Christmas tree: Expert shares advice on caring for trees
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Christmas is drawing closer and with less than one day left of November, the time has come for many Brits to put up the Christmas tree. Real pine trees are unbeaten when it comes to their festive scent and stunning aesthetic, but these organic Christmas emblems don’t come mess-free. Fallen pine needles and tree sap are a daily battle through the winter holiday season – but with these cleaning hacks, your home can stay cleaner for longer while looking fresh and festive right through to the new year.
How to remove pine sap
The scent of a real Christmas tree will fill your home with the iconic festive aroma of pine, but it can also leave your home glazed with tree sap.
Garlands, Christmas trees and even fresh wreaths can lead to fallen sap which can cause sticky stains on upholstery, surfaces and even your skin.
Whether it’s your carpets, clothing or furniture covered in stickiness, removing pine sap is easily done with a few simple products to keep your tree free from this pesky Christmas tree residue.
How to remove tree sap from upholstery
Carpet fibres and soft furnishings can fall victim to sticky tree sap when your Christmas tree towers over your living room floor and furniture.
The key to removing sticky pine sap from upholstery is to lubricate the stain using mild dish soap, mineral oil, and water for a deep clean.
Apply a small amount of the liquid onto the sap stain and rub gently with a dry cloth.
Rinse with warm water and a damp cloth before leaving to dry.
For heavier fabrics like denim or flannel shirts, WD-40 works well to treat the stain and can be gently buffed into the fabric to rub it clean.
Loosen the sap with a dry cloth and rinse with warm water before treating the stain with liquid detergent and washing on a short cycle.
Cotton or fleece is best treated with mineral oil which can be used to loosen the sap before washing the fabric.
Always test the cleaning agent on an inconspicuous patch of the fabric before treating a larger area.
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How to clean up fallen pine needles from a Christmas tree
Fallen pine needles can leave your home looking cluttered and can quickly spread from under your tree, right around the house if gathered by footwear.
Despite ‘non-drop’ varieties claiming to keep pine needles firmly on your Christmas tree, many of us are still plagued by these sharp needles weeks after the festive season comes to an end.
There are plenty of ways to gather pine needles from your floor and furniture – you can even prevent excess fallout from happening in the first place.
Vacuum pine needles
Vacuuming pine needles is a quick and simple way to gather cluttered debris from your home, but there are a few things to remember to avoid ruining your vacuum.
- Always use the detail or crevice tool to gather fallen pine needles to increase the suction and target even the most deep-rooted needles in carpet fibres
- Never use the brush head – especially on hard floors, as this can send them flying across the room and make matters worse
- Empty the bag regularly to avoid blockages and work on small sections at a time
Duct tape for fallen pine needles
If you’re wrapping presents and spot a few fallen needles on the floor, simply use duct tape or sellotape to stick to the needles before peeling away and throwing the pine-covered tape away.
Lint roller for Christmas tree needles
Lint rollers can gather large quantities of fallen tree needles from soft furnishings and clothing in just a fraction of the time it takes to use tape.
Rubber brushes can gather deep rotted pet hair and Christmas tree needles thanks to the stiff bristles.
Use a firm grip to pull away needles dug into carpets and vacuum to finish the job.
How to prevent Christmas tree needle drop
According to Gardeners’ World, there are a few key preventative measures you should take when preparing your Christmas tree.
These simple steps could make all the difference to the fall-out of your Christmas tree, leaving less pine needles to clean up over the festive season.
Gardeners’ World recommends:
- Checking that needles are firmly attached to the branches when buying your tree
- Looking for a pale, sawn base when buying a tree – this means it has been freshly harvested and will keep for a while
- Choose a good variety – Nordmann fir or citrus-scented Douglas fir are more expensive but they hold their needles well
- Keep yoour tree in a bucket of water in a cool, shady spot before decorating
- Shake the tree before bringing it inside to dislodge loose needles
- Saw a few centimetres off the bottom of the tree trunk to maximise water absorption
- Keep your tree watered to prevent it from dyring out and shedding excess needles
- Keep away from heat sources
- Use low heat fairy lights
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