How to Remove Tree Pitch


Trees are a must in most landscapes. They provide shade and beauty to any yard. While gardeners love trees, they don't always love working with them. Trees contain pitch, or sap, which can get all over your skin, clothing, and even your hair if you are not careful. This thick, sticky substance is difficult to remove with just soap and water, but there are other common household items that will remove it.

Pitch on Skin or Hair

Step 1

Grab the nearest greasy substance. This can be mayonnaise, butter, or even an oily peanut butter. If you are a person who tries to avoid eating or using greasy foods, use an alcohol-based solvent, such as nail-polish remover or hand sanitizer.

Step 2

Apply the greasy or alcohol-based item liberally onto your skin. Rub it well into the pitch, and let it sit for a few minutes. The grease and alcohol will work to break up the pitch.

Step 3

Wash your skin with hot, soapy water and dry. If you have tree sap in your hair, follow the same procedure, only stick with the greasy products and avoid using any of the alcohol-based products.

Pitch on Clothing

Step 1

Freeze the tree pitch by applying an ice cube to the area. Then, peel off as much of the sap as you can.

Step 2

Work rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer into any remaining tree pitch left on the clothing.

Step 3

Soak the sap with a bug-repellent spray, which also will remove pitch from windows. Try this if other methods have not worked.

Step 4

Rinse the clothing in cool water, then wash it as you normally do. Do not wash other items of clothing with the affected clothing.

Things You'll Need

  • Mayonnaise
  • Butter
  • Peanut butter
  • Alcohol-based nail polish remover or hand sanitizer
  • Hot water and soap
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Ice
  • Bug repellent


  • Gardening Know-How: How to Remove Tree Sap

Who Can Help

  • GNM Parents: How to Remove Tree Sap
Keywords: remove tree pitch, rid of sap, get pitch out clothes

About this Author

April Sanders has been a writer and educator for 11 years. She is a published curriculum writer and has provided academic content for several subscription databases. Sanders holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in social psychology and a Master's degree in information sciences and technology.