Cleaning an Artificial Christmas Tree

Many families use an artificial tree to safe money or because they believe it is better for the environment. Because these trees can be used year after year they will need to be cleaned periodically to retain their fresh appearance. This is a page about cleaning an artificial Christmas tree.

A while back I wrote in asking if anyone knew how to turn a yellowed artificial Christmas tree white again. It looked fine at night all lighted, but during the day it was just yellow.

Because it was fiber optic and didn't have any open sockets, I placed it in the bathtub and sprayed it with a mixture of bleach and water two times letting it set 30 minutes each time. I gave it a good final rinse and then took it outside and dried it with my leaf blower. Total transformation.

By Lorraine from Manchester, MO

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5 Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

December 11, 2004

As I unpacked my tree, I noticed that there are brown stains on certain branches. Thought maybe it was from the box, also considered nicotine. Anyone had this experience? How would I clean?



By Barbie (Guest Post)
December 12, 20040 found this helpful

I would try simple soaking in a vinegar bath and swishing......maybe add a little dish soap......bleach may yellow it, so I'd avoid that unless recommended by the maufacturer.......

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By s'no white (Guest Post)
January 8, 20050 found this helpful

I have same problem, just certain branches. Any good resolutions to this problem? Perhaps store in blue paper like wedding dresses?

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By Grammy (Guest Post)
November 24, 20070 found this helpful

what causes the white branches to turn yellow? could packing it using blue paper and wrapping it in a white sheet help or not?
thanks so much

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January 6, 20110 found this helpful

Cleaning: Mix equal parts of peroxide and hot water in a spray bottle. Mist thoroughly and let stand for 5 minutes. Then spray again and wipe with white cloth. Removes nicotine stains and cardboard staining. May need to be repeated.
Preventing yellowing: Line box with white trash bag and put a box of refrigerator baking soda in box with tree.

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December 14, 2011

My aunt bought an artificial tree that was at one time "white". Now I guess from age, or exposure to the sun it has turned a dismal cream color.

The tree is wired with lights so it is not an option to just douse it in a bleach/soap solution. Please help!

By Lorraine


December 14, 20110 found this helpful

You could try to re-flock the tree by spraying with one of those artificial snow aerosol cans & the inside areas perhaps could be touched up with white paint, fabric paint? Before you spray?

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November 17, 2008

The branches of my white Christmas tree turned yellow. How can I get rid of this?

cll from Dallas, Texas


November 18, 20080 found this helpful

Maybe instead of worrying about making it white again. Turn it into something entirely different. Have a Cream-colored tree instead!
I am imagining that it isn't really a true " yellow," but is that soft cream color that white items often have after a while. You might start a new fad!
There are a lot of ornaments in new colors. The colors might really POP against that cream color. But, if you are determined to have a white tree....maybe you should take the tree outside, and use some spray paint on it. That should return the white color. Stick a branch, or group of branches into a cardboard box. You can spray both sides.

But read the label FIRST to see if it can be used on the tree branches. Maybe spray a bit on the portion that your tree topper usually covers, so it will be inconspicuous if it ain't too pretty! And make sure that the paint you choose, can be used outdoors when the temperature is below 72 degrees. : )

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November 19, 20080 found this helpful

I had the same problem, and I had stored it properly. I tried power washing it, but ended up trashing it. If it had yellowed uniformly I would have considered using it, but of course it didn't.

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November 19, 20080 found this helpful

Remember the silver trees with the revolving colored lights from the sixties? Buy a color revolving light. Then your tree can be red, green, yellow or blue when set on still. Or go retro and let it revolve all four colors. No one will ever know its true color! Happy Holidays!

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By Nicole (Guest Post)
December 1, 20080 found this helpful

Mine has done the same and I am spray painting it right now with Rustoleum paint for plastic furniture.

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December 9, 20080 found this helpful

My tree did this also. Just curious; did you have your tree in front of a window because I am wondering if it's from being in the sun or something. I would like to know what causes this. I plan to replace mine but don;t want this happening again!

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By Janet in Pennsylvania (Guest Post)
December 18, 20080 found this helpful

Much to my dismay I took my white christmas tree from it's box in a dark basement, only to find it horribly discolored yellow in different spots. I called the store and they are willing to give me store credit (no receipt). I'm not going through the hassle of cleaning it up.

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November 23, 20090 found this helpful

It turned yellow because it turned old. I had a super Nintendo (an old video game console from 1990's) and it turned yellow too. That purple thing on it, when you move it up and down, you can see the white under it. Now the reason this happen was because it wasn't properly stored.

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December 4, 2007

Does anyone have any idea how to clean an artificial Christmas tree? We have had one for about 5 years and it is horribly dirty and dusty.


December 4, 20070 found this helpful

You might be able to use your garden hose to clean off the tree. Then move the tree into your garage so the branches don't develop ice cycles while sitting in the cold air.

My sister-in-law and her husband hated to decorate their artificial tree every year. So after the Christmas season they laid a large white sheet over the decorated tree and raised it up into their attic.

Then the following Christmas they lowered the tree from the attic and they had a ready decorated tree.

My sister-in-law and her husband are divorced, but the decorated Christmas tree had nothing to do with their marriage problems. LOL! :o)

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December 4, 20070 found this helpful

air blow it. if you have a air compresser set your psi real high at 50-60 psi and blow it real good.

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December 4, 20070 found this helpful

If your blow dryer has a cool setting use that.

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December 5, 20070 found this helpful

That is a great, worksaving idea!
Maybe they had a war about who dreamed up that brilliant idea! LOL

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December 6, 20070 found this helpful

If you have a good vacuum cleaner, use it with a light brushing.

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December 9, 20070 found this helpful

I was thinking that you could use the same principle in cleaning your tree as I've seen listed many places for cleaning artificial flowers.
Place the tree in a large bag, sprinkle with salt, tie closed and shake. Untie, shake off excess salt and remove the bag. It is suppose to remove the dust and dirt.
I think it's worth a try.

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December 17, 20070 found this helpful

Lay the branches in the bath filled with warm mildly soapy water, so stand it up in the shower and turn on the water.

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January 6, 20110 found this helpful

The best way to clean a tree (not prelit) is to use 1/2 cup of white vinegar to 1 gallon of warm water. Use a lint free cloth and wring it out and wipe off branches. Will dry quickly and once dry, vinegar smell disappears, and smells so clean. To keep fresh and free of insects and humidity, mix 1/2 tsp of baking soda and 1/2 tsp of borax in a cheesecloth and tie shut; put in box with tree. This prevents any water damage to tree and does not void warranty. Then the next Christmas, all you have to do is decorate!

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