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Q:

How do I remove tree sap from a Gore-Tex shell?

Do you have any tips, or can you recommend any sources of information, on how to remove tree sap from the outside of a Goretex XCR shell? Thanks!

(Pontus Edenberg via Shutterstock)

Do you have any tips, or can you recommend any sources of information, on how to remove tree sap from the outside of a Goretex XCR shell? Thanks!

A:

That does come up on occasion. Darn trees they just don't show any respect for our high-priced outdoor gear. And it's an XCR shell, so a pretty new one. Shame to have sticky crap all over it.

I'd suggest an escalating range of cleaning tecniques. For starters, put the thing in a freezer. That's right, a freezer. Let it sit for an hour, then take it out. While it's still very cold try to gently scrape the now-hardened pitch with a dull knife. Most of it might just flake right off.

If that doesn't work, then got to a hardware store and buy some water-based Goof-Off, an excellent paint remover that's fairly mild yet works on a reasonably wide range of substances. Give that a try. I'd shy away from the solvent-based Goof-Off (the cans are marked with ingredients), although you might try some on a discrete portion of the jacket to see if it works. For that matter, any solvent-based cleaners (most spot removers, for instance) probably should be avoided.

Next: Gasoline. That sounds extreme, but your jacket almost certainly has a nylon face fabric. Nylon is made from petroleum, so, of course, is gasoline. So there's considerable chemical affinity between the two substances. Just pour a little gasoline on a soft rag, and rub away. That should do it, if nothing else does.

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