How to Remove Tree Sap From Your Shoes

Don't ditch your kicks over a bit of sap.

Photo: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Spending the day in the great outdoors or attending a chic garden party might leave you feeling refreshed and sun-kissed, but sap is a sticky reminder that you may have gotten a little bit too cozy with Mother Nature in your adventures. Sap is not just a frustrating nuisance to have stuck to your shoes; it can also damage the material if you don't get rid of it ASAP. Whether you're cleaning off your faithful tennies or trying to salvage a treasured pair of pumps, a few tricks will have your kicks sap-free in no time.

Cloth or Canvas


Wet a soft cloth with an alcohol-based cleanser. Check your cabinets for hand sanitizer, nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol; any of these will do the trick.


Dab the sap-affected area of your shoe with the wet cloth. Focus on pressing the cloth into the sticky spot so that the alcohol gets full penetration.


Toss the sneakers into your washing machine the next time you do a load. Make sure you clean excess dirt off the soles to avoid turning your laundry into a mud bath.


Do a sap check before you throw your shoes into the dryer. If they are still sticky, repeat Steps 1 through 3.


Dry your shoes with your load of laundry.



Scoop a teaspoon of smooth peanut butter from the jar. If you are short on peanut butter, regular old butter will work, too.


Spread the peanut butter onto the sap. Start massaging with a soft cloth in circular motions to work the butter into the sap.


Wipe away the peanut butter with clean cloth after two minutes of rubbing and test the sap area. If it's still sticky, try again. If it's smooth and shiny, you're done.



Pluck off as much of the excess sap as possible with a pair of tweezers. Keep a cloth handy for wiping down the ends of the tweezers as you work.


Toss your shoes in the freezer for half an hour. The sap will freeze and become brittle.


Repeat your plucking treatment. The sap should be easier to remove once its frozen.


Scratch away stubborn sap with a pencil eraser. Apply gentle pressure to avoid warping the color of the suede.

Things You'll Need


1.Soft cloth

3.Peanut butter or butter

2.Hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover



Tips & Tricks


If the sap won't budge, try a cleaner specifically designed to break down glue residue. Be aware, though, that cleaning off the residue from the cleaner may take several trips through the washing machine, so don't test this method on suede or leather shoes.

Alcohol can strip color out of fabric, so don't use alcohol on any shoe that's been dyed.


Related Videos




Mrs. Clean's House Cleaning & Maid Service: Cleaning Suede
"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cleaning"; Mary Findley, et al.; 2006 "Green Cleaning for Dummies"; Elizabeth Goldsmith, et al.; 2008

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