You might be out hiking, camping or doing gardening work one day and suddenly find yourself in a sticky evergreen-induced situation.
Or perhaps it’s Christmas time and you mucked up your jeans with a tree sap stain while procuring yourself a seasonally decorative conifer.
Whatever the scene, you’re desperately wondering how to get sap out of clothes. And you’ll need to get that mercilessly sticky tree sap out of your threads right away before it attracts dirt and escalates to a clingy point of no return.
Don’t panic or get sappy about it. We’re here to show you how to remove tree sap from your clothing.
What You Need
Removing sap from clothes is actually less complicated than you might think and — great news — there are a few ways to go about it. You can use various cleaning agents and household goods for this type of stain.
What’s more convenient is that you don’t even need a specialty cleaner to eliminate this sticky substance. In fact, you may already have most of the necessary products in your home!
Nonetheless, the process can sometimes require a few tries before the stain completely disappears. Bear in mind, however, that it should fully dissipate if you follow our instructions.
First things first, here’s a list of common household items you can use as a cleaner to get sap out of clothes:
- Laundry stain remover: A traditional laundry stain remover works to break down tree sap, making it easy to get out of your clothes.
- Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol): If you don’t have proper cleaning supplies, rubbing alcohol can also be used to remove the sap.
- Hand sanitizer: Because hand sanitizer has rubbing alcohol as a primary ingredient, it can also be used to remove tree sap from your clothes.
- Peanut Butter: It might sound strange, but peanut butter can also help break down tree sap, making it easier to remove!
- Baby oil: Lastly, you can use baby oil to remove sap from both your fabrics and skin.
And here are the tools you’ll need:
- Something to scrape with (an old credit card or disposable silverware)
- Paper towel or a washcloth (preferably white to avoid color transfer)
- An old toothbrush
- Laundry detergent
How to Get Tree Sap Out of Your Clothes
Like we mentioned earlier, the beauty of this stain removal process is that you’re bound to have one of the listed cleaners on hand. No matter what you’ve decided to go with, the tree sap stain-removing method will be the same. How’s that for uncomplicated?
Without further ado, here’s how to get sap off clothes:
1. If you’ve got big blobs of sap, you’ll want to start by freezing it. Then you’ll be able to break the sap off seamlessly and get rid of the majority without creating any messes. Place the garment in the freezer for a few hours (totally safe for any type of fabric), stain side up to prevent contact with anything else, then snap off the sap when it becomes solid and brittle. If your stain is on a shoe, put it in a plastic bag and then place it in the freezer.
2. Scrape off the remaining tree sap from the surface with an old credit card or disposable knife. This method will ensure that you start the stain-removing process with the least amount of sap possible.
3. Grab one of the cleaning elements listed above and test out a spot on your garment that isn’t obvious before you proceed. This way you’re sure it won’t visibly damage any delicate fabrics. Then, soak the affected area that has the tree sap with your rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, peanut butter, or your cleaner of choice and scrub it with an old toothbrush.
4. Wait a few minutes and rub hot water in with a washcloth or paper towel. If you’re wondering how to get sap out of jeans, it’s the same process, just use a damp cloth or paper towel and rub it on the sap. For shoes, use a non-oil-based cleaner to remove the sap because you won’t be able to throw them in the wash afterward.
5. Launder your garment in the washing machine with your usual detergent. You can also apply a small amount of detergent directly to the tree sap stain. Before you transfer it to the dryer, check the stained area and repeat step 3 if you still see a spot. Do not use the clothes dryer until the stain is completely gone because it will set it in the fabric’s fibers and will be even more difficult to get out.
Additional Tips for Removing Sap From Clothes
We’ve got a few additional pointers on how to remove pine sap from clothing. If you’re out in the wild or don’t have rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, or any of the other mentioned cleaning agents on hand, we’ve also heard that sunscreen, nail polish remover, coconut oil, dish soap and liquid detergent can do the trick.
Just bear in mind that you might have to repeat the cleaning steps a few times before the stain fully disappears. If you’re cleaning a shoe, another reminder to not to use any oil-based substances because you won’t be able to launder it after you spot-scrub the stain.
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