How to Remove Sap from Wood [In 5 Easy Ways]

When the wood is not completely dry, it can happen that the knots or some parts secrete sap. This sap prevents the application of paints or varnishes, and can cause stains. So it is important to remove the sap from wood as soon as possible.

Sometimes the wood oozes resin with the heat and direct action of the sun: that is why it is common in outdoor structures such as pergolas, planters, sheds or fences. Fortunately, there are many ways to remove sap from wood effectively.

How to Remove Sap from Wood using a Soap Solution (soap flakes)

For this method, you need 20 g of traditional soap flakes purchased at a grocery store or a specialized chemical store. Then dissolve them in a liter of hot water and begin.

Helpful TIP!
Tip: By adding about 20% acetone to the cold soap solution, the solvent power can be intensified and the soap solution is workable for longer. An acetone-free soap solution solidifies after about three hours, but becomes workable again with a little hot water.

Here’s how to do it:

Thoroughly sand the wood in the direction of the grain with 120-grain and remove the sanding dust.

Now spread the soap solution liberally on the wood. Always treat the entire wood surface, not just single points! Then brush the wet surface well with a fiber brush, to form a foam.

Then wash the surface thoroughly with hot water, as the soap can hinder the drying or cross-linking power of the dye. Furthermore, the solution residues cause an irregular absorption of the dye and therefore the formation of spots. 

Let everything dry overnight and then sand with 120 – 150 grit without applying pressure.

I will also help you remove grease from wood with these easy guide I wrote here!

How to Remove Sap from Wood with Turpentine

Turpentine is a chemical that extracts pine sap from your wood. 

Apply the chemical directly to the sap or with a rough sponge, then rub the sap well. Use a blunt knife that scrapes off any residue of sap. Follow-up removal by scrubbing the area with a stiff bristle brush in the direction of the wood grain. Don’t over-soak the wood with white spirit.

Turpentine is available in hardware, home improvement, chemical supply, large-area paint supply and retail. The chemical is safe to use on wood and around grass and gardening. Wear rubber gloves and a face mask to protect your hands and your nose.

It is always easier to remove a fresh sap stain that has just appeared than an old one. Therefore, as soon as a sap blot is found, you must immediately start cleaning:

  1. Blot the sap resin with a paper towel or handkerchief, trying to collect the thick mass from the surface of the material.
  2. Do not wash, let alone soak the product. This will not help, the stain will spread even more.
  3. If you don’t have a stain remover on hand, you can try using vegetable oil to remove the stain.

Here is a guide to help you oil your wooden floors in 7 easy steps!

How to Remove Sap from Wood with Rubbing Alcohol

The household alcohol, 90 ° is suitable for removing sap stain from the wood:

  1. Take a cotton ball the size of a ping pong ball
  2. Soak it in alcohol enough to match the size of the sap stain
  3. After having carried out a previous test, rub the wood area affected by the sap in a circular motion
  4. Rub the base of the stain with circular movements and slowly release the resin or sap
  5. Keep doing this and replacing the cotton ball as long as the alcohol evaporates
  6. Finally, absorb the remains with a piece of kitchen paper and wash the wood without problems. Remember not to use the dryer until the stain is removed!

Do you know how to stain wood? If not, here is a step by step guide to help you stain wood like a pro in less than 5 minutes!

How to Remove Sap from Wood with Heat

It is a very simple process, but we must do it very carefully not to damage the wood:

  1. Heat with a hair dryer or a heat gun where the sap stain is coming out of the wood taking care not to burn the wood
  2. Heat the sap resin until it becomes ooze or crystalize and can be removed
  3. Using a cloth we procced to remove the sap from the are which we heated
  4. Wipe the wood area until the sap or tar stops coming out of wood
  5. Finish cleaning the area using a fine 220-grit sandpaper in a very soft way to avoid tearing down the wood

If by mistake you burned the wood you can easily remove burn marks from by following this guide I created!

How to remove sap from different types of wood

how to remove sap or tar from different types of wood

Cleaning a resin stain from wood may require rubbing the wood with steel wool, which can damage the protective layer (wood, varnish, wax, etc.). In this case, it will be necessary to iron a layer of product once the stain has been removed.

Types of WoodHow to remove sap from it
White Wood1.Scrape off the excess with a wooden spatula.
2.Dab the remaining stain with a cloth dipped in household alcohol .
3.Scrub then, if necessary, with steel wool .
Waxed wood1.Peel off the resin on the surface using a spoon.
2.Rub the area with a cloth dampened in household alcohol .
3.If traces remain, level with sandpaper .
4.Apply a new coat of wax.
Painted wood1.Remove soft dirt with the rounded blade of a knife.
2.Rub a cloth dampened with household alcohol on the soiled area.
Teak wood1.Rub the surface with a wooden spoon.
2.Dab the stain with a tissue soaked in household alcohol .
3.If any residue remains, gently scrape with a steel wool pad .
4.Restore the shine to the wood with a cloth soaked in teak oil 

Do you want to know how many types of wood are in the world? In this article you can learn more about 65 types of woods!

