How To Get Sap Off The Tonneau Cover [4 Easy Solutions]

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Written By Waylon Joe

Hey, It’s Waylon “Joe” Kite here. I am a West Virginia native and a die-hard pickup truck fan. My story with trucks started with my dad’s 1989 Ford F-150, and it's still going on. I'll share all my trucking experiences (both great and gross ones) with you. I have a garage full of tools to fix and renovate trucks and a freezer full of ales. Do you want to join me?

Driving through the wild on your truck is thrilling. But sticky saps on the tonneau cover are literally mood-killing!

Those sparkly pearl-like droplets look fantastic on the trees but not on your favorite truck cover. But it’s already there, and you must figure out how to get sap off the tonneau cover

You can remove sap using warm water, car wash soap, and a soft bristle brush. However, if the saps are from pine trees or super-stubborn, isopropyl alcohol is the best solution. Soften the saps with a towel dipped in alcohol and wipe them away. Use a protectant for additional safety afterward.

There is more for you to keep your truck cover safe from these tree-borne droplets. Stay put for more details.

First Thing First: Soap, Water, and Brush!

The most popular way to remove sap from your tonneau cover is to soften them with warm water, wipe them with car wash soap, and finish touch with a soft bristle brush.

You may find saps solid, but they will soften if you put water. Now it’s easy to wipe them out with car wash soap. Dip a soft towel in the car wash soap solution and wipe the saps.

If you need a finer finish, use a brush to remove the saps from the most challenging areas.

Use a protectant spray at the end to create a protective layer so that no other saps can settle on your tonneau cover. 

Get Sap Off The Tonneau Cover

Isopropyl Alcohol for the Stubborn Saps

Isopropyl alcohol is the next best option for sap removal. You will find a wide variety of isopropyl alcohol in the market.

Try to select the best-reviewed product that is safe for tonneau cover materials. Read the user’s instructions first. It will guide you to work with the product efficiently. 

Stubborn saps stick firmly to the surface. For this reason, a robust alcohol solution is required. Get the strongest 91% solution to remove the sap with minimal effort. 

Be careful with the removal process, so you don’t damage the surface area.

4 Ways To Follow For A Complete Sap Removal Job

Being friendly (to your tonneau cover) and gentle throughout the process is essential. You want to ensure that the vinyl cover stays smooth and polished. 

Also, don’t forget to wash your vehicle right before or after the sap removal. You want your vehicle to be completely free from saps and dirt. Regular maintenance is essential. 

Let us move forward with the methods to apply for the cleaning. 

Softening Up The Sap

Don’t try to take the saps off at one go, be gentle. Too much force or hefty moves will only damage the integrity and durability of the vinyl cover.

Take a paper towel and make it wet with isopropyl alcohol. Make sure the correct amount is applied so that there is no dripping. 

Gently start rubbing off the surface and keep doing so for a few seconds. This is until the sap spot is completely gone.

Think about how much pressure you give while cleaning the window with a wet towel. You need to use the same force.

Why do you need strong alcohol to get sap off?

Over time, the saps can get a little heavy, with tiny pieces of dirt piling up. They get stuck to the sap. If not treated early, this may stretch out the cover materials. 

This is the reason why the strongest alcohol cleaning solution is recommended.

After a few moments of rubbing, stubborn sap will soften up. And they will start coming off, leaving a lot of residues around.

Change the paper towel if you see it getting messy. 

Working Out With One Spot At A Time

The saps will spread all around the cover surface. And there will be wide gaps between them—the patches of saps.

It’s crucial to go for one patch at a time.

Use a new paper towel for each patch. Otherwise, you will simply transfer the mess from one spot to another.

To continue with the method, here are a few things you should avoid doing:

  • Do not dump the alcohol on the vinyl surface. It may destroy the quality of the texture when the solution dries down.
  • Don’t use any type of cloth for the removal. The chemical-induced sap residue may get soaked into the cloth fabric and leave stains behind on the cover.

After a few minutes of rubbing, the entire cover should be free from the saps. Although the fluids are gone, the strong alcohol can leave some patches on the surface.

Wash them with extra water.

If you still find some spots, the next step will help you to remove them.

Repeat With Reduced Alcohol Strength

A good quality isopropyl alcohol will evaporate quickly without degrading the tonneau cover material.

Any harsh solvent may attack the surface, which the isopropyl alcohol won’t do. 

You can put another layer of the alcohol solution on the surface. Do that when the first layer is completely evaporated.

Dilute the alcohol with a 50:50 water ratio. This is only for the second layer.

Take a bigger paper towel to wipe through. Or perhaps you can use a medium-sized soft cloth to complete the process.

When you are done covering the whole surface, wait again for the solution to evaporate. You will see a smooth surface that is as good as new.

Providing A Layer Of Protection

There are many different types of protectants available in the market. It is essential to keep any sapping fluids from cluttering the area. 

These are usually spraying products, just like any spray paint. The cover material will get extra protection to maintain the texture by keeping the saps away.

In addition, to prevent any further sap formation, apply a conditioner. This will prevent the sap from sticking up on the cover surface.

It is a good practice to apply protective layering more frequently. Perhaps, you can do so every week after washing the truck.

These sprays will keep the surface more polished. And humidity, dirt, or any saps won’t affect those surfaces.

It directly adds to the durability factor of the product.

Read also: How To Patch A Hole In A Tonneau Cover?

Some Essential Tonneau Cover Maintenance Tips

Good quality tonneau covers are quite elegant in terms of the outer appearance. The functions of tonneau covers are diverse, including gas mileage and loading efficiency.

To keep any saps or dust away, regular maintenance is essential. Here are a few points to take for the process:

  • Pay close and proper inspections regularly. Look for any damages, scratches, or sap formations whenever you are free.
  • Don’t keep the truck out in the open for long.
  • Do not wash the cover excessively; this may make the fabric thin. When the surface quality is decreased, any saps may just damage the area.
  • Consult with experts or read through any instructions on the company’s website.
  • By understanding the material qualities, you will be more responsible. This is with the different methods of application indicated for sap removal.


Can I use a damp rag to wipe out sap?

You can use a damp rag as an excellent alternative to paper towels. You don’t have to change occasionally; simple cleaning will do. Using a wet rug will not let the tonneau cover material dry out.

How do you remove tree sap from vinyl wraps?

Instead of rubbing the vinyl surface, you can slowly rinse it. You can apply a little denatured alcohol to a warm soapy water mix. You should be using a dry microfiber cloth to work with the process.

Does vinegar help to remove sap?

Yes, you can use vinegar to remove sap. You can apply any vinegar spray by wetting a soft cloth on it. You can rub the cloth throughout the area gently to remove the sap.


The process of sap removal may not carry the same function as removing any dirt. However, you can follow the same guidelines when specific prevention methods are outlined.

Take extra time to work with the cover when you regularly wash the vehicle. Make sure you have the right tools at your disposal.

I hope you will get the maximum benefits out of the processes.

By wishing you all the best; I am signing off.


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