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Uh oh! How to remove tree sap from clothes, carpet and furniture

If you've tried every cleaner on the shelf and haven't had any luck removing this resin, the experts have advice for you.
Tree sap
Tree sap seeps from a cut down tree trunk.Andi Edwards / Alamy stock
/ Source: TODAY

That tree sap you can’t seem to get out of your jeans is a sticky mess for a reason. Trees produce this natural resin to seal up any cuts or damage done to the bark. If you’ve tried every cleaner out there and haven’t had any luck removing sap, it’s because you haven't heard the right advice yet. Read on to find out how experts remove this sticky goo.

How to remove tree sap from clothing

Cleaning and organizing pro Donna Smallin Kuper says there’s one way to get resin out of clothing — dry cleaning fluid! (Guardsman upholstery stain remover, is available online.)

Check the garment care label first. If it’s washable, sponge dry cleaning fluid on the sap and let it dry. Make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area and not near any flame when you use cleaning fluid because it’s highly flammable.

Once the area is dry, soak the stain in a mixture of laundry detergent and just a few drops of ammonia. Allow it to work on the stain for 30 minutes, then launder in liquid detergent. Remember: Don’t bleach the garment, since bleach and ammonia produce poisonous fumes.

If the stain remains, or if the garment is not washable, bring it to a professional cleaner.

How to remove tree sap from upholstery and carpet

Jack White, vice-president of technical services for Rainbow International restoration service, recommends using dry cleaning solvent to remove pine sap from upholstery and carpet.

“To remove tree sap from upholstery and carpet, try to scrape away as much resin as possible, using a blunt object like a spoon,” says White. “Vacuum resin as it comes up. Be patient and attempt to remove as much of the tree sap with this process as possible.”

Before treating the remaining sap with dry cleaning solvent, check the manufacturer’s instructions. Pre-test the cleaner on a scrap of carpet or upholstery or in an out-of-the-way spot. Make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area, and not near an open flame. If there is no damage to the carpet or upholstery, apply a small amount of solvent to the stain. Blot, don’t scrub, working from the outside of the spot and moving toward the center. Follow the product’s directions carefully. You may need to do this several times to remove the spot.”

Then, if the stain remains, consult a professional cleaner.