Quickest way to remove sap?

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by Regina Cozzi

It’s that time of year again, time to split and stack the firewood and start moving it indoors.

Although most people wear gloves when doing this, at some point or another you will get sap on your hands, or arms, or clothes…

…or your kids will get some on them while playing. It’s inevitable.
So what’s the quickest way to remove sap?

Forget scrubbing with soap and water. Simply add a few drops of hand sanitizer on your hands and rub. The sap will dissolve instantly!

How does this work? Most hand sanitizers are alcohol based, they consist of water and isopropanol or ethanol (a.k.a. ethyl alcohol).

Sap contains water, sugar, nutrients and minerals. The combination of these compounds and the resulting physical and chemical properties, make it difficult to remove with just water (or even soap and water).

Water can dissolve many compounds, however the chemical properties of ethanol allow it to dissolve a much greater variety of compounds. In other words, when trying to dissolve sap, a mixture of ethanol and water works best.

Caution: Alcohol based sanitizers are flammable… so wait until your hands are completely dry before starting a fire in your wood stove or fireplace.

Thank you to James Cormier, PhD from the StFX Chemistry Dept. for sharing his knowledge on the subject.

Happy stacking!

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