How to Remove Tree Sap Stains From Carpet

applying detergent to a sap stain on a carpet

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 5 - 25 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr, 25 mins - 1 day
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0-10

Sticky tree sap poses a particular problem on carpeting or furniture. Because of its sticky, tannin-based nature, it may seem like a challenge to remove. But, do not fret—we are here to shed light on removing tree sap stains that have made their way into your home.

Removing sap, pitch, or tree resin is not difficult and does not require special cleaners, but it may need a few steps and some soaking before it's completely gone. Read on for our guide to removing tree sap stains.

Stain Type Tannin-based and gum-based
Detergent Type Heavy-duty laundry detergent
Wash Temperature Hot or warm

Before You Begin

If you have a stain on silk or vintage upholstery, consult a professional furniture cleaner, especially if you need more stain removal tips. Also, do not use these cleaning steps on suede clothing, shoes, or upholstery. Suede has different cleaning procedures.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Butter knife or spoon (Optional)
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Vacuum

Materials

  • Ice
  • Plastic bag
  • Liquid dishwashing detergent
  • Paper towels

Instructions

materials for removing sap stains from carpet

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

How to Remove Tree Sap From Carpet or Upholstery

  1. Lift the Sap

    First, check and inspect the stained area. If you see beads of sap or tar, put some ice in a plastic bag and place it over the stain. Let the ice harden the sap for about 15 minutes, then remove the ice and try to pull up as much of the hardened sap as possible by hand or scraping with a butter knife or spoon.

    The redeeming part about sap stains is its ability to coagulate in the cold. If enough of the sap is removable after this step, you are good to go. If not, read on for further cleaning instructions.

    freezing a sap stain on a carpet

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  2. Apply Detergent

    Mix a solution of two teaspoons of liquid dishwashing detergent with one cup of hot water. Use a soft-bristled brush to work the solution into the carpet or upholstery where the stain lies.

    applying detergent to a sap stain on a carpet

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  3. Blot and Rinse

    Use a paper towel to blot away the soapy solution as the stain is loosened. Next, wipe the area with a towel dipped in plain, cool water to remove the soapy residue, and then blot dry with a paper towel.

    blotting and rinsing the sap stain

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  4. Vacuum the Carpet or Upholstery

    Allow the stained area to air dry completely (usually overnight; don't apply heat), then vacuum the carpet or upholstery to lift the fibers.

    vacuuming the carpet after lifting the stain

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Additional Tips for Removing Tree Sap

  • If the stain persists, you should repeat the above steps until the stain disappears. DIYers report some success with other home remedies.
  • Do not saturate upholstery with soap cleaner. Too much soap solution can cause mold and mildew problems in the cushions.