Artificial Christmas trees are designed to last for many years. No need to repurchase or take too much time picking the perfect one, buy once and pack it away for next Christmas. But the key to how long your tree lasts is how well you care for it. Yes, your artificial Christmas may not need watering or pruning, but it should be cleaned.
There are branches, a trunk, and a base to think about, and if your tree is pre-lit, well that’s another task. Cleaning a tree can be time-consuming, but it is relatively simple. We’ve bought in an expert for a few tips and tricks to help get the job done quickly and efficiently. Before you know it, you’ll have your artificial Christmas tree fresh for the big day, and beyond. And if you're a real-tree household instead, you'll want to read our advice on how to keep a Christmas tree alive for longer (opens in new tab) so you can make the most out of this season's sparkling centerpiece.
How often should you clean a Christmas tree?
Keeping a tree in a box for a long period of time can expose it to heat, moisture, and even pests. So it’s important to clean your tree at least twice. We’d recommend cleaning it first when you take it out of storage and again before you pack it away. There’s also no harm in giving it an additional clean before your layer on the trimmings too.
How to clean an artificial Christmas tree
For the best results, follow this step-by-step guide from Christmas tree expert and environment activist at Hassle Free Christmas tree (opens in new tab), Christina Hill:
1. Find a cleaning zone
Start by deciding where you’re going to clean your artificial tree. You’ll need enough space that is well-lit to see what you’re doing. We’d also suggest protecting the floor with a dust sheet or even newspaper.
2. Collate your cleaning gear
Then gather your tools, including a step ladder and a cleaning cloth such as a microfibre duster.
Christina Hill’s top tip here is, “to use either a white or light-colored cloth to avoid any potential dye bleeding onto the branches, especially if you have a white tree”. She also advises “against using a feather duster as feathers are prone to falling out or leaving particles as you clean”.
3. Steer clear of harsh chemicals
“There’s no need for any harsh cleaning products,” says Christina, “as water can lead to mold if your tree doesn't dry properly, and natural cleaners may contain chemicals that could cause the branches to fade.”
4. Pay close attention to any damage
Before you give some elbow grease, Christina advises to “check the foliage and any parts of the tree that need are damaged or may need extra attention. If you have lights, then ensure the wires are detangled to make the job easier”.
5. Clean from top to bottom
Now to get cleaning. Start from top to bottom. Stand on your step ladder and reach for the inside of each branch, gently pulling the cloth towards the outer tips. “If you’re cleaning at the end of the season, this method will also help you slim down the branches to easily pack them away back in the box” adds Christina.
6. Don't forget the stand
When you reach the bottom, give the tree stand a good wipe too. Christina also says “You can do this throughout the time your tree is out on display to prevent dirt from building up.”
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