How To Wash And Clean Pine Cones

In this article we see how to clean up pine cones fallen from trees and make them suitable for use in Christmas decorations.

Wash and clean the pine cones

When Christmas is coming, you may often see this or that tutorial that suggests the use of common pine cones to decorate the tree or the table.

Almost always we find ourselves not having them available and having to go and buy them; although simple, this choice is not a great idea, especially since they are often sold at a fairly high price.

Finding pine cones is not that difficult, even in city parks.

The best thing would be to collect them one year for another and then have time to let them dry all summer and be ready for Christmas.

Unfortunately this is not always possible and then there is always the need to have to store the pine cones in addition to balls, tree, lights, etc..

The best thing is then take a walk and try to collect, absolutely free, some pine cones.

It may happen that, due to the wet season, the pine cones are wet and dirty and therefore it is necessary to clean them to avoid bringing into the house mold, bacteria and maybe even some insects.

If the season is dry going to collect pine cones will be more pleasant but this does not exempt us, however, from cleaning them.

From picking to cleaning

The advantage of going to pick pine cones in person is that we can choose exactly the ones we need, both in terms of number and size.

fallen pine conesThe more open and well-formed the pine cones are, the better the success of our DIY work will be.

Technically, however, it may be more convenient to pick up pine cones that look more closed and shiny because this indicates that they have fallen recently and therefore have not been on the ground for a long time.

After having summarily brushed them with a laundry brush, they can be left on the floor and in a dry place waiting for the next step.

Brushing has the task of removing coarse impurities and even that little bit of resin that is more present on recently fallen pine cones.

Washing pine cones

Pine cones should be washed and disinfected.

Inside pine cones can accumulate bacteria and even small insects that nobody would like to bring into the house.

Washing consists in soaking pine cones in a basin where we will have mixed 1 cup of vinegar together with about 5 liters of water.

Vinegar has a quite persistent smell and therefore you can replace vinegar with the same amount of mild bleach.

The pine cones should be left to soak in this solution for a whole day.

Try to place a weight so that the pine cones remain immersed in the liquid since they will tend to come to the surface, but make sure this weight is not excessive to avoid crushing them, it must only keep them below the surface of the water.

After a day has passed, remove the pine cones from the soaking and rinse them under running water, this will also remove some of the vinegar's smell.

Let the pine cones drain in the open air to remove excess water.

The step in the oven

Pine cones left to soak will naturally tend to close up and the beauty of the pine cone is in being nice and open.

In order to make them open again it is necessary to let them dry completely and, if you do not have the time to wait for natural drying, the best way is to force this drying by putting them in the oven.

Heat the oven to 80 degrees and after having placed the pinecones on a baking tray on the bottom of which you have laid a sheet of aluminum foil, place the tray in the oven and leave the pinecones in the oven for about 15 minutes.

NB: try never to leave the oven and keep an eye on the pinecones to prevent them from catching fire, removing them as soon as you notice that the pinecones are open. Remember that pine cones are excellent natural fire starters, so it is better not to risk it.

The passage in the oven will allow the complete drying of the pine cones but will also eliminate any pests that may be left inside, making our pine cones ready to be used for our decorations.

This video summarizes all the steps to follow to wash and clean pine cones.

DIY Editor
Do-it-yourself enthusiast. I started with the renovation of my flat and then I changhed this passion into my job.