How to Remove Tree Sap from a Wood Deck


Penny asked: How do I remove tree sap from a wooden deck? How would I remove pine tree sap from a wood deck that has already been stained. I am planning to redo the deck by cleaning it and restaining it. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.

Pine trees are notorious for dripping their sticky juices onto any and all surfaces below. This tree sap can create a stubborn mess, but fortunately, you have several effective options for cleaning it from an outdoor deck.

You Will Need:


Steps to Remove the Stain:

  1. Following all label precautions, apply the deck stripper to the affected areas of the wood. You can either pour it on or use the brush to coat the sap. If you apply with the brush, be sure to work with the grain of the wood.
  2. Wait 10-15 minutes. This allows time for the stripper to saturate the sap so that it can be removed. If the stains are thick and/or large areas, it may need to soak a little longer.
  3. Scrub the sap with the brush, working with the wood grain. The sap has likely soaked into the grooves of the wood, so it may take some time and effort to remove it completely.
  4. Repeat as needed.
  5. Once the sap is gone, rinse the deck completely with water.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Always work with the grain of the wood. Scrubbing or brushing across the grain will leave marks that will likely remain visible, even if you restain or refinish the deck.
  • Deck stripper can be purchased at any hardware or home improvement store.
  • You may use any of the following products in place of the deck stripper: all purpose stain remover, mineral spirits or Murphy Oil Soap. Use the same basic method for cleaning. Do not use more than one product at a time. If the first one does not work, rinse the area thoroughly and allow it to dry before applying another cleaning product.
  • When selecting a brush, choose one with stiff bristles, but gentle enough that it won’t damage the surface. Do not use a wire brush on wood. The wire will gouge and mark the surface.
  • If you have a large amount of sap to remove from a stained or finished deck, spread Murphy Oil Soap with a mop or pour it directly onto the sap.  Wait about 15 minutes before scrubbing it with a cloth scouring pad.  Clean WITH the grain of the wood, then rinse with water once the sap is gone.  In a pinch or for small jobs, you can use peanut butter instead.


  1. I have also used tea tree oil for this. I was painting pine molding in our backyard on sawhorses one hot day, and got sap drippings all over the trim! I used tea tree oil on a few makeup pads, and it removed each sap dripping like a dream! I have also used it for getting non-water soluble paint off my hands instead of paint thinner.

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