The Best Ways to Clean Up Christmas Tree Needles in Your House

The Best Ways to Clean Up Christmas Tree Needles in Your House

(Image credit: Johner Images/Getty Images)

A live Christmas tree instantly fills your home with holiday cheer — and pine needles. They land on your furniture and floor the minute you bring the tree into your house, and launch themselves into the far corners of your living room as soon as you take off the plastic netting. The branches deposit them little by little for weeks, then make one last stand at the end, showering pine needles everywhere, as you wrestle the tree out the door once its time is past.

I like to think the tree is just leaving me little reminders of the holiday season to enjoy for months to come.

That being said, you've got to clean up those pine needles, but since the buggers are larger than normal debris and can be sticky, too, it's not your standard cleaning job. Here are a few methods that might work for you.

To Prevent Too Many Needles from Falling in the First Place

Cut down on how much you have to clean later and try these tips to minimize the amount and breadth of pine needles throughout the house.

1. Make a path.

Before you bring your tree into your home for the first time, move furniture out of the way and roll back any carpets you'll travel over to reduce the risk of brushing up against something (shedding needles) and dropping them onto a surface that's harder to clean.

2. Keep it fresh.

The tree is cut and will inevitably shed, but you can hold that off a little longer by watering it often — maybe a few times the first few days, then about once a day later on. And try to keep it in a cooler spot (like near a window instead of by a heating vent).

3. Minimize traffic.

Place the tree in an out-of-the-way spot where it won't be bumped by kids, grown-ups, or animals and drop those needles. If you can, keep it away from furniture and carpets, as those are harder to clean than, say, hardwood floors.

The 3 Best Tools for Cleaning Up Christmas Tree Needles

1. A vacuum attachment

Don't run your vacuum right over the pine needles! They can jam up the roller brushes and potentially ruin your vaccum forever. Instead, use the hose or crevice attachment on your vacuum. And make sure you put a new bag in or empty the canister first, as they can fill up pretty quickly with the bulky needles.

2. A rubber broom

Your standard bristle broom can have trouble picking up all those pine needles, but a rubber broom corrals them easily. If you don't have a rubber broom, I've found that getting on my hands and knees with a dust brush works pretty well — especially if you're doing it fairly often.

3. Lint rollers

For upholstery or isolated spots on your carpeting, use a fresh disposable lint roller. I wouldn't recommend it for the entire floor, because you'll have to replace the sheets often and that'll get pricey, but it's good for spot treatments. You can also DIY one by wrapping duct tape inside-out around your hand.

Tip: The key with all of these is to clean early and often, every day if you can. The more those pine needles pile up, the harder they will be to clean.

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