How to Clean Up Christmas Tree Needles

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The tree's up, the lights are twinkling—but what's the best way to pick up Christmas tree needles littering your floor?

There’s nothing like the smell of fresh pine and an afternoon spent decorating the Christmas tree to get into the holiday spirit. But along with ushering in the holidays, it also means needles scattered throughout the house.

What’s the best way to pick up Christmas tree needles? Use the right method and it’s easier than you think!

Can You Vacuum Up Christmas Tree Needles?

While your vacuum cleaner might get a lot of use during holiday cleaning, it should get a break around the tree. Christmas tree needles are sticky and vacuuming them up can jam the roller brushes, permanently ruining your vacuum.

If you don’t have another option, sprinkle baking soda on the needles first to soak up the sap (wait 10 minutes) to help make things easier for the vacuum.

Other Ways to Clean Up Christmas Tree Needles

There are plenty of alternatives to make cleaning up after the tree a quick and simple process.

Set aside your regular broom. A rubber broom like this does a better job sweeping up the sticky needles than natural bristles.

If you’d prefer not to add more cleaning supplies to your closet, opt for the crevice attachment on your handheld vacuum. Keep an eye on the dirt bin, since the needles can fill it up quickly. For smaller areas, use a lint roller to tidy the floor, or wrap some packing tape around your hand and use the sticky side to pick up any needles. (This is one of our favorite hacks for needles stuck to the carpet, too.)

To add some extra holiday spirit to your decorating and minimize cleanup, dress up the base of the Christmas tree with a tree skirt. Carefully take it outside and shake out any loose needles.

However you decide to tackle the cleanup, incorporate picking up Christmas tree needles into your everyday routine. It will help you avoid having needles hanging out around the house in June!

How to Prevent Needles from Falling

Our favorite way of cleaning up is minimizing how many needles need to be picked up at all.

To prevent needles from falling, keep your tree hydrated. Water it several times the first few days, and then reduce to once a day. Make sure the tree is in as cool a space as possible and away from any heating vents, and keep a close eye on the water levels if you’re in a hotter climate. Smaller or LED lights produce less heat, which can keep your tree fresh and green for longer.

When moving the tree in and out of the house, roll up rugs and move furniture out of the way, so needles only fall onto the floor and are easy to clean. Set the Christmas tree up in a place where kiddos and pets won’t bump into it, dislodging more needles. And if cleaning up proves to be a headache, it may be time for an alternative Christmas tree!

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Kim Bussing
Kim Bussing is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles. She has written for publications including Reader’s Digest, Modern Farmer, Clean Plates and Vice, among others, and she is working on her first novel. She is always on the hunt for the perfect gluten-free cinnamon roll.