In certain places, tree sap is virtually unavoidable. Fortunately, a little bit of sap doesn’t mean you have to replace your car window.

Cleaning tree sap from your car window is easy and cheap to do. Some of the most common cleaning methods include using rubbing alcohol, oils, peanut butter, and Goo Gone. If the sap is hard, you may have to resort to using a knife or blade.

Want to learn more about removing tree sap from your car window? Keep reading and check out some of the most frequently asked questions.

What is Tree Sap?

Many people consider “sap” as the blood of a tree. Resembling honey, sap carries nutrients and energy to the tree’s branches. This sticky substance contains two key components: xylem and phloem.

In a perfect world, sap should stay inside the tree. However, you may see the substance seeping out when the tree has damaged bark.

Various insects flock to the sap – a sweet treat that fills their hunger. Unfortunately, an increase in bugs can create a more significant problem for you. When sap sticks to your car, hungry insects will soon follow. 

Best Ways to Remove Tree Sap from Your Car Window

Gooey tree sap can turn your car into a sticky mess. Whether it’s on your door handles or windshield, cleaning this syrup-like substance takes a little bit of effort. Simply going through a car wash won’t do the trick.

Fortunately, there are a variety of affordable and creative ways to get tree sap off your car. In some cases, you can use everyday household products that you might already have. 

Are you ready to get the tree sap off your car before it hardens and becomes even more challenging to remove? Take a look at some of the best ways to remove tree sap from your car window. 

1.Use Rubbing Alcohol

Any substance with a high concentration of alcohol can effectively remove sap from your car window. Albeit rubbing alcohol works the best, you could also use hand sanitizer. 

You’ll need to get either a soft washcloth or a cotton ball, depending on how much sap is on your window. Once you’re ready to scrub, you can soak the cloth or cotton ball into the alcohol or spray the alcohol on the window. The sap and alcohol chemically react when mixed but not instantaneously. For best results, let the alcohol and sap mixture sit for a few minutes. 

2.Wash The Sap with Cooking Oil

Don’t have rubbing alcohol sitting around your house? Common cooking oils, such as vegetable, olive, and canola oil, can also do the trick. Using oil is especially helpful if the sap has already started to dry to your car window. 

Douse your window with your cooking oil of choice and allow time for the oil to blend with the sap. However, be careful with the oil – you don’t want it to run down the side of your car. After covering the sap with oil, use a sponge or washcloth and start to wipe off the sap. 

Whether you use alcohol or oil, it’s always a good idea to wear disposable gloves when cleaning sap off your car. Sap can stick to your hands which will hinder your ability to clean it off your vehicle. Not only that, but sap can be difficult to clean off your skin.

3.Scrape it Off with a Butter Knife

After landing on your car window, sap will start to harden. If the sap were to sit on your car for two million years, it would turn into amber. Hardened sap is tricky to clean off a window. If you’re not equipped with a large selection of tools, you can use a butter knife from your kitchen.

Before attempting to remove the sap with a knife, you should try to first soften it with cooking oil or alcohol. Work at the sticky substance as if you were cutting a slice of bread. If all else fails, take the knife and gently pry the sap off your window.

Make sure that you are extremely cautious – you don’t want to scrape your car window. Don’t scrape the sap with the knife as if you were trying to defend yourself from an intruder. 

4.Try Using Peanut Butter

Out of all approaches, peanut butter sounds a bit silly. When people hear of peanut butter, they instantly think, “won’t that cause more of a mess?” You’ll soon realize that peanut butter is no laughing matter when you see the power it holds. 

Peanut butter is full of natural oils that help absorb the tree sap. We suggest that you use healthier peanut butter brands that don’t contain added sugar or vegetable oil. Once you have your bottle of peanut butter, generously layer the butter on top of the sap and let it sit for ten to fifteen minutes. 

After the peanut butter has time to sit, you should use disposable paper towels or washcloths to remove both the sap and the peanut butter from your car window.

Cleaning up such a concoction can turn messy fast, so it’s a must to wear gloves. Once you successfully remove the sap from the window, you should take your vehicle to a car wash to remove any lingering remnants of peanut butter. 

Buy Goo Gone

Goo Gone is a household staple, especially in a house full of kids. The primary purpose of Goo Gone is to clean “stains and sticky messes.” Tree sap falls right under that definition. 

