May 25th, 2010

hot weather, tree stumps and a little boy

My son T. likes to play in the front yard around some tree stumps. Today, it was hot -- over 90 degrees. The stumps were weeping pitch or sap or whatever you want to call it. Sticky and nasty and of course he touched his face so he had it on his hands, his face and everything he touched (door handles, the soap dispenser, etc.). What to do?

Soap and water were not particularly helpful. I didn't have any particular ambition to track down whatever the horrible chemical-smelling thing was that my dad used on us when we were kids. So I resorted to olive oil, on the theory that this stuff was probably fat soluble -- after all, pretty much everything that living things make is either water soluble or fat soluble and pitch clearly isn't water soluble.

Worked like a charm. I got a paper towel, poured the oil on it, and got the pitch off the soap dispenser, the door handles and my own hands just fine. I had to wait a while to get the stuff off T.'s face, but that came off just fine, too.

OTOH, he did seem to think the whole process smelled kinda funny.

In any event, if you happen to find yourself attempting to remove tree sap or pitch or whatever from something or someone, oil works great. I'd worry a little about fabric -- oil can be tricky to get back out of clothing.