Skip to content
Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Removing pine sap

By Dr. Laundry January 3, 2013

After taking down our Christmas tree, our clothes have little drops of pine sap in multiple places. Is this considered a stain, or can I simply wash them with detergent?

Christmas trees are a wonderful Christmas tradition, but unfortunately pine sap is a very difficult stain to remove with typical laundry treatments. I would recommend trying to treat the stains directly with De-Solv-it® or Goo Gone®, which you can find at hardware stores. I would not expect a problem with using these products on the items, but I would first check for colorfastness by applying a drop of the products to a hidden part of the garments, rinse, and blot dry. If there is no color change, spray or rub a little into the sap and then wash with detergent in the hottest water temperature allowed on the care label. Allow to air dry and check for success. Air drying is very important since the heat from the dryer can permanently set sap stains. In order to do everything you can to increase your chances of success, you may need to repeat the treatment to fully remove the stains. This may include increasing the length of time you pretreat the stains.