How to Clean a Car that has Been Sitting Under a Tree

Trees are very beautiful. Except, they leave messes all over your car. Instead of ignoring it to stomp around and make a show of your frustrations, you can clean it. But, how? We’re glad that you asked. Follow the instructions in this article on how to clean a car that has been sitting under a tree. 

How Long Should I Wait?

If you’re asking if you should wait at least a month before cleaning any messes that show up on the exterior of your car, don’t do that. Clean the messes within at least a day or two. Cars are like your children. You need to look after them. 

Getting Rid of Tree Sap

Leaves and other dirt and grime that show up on your car from trees is easy to remove, but tree sap. That’s a different story. Sap won’t damage the paint on your car, but it can leave the unpleasant coloring to the paint if you don’t care about it immediately.

Supplies that You Will Need

  • Terry cloths (2) or a regular soft towel
  • A box cutter blade
  • A can of a bottle of bug/tar remover
  • Rubbing alcohol (if you don’t have bug/tar remover)
  • Fill a bucket of water
  • Sponge or a wash mitt
  • Wax spray or detailer polish
  • Elbow grease 

How to Clean the Sap on a Car

  1. First, wash and dry your vehicle so you have a clean surface to work on
  1. Locate the sap. It shouldn’t be too hard to find. As soon as you notice the spot, take a picture with your phone if you cannot get to clean it immediately.
  1. Once you found the sap, pour remover solution onto a washcloth or rubbing alcohol
  1. Set the cloth on the area of the sap and let it sit for 30 seconds
  1. Give the area a good scrub until the sap has disappeared. This is where patience is key. Use your muscle to get rid of the mess. 
  1. In case that tree sap is very tricky, it’s time to use your fingernails. Lightly scratch the area until it comes off. Now is not the time to worry about your nails. That is your car we’re talking about. Be aware that some residue may get left behind
  1. Once your car is free of sap, spray some wax on the paint to give the car a nice polish
  1. Give your car a drive around the neighborhood to celebrate 

Removing Sap Without a Cleanser

There is a way to remove sap stains without the use of cleaning liquids. We already mentioned that you can use your fingernail to dig into that hardened sap to remove it. 

For any individual who does not want to ruin their nails, here is another option for you. 

  • Using a Sharp Box Cutter Blade

While this may look dangerous, and create possible cracks in your window, a box cutter remover does the job well. Just scrape it over the tar (LIGHTLY) and you’ll get rid of the excess in no time. 

  • Hand Sanitizer

Hand Sanitizer comes in handy for cleaning germs off your hands. Here’s what you didn’t know. It gets rid of tree sap. Squeeze out a drop of hand sanitizer onto the spot with the sap and rub it in with your finger. Don’t use a rag to rub it in. But, you can use a rag or a power towel to dry it off.

What You Should Never do When Cleaning Sap

To anybody who even thinks about using their windshield wiper to clear away sap, that is a bad idea. Refrain from doing that and wait until you are parked in your driveway. Trying to clear away fresh sap will only smear a horrible sticky liquid all over the windshield. You won’t be able to see where you are going. 

What to do When Cleaning Residue

The best way to remove any surface contaminates; like residue, dish soap does the trick. Not only does it remove residue, but dish soap will also remove any wax off the paint of the car. Wax the car after washing it. 

Removing Leaves from the Car

Getting rid of leaves should be an easy task. But, you should know that leaves leave (no pun intended) damage to the paint of your car. The sap, pollen, and acid from leaf stains and damages the paint finish on your car. It’s worse when leaves are wet. Instead of pretending its a game of hide-and-seek go remove those leaves from your car before it becomes hidden in a pile. 

In addition, if you leave leaves unattended for a long time, they can clog drains, damage air filters, and other important parts of the car. Now that you let them rot into the pain, leaves are going to be even more difficult to remove. To get rid of leaves, either use your hands to pick off the leaves or go with a leaf blower. Or follow these other useful tips. 

What you can do to Prevent These Messes

  • Don’t park it under the tree. That’s a good one. Except, what if the driveway has a tree right in the front yard? Park under a tree that has lost most of its leaves. Aside from any damages, parking near a tree could be a risk of it collapsing on top of your car. 
  • Always remove leaves more often than not. You need to get up off the couch to take care of your car. Use your hands, a leaf blower or a broom to sweep off the mess
  • Buy a cover for your car. Car covers get the job done. Not only do they make a home for your car, they protect it from any damages a tree could cause.
  • Wash your car a lot of the fall season to avoid messes. This is the period of time where its raining leaves.
  • Give your car one last good clean before the winter season begins. Wax it and remove all the leaves that could be hidden in small spots. Look high and low for those leaves. Some leaves like to hide in areas that you never knew existed in the car. 

The Trick to Removing Insects

Insects are a problem. Getting rid of bug stains is a battle, but at least your car is happier afterward. Remove stains with a cleaner or a solvent. Let the solution sit a few minutes and then give it a soft wipe with the back of a tissue. Cleaners will remove the insects entirely and brighten the polish. 


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