cypress sap on gelcoat

The cypress tree that partially shades the canoe rack has dripped sap on the hull of my shiny new canoe.

This will be an on-going problem, and I want to be very careful not to damage the gelcoat in removing the sticky blob.

I have on hand some Goo Gone, and also rubbing alcohol.

Would either of these be okay, or is there something better?

Try them and see. And when the hull
is clean, consider applying some 3M 09030 Marine Ultra Performance Paste Wax. It protects from UV, and will probably cause tree sap to just pop off with a wipe.

I am beset by pine sap
Acetone works (better) as denatured alcohol. (Take care near plastic). Acetone can be nasty and I would try other possibilities first.

The best is gasoline…dangerous.

You may be able to take a straight razor to remove most of the gunk first. It messes up the blade fast…and be careful to go at a flat angle.

And Mayo? I looked up sap removal and found this link

Yes the Skin so Soft does work…but so slow and my car is So Cruddy…


– Last Updated: Jun-01-09 11:02 PM EST –

If that is going to be an "ongoing" problem, I'd be searching for a solution.

A simple solution:

An inexpensive tarp, rigged so that it covers, but does not come into contact with the hull of the canoe could save you a lot of sap cleaning hassle & time.
Will also protect the hull from UV if the hull is stored outside. You do NOT want the tarp laying on top of the hull, holding moisture between the tarp & the hull. That can create "another" problem.


Turpentine works on all sap from trees, a very similiar product and won’t hurt or discolor the gelcoat.

Bill H.

Naptha works for me.
You can buy a little squirt bottle as Ronsonol lighter fluid. And yeah, you should cover your boat.

Sap is gone,
with a touch of Goo Gone, and more important, the gelcoat is still there.

I do plan to wax my hull as soon as I use up my current bottle of 303. I’d love to put a tarp over the boat, but I’m limited in what I can devise, using the condo’s community boat rack. She’s usually on top of my car anyway, so far only on the rack under the cypress trees when I took my car in for service, and when I took my rec boat to Juniper Creek.

Thanks for your suggestions.

my dumb solution:
Kept the kayak on my roof, deck up. Went to the do-it-yourself car wash. Put the cockpit cover on. Put quarters in. Selected “presoak”, which comes out in a drizzle or light spray if you’re lucky, and spot treated the boat as well as my sap-covered hood and windshield. Wash, rinse, presto! Sap be gone.

Now if I can find a way to shelter my car and boat from all of this pine pollen I’ll be happy.

Another plug for the Bag Lady
Love my BL Canoe Bag.


did she already have the measurements for your boat or did you have to measure? How long does it take to put it on? Do you use it for transport, storage, or both? About how much does it weigh?

Between the almost daily rain, constant high humidity, and paddling 3-4 times a week, my canoe doesn’t dry out much. Would this type cover be feasible, do you think?

Not dumb at all
I’ll have to try that. My car could use some of the attention I lavish on my canoe.

I, too, am a fan…
…of Goo-Gone. It does wonders. However, another alternative is a shot of WD-40. I don’t deal w/cypress sap up here in Wisconsin, but I assume pine sap is similar. As Kayamedic said, softening the sap first and then using a carefully-wielded straight razor blade (preferably in a holder) works very well. Practice somewhere a little hidden before you tackle the most obvious spots. I never follow this advice, of course, but I should!

I don’t do it regularly
…I’m afraid of the presoak, it must be something strong! But so far, doesn’t seem to affect the gelcoat at all.

I used WD40 on my plastic
rec boat, which sits under the same cypress tree, until I discovered Goo Gone, which works faster. I was wary of using it on gel coat, fearing it would dissolve a hole in my boat. I worried about it for a couple of days until the sap was hardened by the sun, and then I steeled myself, screwed my courage to the sticking point, dabbed the Goo Gone Spray Gel on the sap with a paper towel—sap gone, no damage.

Wish all the saps in my life had been so easy to eliminate.