As soon as sap dries, it sticks to the fibers of your clothes and becomes a stubborn stain to remove. However, the sap is easier to remove when treated immediately, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw away the stained clothing.
Rubbing alcohol, stain removers, and detergent effectively removes stains. Washing your clothing normally gets rid of any remaining traces of the stain. If you don’t set a stain by drying it, your clothing will look new again.
3 Ways to Get Sap Stains Out of Clothes
Here are three different effective ways to get sap out of clothes:
1. Use Rubbing Alcohol
To use rubbing alcohol to get sap out of clothes, see the steps to follow:
- Freeze sap for a few minutes in the freezer
You only need to do this when you have a lump of sap on your clothing. It won’t come off easily unless you freeze it. Throw your clothes in the freezer or pack some ice in a bag over the sap. After a few minutes, it’ll harden.
- Scrape off the sap with a knife
Get a blunt butter knife to avoid cutting your fingers or your clothes. Hold the knife flat against the fabric and scrape it over the gob of sap. Be very careful when using the knife. The frozen sap should be brittle and break easily, so you won’t need to push hard.
- Pour some rubbing alcohol on a towel
Moisten an old rag, hand towel, or cotton ball with the alcohol. You can find bottles of isopropyl alcohol at any drug or general store. If you don’t have it, you may use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Rubbing alcohol is also effective in removing sap from your hair and body. For leather, try saddle soap instead.
A little bit of peanut butter may also work without damaging the leather. Rub the alcohol gently into the stain Blot the area with a damp towel. If you put a little rubbing alcohol on the spot directly, you can also rub it with your finger or an old toothbrush.
- Repeat the treatment as needed
You’ll most likely see the alcohol dissolving the sap stain immediately. For large spots, you’ll need to apply more. Use the rag again or apply extra alcohol directly. Rub the spot until it fades.
- Launder the clothing
Wash the clothing as you normally would. You can put it in the washing machine and use your regular detergent. For the most effective cleaning, get the water as hot as it can safely be for the fabric you’re treating. To find this, look at the label on the clothes or search the fabric type online for recommendations.
2. Use Bleach and Stain Removers
You can also use stain removers and bleach to get sap out of clothes. Here are the steps to follow:
- Pretreat the sap stain with a stain remover
Most commercial stain removers can break up sap stains with no issues. Also, a little bit of your everyday liquid laundry detergent may work. Transfer the stain remover with a rag or cotton ball. Spread it thinly over the area you need to clean
- Soak the sap stain for 20 minutes
Work the stain remover into the stain with your fingers or a toothbrush, if you’d like. Leave the clothing to dry in the open air for at least 20 minutes. This gives the product time to loosen the dried sap, which is very difficult to remove through washing alone.
- Wash the clothes at the highest temperature
The temperature you use depends on the kind of fabric you’re washing. Most clothes can be washed in warm water, which is usually enough to remove sap stains. Delicates and darks should be washed in cold water. Washing can be done either in a washing machine or by hand.
- Wash with bleach to remove tough stains
Your regular laundry detergent is normally enough to remove sap stains. For extra effect, you may use bleach. Chlorine bleach is safe to use on white cotton or cotton-polyester blends. You’ll need an all-color or oxygen bleach for any other type of fabric. Read the label information to ensure the product won’t damage your clothes.
- Repeat treatment until the sap is gone
No matter how tempted you feel, don’t throw a stained shirt in the dryer. Wash the clothes again or try isopropyl alcohol. Removing the sap fully may take 2 or 3 rounds, but you’ll save a perfectly good piece of clothing.
3. Use Powdered Detergent
You can also get sap out of clothes and clean the fabric by using powdered detergent. Below are the necessary steps to follow:
- Mix powdered detergent and water in equal parts
Get a small container and fill it with a little bit of powdered non-bleach laundry detergent. You don’t need a lot, only enough to spread over the sap stain. Start with a teaspoon of the powder and combine it with equal water. Stir the ingredients together to create a paste.
- Apply the paste to the stain
Transfer the paste and spread it over the area you wish to clean. This can quickly be done with your stirring spoon or another object, such as a sponge or rag.
- Let the stain soak for 30 minutes
Leave the paste alone, and it’ll begin breaking up the sap. Since it doesn’t have bleach, it won’t damage the clothing.
- Sprinkle non-sudsy ammonia on the stain
Non-sudsy ammonia is the clear, colorless ammonia you’ll often see at general stores. Spread a few drops of it over a stubborn stain. This is optional and can also be done for a stain that remains after a wash cycle.
- Launder the clothing in warm water
Throw the clothing in the washing machine. Put it through a cycle using your regular detergent. Warm water is safe for most clothes but increases the temperature if the fabric can handle it. Now your clothes will be stain-free until the next time you lean up against the wrong tree.