How to Remove Tree Sap from Clothes Carpet and Upholstery

Tree Sap
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Those that love the great outdoors or a fresh Christmas trees and golfers who spend a great deal of the time in the rough may find this tree sap stain removal information useful.

All trees have sap and there are two kinds. The phloem sap in the layer next to the outer bark. This sap is composed of water, sugars and nutrients that are produced from the leaves and flows to the rest of the tree. The xylem sap is a bit deeper in the sapwood, the youngest layers of the tree.

The sapwood cells carry water and minerals up the tree from the roots. The sapwood produces carbon dioxide. 

The sap may appear for several reasons. if the tree is cut or injured, the sap will ooze out from the tree. Changes in temperature will also affect the flow of tree sap. During cold weather, when temperatures fall below freezing, the tree pulls water up through the roots, replenishing the tree sap. Warmer weather when the tree is dormant produces pressure within the tree. This is why maple sap is gathered in the late winter just as spring temperatures begin.

Conifers also produce tar or pitch which is hydrocarbon-based and sits mainly in the outermost wood layers. Its function is defensive; when an insect chews though the bark the pitch oozes out actually pushes the insect out of the hole, Resin is formed as pitch crystallizes and loses more liquid components.

How to Remove Tree Sap from Washable Clothes

It is important to remove tree sap and pitch stains from clothes and camping gear for several reasons.

They can leave stains and because they are sticky, it will attract additional soil and insects. 

Start by treating the sticky component of the stain with a stain remover like Shout, Zout or any stain remover that contains enzymes. If you do not have a stain remover, use a bit of heavy duty liquid laundry detergent that contains enough enzymes to break down the stain.

Tide or Persil are leading performance brands that have enough cleaning power and enzymes to break apart the sap from the fabric fibers and tackle these stains.

Work the stain remover into the tree sap stains using a soft bristled brush like an old toothbrush and allow the product to work for at least fifteen minutes. Rinse the stained area with hot water. If you still see significant evidence of the stain, treat again. You may need to work through layers of dried pitch. Next, wash the fabric in the hottest water recommended on the garment or equipment care label.

Check the stained area before tossing the item in a clothes dryer. The high heat of the dryer can fuse the sap or pitch with the fibers and make it even more impossible to remove. If the stain remains, repeat the stain removal treatment steps. 

How to Remove Tree Sap from Dry Clean Only Clothes

If the garment is labeled as dry clean only, it is best to head to a dry cleaner and point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner.

If you choose to use a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover or a commercial dry cleaning solvent before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

How to Remove Tree Sap from Carpet and Upholstery

Tree sap or pitch can easily be tracked onto home or car upholstery and carpet.

Again, tackle these stains as soon as possible because the stickiness will attract more soil and become harder to remove.

If you can see beads of sap or tar, put some ice in a plastic bag and place over the area. This will harden the residue and you may be able to lift it from the fabric and carpet fibers. Next, mix a solution of two teaspoons of liquid dish washing detergent with one cup of hot water. Use a soft-bristled brush to work the solution into the carpet. 

Use a paper towel to blot away the soapy solution as the stain is loosened. Next, flood the area with plain, cool water to remove the soapy residue and then blot dry with a paper towel. Allow the stained area to air dry away from direct sunlight or heat. Vacuum to lift carpet fibers.

For more stain removal tips: Stain Removal A to Z