How to Remove Pine Tree Sap From a Trailer

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Whether you have an RV, a vintage metal trailer, or a canvas tent trailer, maintenance is important in keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape. A common problem with trailers is pine tree sap. When you park your trailer under pines, the trees drip a gooey sap that is difficult to remove. Sap requires a little extra effort, but with knowledge and a scrub brush, you can keep your RV, trailer or tent clean.

Things You'll Need

  • Rags
  • Scrub brush
  • Bleach cleanser
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Vegetable oil
  • Mechanic's hand cleaner

Rinse your ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) or rubber roof RV or trailer. Wet a rag with a kitchen cleanser with bleach, like Soft Scrub or Ajax Cleanser, and apply it to the pine sap. Scrub with a scrub brush and rinse thoroughly. Avoid getting the cleanser on the sides of the trailer, because it may make permanent streaks.

Remove pine sap from your metal trailer with rubbing alcohol. Moisten a rag with rubbing alcohol and rub the sap. If it does not wipe off, lay the rag over the spot for two or three minutes to let the alcohol soak in, then scrub the sap with a plastic scrub brush. Wash it off with soap and water, and rinse thoroughly.

Rub vegetable oil on the trailer canvas to remove pine sap. Scrub gently with a scrub brush. If the sap does not come off, use a tablespoon of mechanic's hand cleaner. Rub it onto the sap with a clean rag. After removing the sap, wash the spot with soap and water. Reapply waterproofing to the canvas.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remove pine sap as soon as possible. The longer it remains on the trailer, the harder it is to remove.
  • Let the cleanser or rubbing alcohol do the work for you. Give the cleanser time to soften the sap before you try to scrub it off.
  • Never use a petroleum-based product on an EPDM or rubber roof trailer. It may damage the surface and will void your warranty.
  • Do not use acetone, fingernail polish remover, or other solvents on rubber or painted metal.
  • Do not use kerosene or gasoline; they are extremely flammable.

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