What’s the Best Way to Clean My Car Without Damaging the Paint?

Try these tips to safely remove sap from your car.

car-sap
Photo by Peter Oumanski

“There’s sticky tree sap on my car.”

Jennifer Tse, via Facebook

The fix: Apply a tree-sap remover, such as Renew RX Bug & Tar Remover ($6, turtlewax.com). Wash and dry the area to loosen the sap. Spray the remover on the spot; let it sit for at least two to three minutes. Use a soft rag to gently rub it away, says Amy Mattinat, the owner of Auto Craftsmen, an auto-repair shop in Montpelier, Vermont. If residue remains, saturate the corner of a rag with WD-40 and carefully wipe. Don’t scrub, says Jamie Little, a coauthor of Essential Car Care for Women ($16, amazon.com), as hard pressure can damage paint. After the sap comes off, the area needs to be cleaned. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda in 2 cups of warm water, dip a clean microfiber cloth into the solution, and wipe. Regular waxing will render your car (at least somewhat) sap-repellent.