Tips for removing sap from wood:

  • Provide adequate ventilation!
  • After removing the resin, sand only gently, as the resin can only be removed about 0.5mm deep.
  • Heat or sunlight on wood can cause resin to spread from deeper layers. Therefore, coat the resin-free surface within a day or two.
  • Always use the resin remover solution only once, otherwise the result will not be ideal.

How to remove sap from wood using Household Products

There are several household products available to help clean conifer resin from wood:

It is removed in much the same way as gum. The easiest way is to harden the structure of the wood sap and chop it off, the other is to dissolve it:

1. Rubbing in alcohol or hand sanitizer: These substances will help dry the sticky sap and remove it afterwards. Soak a small piece of cloth or paper towel in rubbing alcohol, then lightly blot the stain with it. Do not rub it, otherwise it will only make the problem worse! Repeat this step as needed. When the resin is dry, gently scrape it off the surface.  

2.Ice: In this case, ice will act in the same way as with the chewing gum in your hair. However, this method takes more time, and ice tends to melt. If you do settle on it, put ice on the affected areas. When the resin hardens, remove it from the wood surface.

3.Dishwashing detergent: Apply a small amount of detergent (experiment on a small area first) to the sap area and rub with a cloth slightly dampened with warm water. Continue until the sap stain is gone. Be sure to remove any cleaning agent residue from the wood surface with a damp cloth and dry towel. Otherwise, the remaining product will collect the dirt. 

How to Remove Sap from a Wood Deck

As sap pushes from the inside of a pine tree, it can fall from branches that are spread over wooden decking and adhere to the furniture deck.

Tree sap has a rubbery quality in that it clings tightly to surfaces. As the sap dries, it hardens, making it difficult to remove from wood. Sap requires a softening agent to dissolve and melt, allowing you to lift it up from a wooden deck without damaging the deck boards.

Steps to remove sap from a wood deck:

1.Sweep dirt and debris from the wooden deck with a broom.

2. Apply  1/4 cup of saddle soap, or other oil soap, to the tree sap with a sponge. 

3. Let the soap stay in the sap for 15 minutes, giving it time to soften and dissolve the sap.

4. Rub the tree sap a stiff brush. Apply additional chair soap if necessary to remove all the sap from the trees.

5. Wipe the soap and tree sap off the deck with a damp cloth.

6. Spray the deck with a garden hose to remove all soap residue.

How to Remove Sap from a Wood Deck with Deck Stripper

Another way to extract pine sap from your deck is by using a commercial deck stripper. Spray the deck stripper to the sap and use a long-handled brush to diffuse the chemical solution. 

Leave the stripper deck to act for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse it off with a water hose. Cover is safe for use around grass and gardening, but you need to wear rubber gloves and a nose mask to protect yourself from the chemicals.

Note, stripper deck can leave a fuzzy residue on your deck wood. Use a piece of medium or fine sandpaper to remove residue, then apply a sealer to the ceiling surface.

How to prevent sap from coming out of wood

1. Dig the wood

Scrape the gap in the wood using a sharp tool like a pocket knife or carpenter’s chisel, without being afraid to make the hole larger.

The important thing is to be able to empty the resin pocket.

After you dig a hole in wood you need to fill the hole and here is a step by step guide how to do that!

2. Heat the wood

Some advocate the heat gun.

But unless you are a super pro and know how to master the tool perfectly, there is a risk of overheating the wood and blackening it.

Hot air from the hair dryer is ideal. Direct this hot air so as to make the resin liquid.

Wipe off with a cloth. Heat again and wipe dry.

3. Clean the wood

Scrape off the last sap residue with a steel wool pad.

Then clean with a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol, acetone or turpentine.

If you want to remove alcohol stains from wood in the easiest way possible follow these methods!


Remove the wood sap from the stain as soon as possible to prevent permanent staining of the wood deck. If it is still fresh, you can take the opportunity to remove part of the sap stain by scraping with a spatula. Now you know a few easy and effective ways you can use to remove sap from wood.

However, it should be remembered that methods of removing a stain that will help remove it from some wood type can damage others. It is best to test the above methods on an inconspicuous area before using it directly on the wood.

How can I remove tree sap from my patio furniture?

Since tree sap is very sticky, neither regular patio cleaners nor pressure washing will work. We recommend the use of WD-40 to remove sap. Be sure to follow all of the manufacturer’s directions. Please note that WD-40 is also effective at removing labels that are on boards when they are delivered to the job site.

How to remove sap from wood floors?

To remove the pine resin from the laminate wood flooring, all you need to do is brush the stained area with a dish cleaner. Then rub the sticky spot with the damp, hard side of the sponge. At the end of the procedure, we remove the remnants of dirt with plain water.

Adrian Tapu

Adrian is a seasoned woodworking with over 15 years of experience. He helps both beginners and professionals expand their skills in areas like furniture making, cabinetry, wood joints, tools and techniques. Through his popular blog, Adrian shares woodworking tips, tutorials and plans related to topics such as wood identification, hand tools, power tools and finishing.

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