How to clean an artificial Christmas tree

Woman hoovering under an artificial christmas tree.
(Image credit: Getty)

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 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, 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. 

What the expert says...

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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Louise Oliphant
Ecommerce Writer

Louise is a contributing writer at Top Ten Reviews. With experience in home eCommerce, Louise worked in PR and communications before joining Future in April 2022. She now writes across Real Homes, Ideal Homes, Livingetc, Homes and Gardens, and Gardeningetc. 

Bringing bags of bedding expertise from her time working for luxury bedding and homeware brands, Louise specializes in sleep content, so you can wind down well. From buying guides and reviews to features and news, Louise is your go-to for getting a great night's sleep. Aside from helping readers get essential shut-eye, Top Ten Reviews’ also allows Louise to write content on vacuums, cleaning and other household need-to-knows. Tidy room, tidy mind, right? Oh, and she certainly won’t snooze on sales, deals, and discounts, or great designer dupes - there’s nothing better than a top-brand bargain in her eyes.  

When she’s not shopping for or trying out the latest home buy, Louise will be at one of the galleries around London. With a BA in Contemporary Art, Louise loves viewing exhibitions and getting inspired for her next artwork. Otherwise, you’ll find Louise decorating the bare space of her newly-rented East London flat, if not in her bed - which is no surprise given how comfy it must be.

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