Using Goo Gone is simple. Just apply it to the sap on your car window and come back in three to five minutes. You’ll then want to grab a towel or rag and gently scrub the tree sap. Once the sap slowly disappears, you should get a new towel and clean the window with warm soapy water.

If you have a serve sap situation, you may need to apply Goo Gone a handful of times. Although it’s one of the best products in its category, it isn’t a miracle cleaner. And on the plus side, Goo Gone will not damage your car window (or the paint if you get the product on your car’s body).

Where Can I Buy Goo Gone?

You can buy Goo Gone on Amazon and virtually all superstores and home improvement retailers – Walmart, Lowe’s, and The Home Depot. 

How Much Does Goo Gone Cost?

Depending on the size, the price of Goo Gone ranges from $2 to $5. It’s undoubtedly one of the cheaper options when it comes to cleaning tree sap off your car window.

5.Spray WD-40 on the Sap

What better way to clean tree sap than a bottle of WD-40? They say it can clean anything, right? WD-40 is an effective way to get rid of sticky, slimy junk that clings to your car window.

Using WD-40 is a walk in the park. First, spray the WD-40 on the tree sap. Make sure to spray a decent amount for the best results. After five minutes or so, wipe the tree sap until it’s gone. Note: you may have to apply the WD-40 a couple of times.

WD-40 will not damage your window. However, you should use a soft cloth; avoid using hard objects that can scuff your window. Most households have a bottle of WD-40 lying around, but if you don’t, the cost of a bottle will only set you back between $4 to $6. WD-40 can also be used to get bugs off. 

How Do You Avoid Getting SAP In The Future

It’s pretty obvious – the best way to keep tree sap off your car window is to avoid parking near trees.

However, we understand that isn’t feasible for everyone. Those who live in wooded areas have a much harder time avoiding sap. No matter where you live, here are a few preventative measures that you can take to avoid tree sap in the future.

Park in a Garage, if Possible

A lot of people use their garages for storage – not for parking their cars. If you routinely get tree sap on your car window, then you should consider cleaning out your garage to make space for your vehicle. If you have too many cars that your garage can hold, this option might not work for you. 

Use a Pruning Sealant

As mentioned, tree sap usually oozes out a tree when there’s damage to the bark, just as blood seeps out of your finger when you cut it.

A pruning sealant acts as a “Band-Aid” to help heal the tree and prevent sap from coming out. If the tree has severe damage, you should consider hiring a professional to help “cure” the plant with sealant. 

Cover Your Car

If you don’t have a car and don’t want to use pruning sealant, getting cover for your vehicle is an effective last resort. Depending on what type of car you have, you can get a cover from $20 to $100. The only caveat is that sap might get on the cover, so you’ll need to clean it occasionally.

Frequently Asked Questions

Want to learn more about tree “blood” and how it can affect your car? Take a glance at some of the most frequently asked questions.

Can Tree Sap Permanently Damage Your Car?

Tree sap can cause permanent damage to your car if you do not clean it. Over time, the sap will eventually discolor the car’s paint and cause stains.

How Much Does It Cost to Remove Tree Sap?

It costs almost nothing to remove tree sap from a car window. You should budget about $10, but you might already have the items needed at home.

Is Tree Sap Flammable?

The only tip of sap that is flammable is pine sap. Many campers use pine sap to ignite campfires. You should use extreme caution if you ever notice pine sap in your car. 

Is Tree Sap Bad for Car Paint?

Yes, tree sap is terrible for your car paint in the long run. If you let sap sit on your car, it will eventually start to harden and discolor the paint.

Do Sticky Substances Ruin Car Paint?

Various sticky substances can ruin the paint on your car. Whether it’s honey, sap, or oils, you should clean your vehicle as soon as possible.

Final Words 

If you have no choice but to park near trees (at work or home), then you will likely have to clean sap off your window at some point. The good news is, cleaning sap is relatively easy and inexpensive.

Although sap won’t damage your car window in the short term, it can cause damage if you neglect it and never clean the window. To keep your car in the best shape and avoid replacing your window, you should try one of the above techniques to get rid of the sap.

While removing tree sap is essential for maintaining a clear view, don’t overlook other vehicle care concerns like what to do if you put the wrong oil in your car, how to repair a tear in leather car seats, and fixing a sun visor that won’t stay closed.


Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren

Keren Simanova

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren