Starch paste. A very effective remedy for dried pine resin is a paste of potato starch (1 tsp), ammonia (5 drops) and turpentine (5 drops). The mass obtained after mixing the ingredients is applied to the stain and wait until completely dry, after which the powder that has absorbed dirt particles is shaken off and the product is washed in a typewriter.
  • Soda. If you do not have a liquid solvent or a suitable stain remover on hand, you can get rid of the tar stain with Cola or Fanta. These carbonated drinks contain a fair amount of phosphoric acid, which can dissolve many of the most stable substances. A soiled sleeve or trouser leg is abundantly watered with soda and left for several hours, then washed with powder. The method is not suitable for white fabrics.
  • Vegetable oil. The method is effective for removing tar stains from leather clothes and shoes. With a cotton swab dipped in sunflower or olive oil, wipe the surface of the product. If the stain is very old, you can cover it with a piece of oil-soaked material and leave it for an hour. At the end of the treatment, to remove greasy traces, the skin is wiped with a damp cloth with detergent.

Regardless of the chosen product and method, stain removal always ends with washing. If there are still traces of contamination on the washed and dried clothes, it is necessary to repeat the treatment.

How to get rid of epoxy?

Epoxy resin dissolves well with alcohol. Before cleaning, it is necessary to remove the frozen top layer with a knife, and then treat the contaminated area with a mixture of alcohol and turpentine, taking them in equal amounts.

A piece of cotton is soaked in the prepared composition and applied to the stain. After an hour, wipe off the remnants of epoxy and send the clothes to the wash.

We remove stains and smell after cleaning

Fabrics quickly absorb odors, and solvents, turpentine and ammonia, which are suggested for cleaning clothes, do not have a refined aroma. Therefore, the question arises of how, after removing stains, to rid the product of an unpleasant odor.

There are several ways to do this:

  • Mustard powder is brewed with boiling water and stirred until a thick mass is obtained. When the mixture cools down a little, it is coated with a problem area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe clothing, after which the product is washed. You can simply dissolve a little powder in a basin of water and soak the little thing for several hours, then wash it.
  • Dissolve half a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in 10 liters of water and soak the product for half an hour. The method is only suitable for white fabrics!
  • To remove odors, you can soak the clothes in a solution of soda ash for half an hour, and then wash them in the machine, turning on the extra rinse mode.
  • Specialty odor eliminators such as DoctorWax or Antismel are available from the auto shop.
  • When rinsing, use twice the amount of conditioner.

If an unsightly tar stain appears on your favorite blouse or trousers, do not despair and throw your clothes in the trash. There are many ways to clean the pollution so that there is no trace left. The main thing is to choose the right tool and carefully carry out the processing.

How to get tar out of clothes: 10 ways that work


How to remove tar from clothes: 10 working methods: Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez

Home economics expert Inna Tikhonova considers alcohol to be the best stain remover that will even get rid of tar stains. However, the agent for removing such contamination should be selected taking into account the nature and properties of various resins. What method and substance to use to remove the tar stain from various fabrics, the authors of books on home economics suggested.

Tar Stain Solvent

Tar stains are considered the most difficult types of stains. They penetrate the fabric and stick together its fibers. There are many ways to get rid of tar marks at home. In the process of removing such stains from clothes, consider the type of resin, which the International Classification will help determine. Spruce resin is instantly absorbed into the fibers of the fabric and hardens, while pine resin is viscous and stretchy, so it is more slowly absorbed into the fabric. Heavy epoxy is very difficult to remove and must be removed as soon as contamination is detected.

Thinner is ideal for removing tar stains from thick fabrics of jackets, jackets, trousers. Solvent will corrode chiffon things. As stated in the handbook on home economics "1000 practical tips for all occasions," the most common solvent is acetone, which can be mixed with water.

How do I remove tree sap from clothes? To do this, you need a cotton sponge (tampon) and a solvent. We moisten the sponge in the solution, apply it to the site of the resin stain and blot the dirt. Hold the sponge on the fabric for a minimum of 10 minutes, and a maximum of 15 minutes. Then rinse the item with soap under running water. Finally, you will need a full wash in the washing machine at temperatures up to 40 ° to remove the smell of the solvent.

Heat treatment

Fresh resin stains can be easily removed from any fabric with hot air. A hair dryer or iron is ideal for this. How to remove pine resin from clothes? Proceed as follows:

  1. Place a piece of cloth over the area to absorb the melted pine resin particles.
  2. Turn the garment inside out and place cotton or heavy paper on the back of the stain.
  3. Walk on the surface of the clothing with the most heated iron or hot air of the included hair dryer.

As soon as the cloth, which was previously placed, has absorbed the viscous pine resin, wash the treatment area. If the pieces of fabric did not immediately absorb the resin, then change them to new ones. Do this until they have absorbed all the resin.

Use a hot iron to remove tar stains from any fabric: Unsplash/Filip Mroz

How to remove a stain with butter?

The food product can also be used to remove tar from clothing such as jeans. The butter must be taken out so that it warms up to room temperature.

Rub a piece of oil on the stained area and leave for several hours. Be careful not to get oil on clean areas of the fabric. Remove the remaining oil with a paper towel and wash the item with washing powder. This can be done by hand or in a washing machine.

Cold Removal of Resin

This method is used to remove both wood and synthetic resins. The freezing method is great for removing fresh tar stains. Proceed like this:

  1. Remove resin residue if the stain has just appeared.
  2. Put the item in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer.
  3. After 2-3 hours, take out the item and break the frozen resin substance.

Remove it completely from the surface of the fabric. To do this, use a blade or knife.

How does Coke get rid of tar stains?

In the scientific work of Elena Dobrykh, she states that due to the presence of orthophosphoric acid, the drink can really be used as household chemicals.

How do I remove dried tar from clothes? You can remove the tar stain by soaking it in Coca-Cola. Pour a carbonated drink into the container and lower the item into it for several hours. From the impact of Coca-Cola, the resin will get wet and become soft, as a result, such a stain can be easily removed with a brush.

Coca-Cola removes tar stains from clothes: Unsplash/Jana Knorr

Stain remover

Stain removers are used to remove pine or spruce tar on heavy fabrics. They will help get rid of stains even on delicate fabrics. The main thing is to understand the concentration and temperature of the water.

Any universal stain remover contains active oxygen, which helps to quickly remove the stain. The absence of chlorine and anionic surfactants make the stain remover indispensable in the home of any housewife.

How to remove tar from black clothes? To do this, you need a universal stain remover. First lay out the thing on a flat and dry surface. Apply to the problem area. Leave the treated item for at least 10 minutes for the stain remover to take effect, then rinse the fabric under cool running water. The final stage is washing clothes in an automatic machine. So for sure you will remove the remnants of resinous particles.

Alcohol for tar stains

Alcohol can be used to clean denim or cotton fabrics. To do this, it is enough to apply an alcohol solution to the contaminated area with a cotton pad and leave for 20 minutes, and then rinse with cold water.

Inna Tikhonova's book "Soviet Housekeeping" states that first the resin must be scraped off, and then the stain should be poured with alcohol and ironed with an iron through blotting paper. Finally, wipe the treated area dry.

How to clean things with starch

Light-colored clothes should be cleaned of tar stains with ordinary starch. To prepare the solution, use one tablespoon of starch. Dilute it with water to the consistency of sour cream.

Apply the mass in a thick layer on the stain and leave for two hours. After the time has elapsed, rinse the item with running water.

Turpentine and laundry soap

A combination of turpentine and laundry soap can help remove pine resin from clothes.

How to remove resin from a bologna jacket? Easily remove tar stains from a membrane jacket with turpentine and soap. To do this, dilute turpentine with water in a ratio of 1: 2, after which add chopped laundry soap to the mixture. Once the solution is ready, apply it to the place with the resin and wash the jacket.

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