Black Friday just went down. I noticed blue lights on a house the other day. The feel-good stories have started airing on the news. Soup kitchens throw on an extra pot. Bells ring at the local big box store. And the Sunday paper requires two people to carry it in from the front sidewalk to he house. It is beginning to look at lot like Christmas. Before long we will buy or cut a fresh tree to place in the front window. It’s an odd custom isn’t it, but I love it. Nothing beats the smell of fresh pine in the house. Add the lights and tinsel, and you can create a little magic right in the front room.

If you haven’t prepared properly, that magic can quickly fade. I provide carpet cleaning in Portland and often get calls after Christmas. It’s about this time that the homeowner takes the tree out and notices a couple of post-Christmas leftovers on their carpet. They might see a rust stain left from the tree stand. They will almost always see sap left from the tree.

How does one remove tree sap from one’s carpet? Very carefully. Actually I know three ways to effectively rid your carpet of sap.

  1. Ice, freon or a freon substitute. Janitors usually have a can of CO2 on their cart. It sprays extremely cold. They use it to remove gum tracked onto the carpet from the outside. The CO2 freezes the gum, it cracks, and you gently scrape it off the fiber. You can do the same thing with tree sap. In the old days they actually used tree sap to make gum. The sap will crack. You can usually just vacuum up the pieces. You can use ice to do the same thing, but it is much slower and more messy. I’d shop for the canned stuff.
  2. Dry cleaning fluid will dissolve tree sap. I would use a dull spoon to gently scrape off the excess sap. Dampen a rag with the dry cleaning fluid. Gently wipe the carpet fibers from the base to the top of the strands. Don’t scrub. The fluid will dissolve the sap.. Most carpets today hold their color well even against petroleum solvents, but it never hurts to test prior on scrape or in a corner of the closet. You can use lighter fluid, but it stinks and leaves an oily residue which you then have to clean with soap.
  3. How to Clean Stuff – How to-Remove Tree Sap from Carpet recommends alcohol. Alcohol dries sap making it brittle. Dribble alcohol on the sap with a dropper. Let it dry. The alcohol will penetrate the sap. It may take several applications and drying time between dribbles.

You could avoid all the hassles above by taking some precautions prior to setting up the tree. Put a throw under the tree to prevent rust, catch the inevitable needles, and protect your carpet from sap. They have several decorative throws available at any discount store. If worse comes to worse, you can toss the throw and get a new one next year.

Hope this information is helpful. Until next time…Sean!