How To Remove Pine Resin Tar

Pine resin tar makes a sticky mess whether it is on fabric, upholstery, carpet, or another surface. It is easily tracked in from outdoors, and can ruin any surface it touches, because it can be difficult to remove. Here’s how to remove pine resin tar:

  1. Soak the stain in a solvent or detergent. Make sure that the solution is able to soak into the surface, reaching the bottom of the stain. Liquid laundry detergent or pre-treat stain remover works well for this, but you may want to spot-test a small area first if you are not trying to remove pine resin tar from fabric that you know can handle the detergent. Rubbing alcohol, paint thinner, or turpentine may also work, though again it may not be safe for all surfaces. Blot with a clean cloth until the stain is lifted.
  2. Do not allow to dry. As with most stains, pine resin tar is easier to remove when the stain is still wet. If you let it dry, it will be much harder to remove. Make sure the stain is gone before allowing the section to dry. If it is impossible to launder it right away, soak it in water to keep the stain from drying before you have a chance to wash it.
  3. Launder, if possible. If the item can be laundered, wash it in hot water now. Otherwise, use clean water to rinse the detergent from the affected area.
  4. Check to see if the stain is gone. Between washing and drying the item, make sure the stain has disappeared. If it hasn’t, repeat steps 1 through 3 until the stain is gone. Again, do not dry the item unless the stain is no longer there, because this will “set in” the stain and make it much more difficult to remove.
  5. Dry the item. As long as the stain is gone, it is now time to dry the item. No special care needs to be taken, since the pine resin tar has been removed. Dry as you normally would, either in the dryer or with a clean cloth, depending on the surface.

Wood tar is notoriously difficult to remove because it is both oily/waxy and dark. You’ll need to remove the pine resin tar residue as well as the dark stain.  If you follow these steps, you will be able to remove pine resin tar from most surfaces.


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