How to Clean a Christmas Tree

The holidays are upon us – And if you’re one of the millions of Americans who leave their Christmas tree up long past the special day, you’ll probably notice it starting to get a little dustier. Or… Maybe you’re putting it up again for the first time in years, and it isn’t quite as clean as you remember. What about live trees? Do live Christmas trees need to be cleaned? If you’re wondering how to clean Christmas trees or why you should do it, this is the article for you!

About Live Trees

While live trees are mostly a “set it and forget it” approach, you’ll want to stay on top of sweeping up pine needles that fall. Before bringing the tree inside, you’ll want to be sure it’s clean and be aware that it may be bringing pollen into the home that can upset allergens and may be susceptible to molding if parts of the tree get too damp – Especially at the base or near the walls. It’s better not to let these sit and wilt away! Chop it up and use it for firewood if you have to, but don’t let it go to mold, and you should be fine.

How to Clean Artificial Christmas Trees

While the plastic or vinyl options are generally easier to take care of than live trees, they do need some “TLC” to stay looking their best and attract lots of irritants like dust and dander. First thing’s first: It’s best to clean your tree before you store it, but if you’re setting it up and need to clean it, you can do it as you set it up.

Usually, it’s easiest to clean the tree before it’s all put together. If you have a pre-lit tree, make sure it’s unplugged, and make sure there are no lights and ornaments on the tree’s parts. A handheld or canister vacuum is useful for going over each of the branches of your tree, then filling a bucket with warm water and a tiny bit of dish soap.

Using a soft microfiber cloth, gently clean the branches, and wring it out between branches to ensure that you aren’t spreading dirt and dust from branch to branch. Then, let it dry completely before you decorate or store it. You can (and should) also use a brush attachment with any vacuums that you use, or use a finishing brush to make sure all dust and loose debris are free of your newly cleaned tree.

Once It’s Set Up

How do you clean a tree that’s already decorated? Well, you could take all the decorations off, but if that’s too much of a hassle, carefully and lightly dust with a duster and vacuum around the tree. It’s important to keep up to date with your cleaning around the house – Cutting down on dust in the air will cut down on dust on your tree!

Storing Your Christmas Tree

It’s a good idea to clean your tree again before storing it. And once it’s cleaned, how should you store it? One of the rookie mistakes is to keep it in the original box. Please don’t do it! Settle for an air-tight plastic container that will keep dust and pets out and stay in good condition for far longer than the original cardboard, which will mold, rip, develop holes, and attract pests. Fold your parts with care, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and store your tree somewhere that it won’t get bumped around or suffer fluctuations in temperature. In other words, avoid the garage!