Nothing quite says Christmas like the smell of baking, holiday songs on the radio and of course, the look and smell of a real live Christmas tree. You may be headed out to pick one up soon (if you haven’t already) but there are some things to keep in mind.
Recently we discussed the notion of Christmas tree mould but today we thought we would share from our long experience going in and out of Kitchener/Waterloo homes and offer some tips and tricks for helping prevent the aesthetic damage that a live Christmas tree can do to your home.
The most harm from live Christmas trees that we encounter is that they can quite easily damage the floor, whether that floor is carpeted or hardwood. It doesn’t have to be that way though, as long as you take some precautions to protect your precious hardwood floors from Yuletide damage. Here is how that is easily done:
Before you bring the tree inside your home fold an old blanket into quarters and place it where you intend to put the tree in the room. Next cut or fold a plastic tablecloth and place it over the blanket. Finally add the Christmas tree stand and then everything will be ready for when you have picked that perfect tree. At this time you should also place an old – or inexpensive- bathmat near the door you will be bringing the tree inside through. But more about that later..
Before you bring your Christmas tree into the house shake it – very gently – even if it is covered in netting as many live trees are. This will loosen any very loose needles so that they are not trekked all across your hardwood floors where they could be trodden on and cause scratching.
Now it’s time for that bath mat. Place the base of your Christmas tree on the mat and then slide your tree across the hardwood floor. Fewer needles will fall and you won’t run the risk of dropping it.
Once you have your tree in its base use a pitcher to fill the base with water (carefully) and then you can cover up those hardwood floor protecting blankets and tablecloths with a nice tree skirt.
When all the festivities are over and it’s time for the tree to go the way you have set it up should make it super easy to, after you have drained all the water out, drag the entire setup (tree and stand) on the sheet and tablecloth to the door.
The Tree Sap Issue
With the best will in the world sometimes you just can’t help but get a little tree sap on the floor when a live Christmas tree is involved.
Christmas tree sap, if it gets onto the carpet, or your nice hardwood floor, can seem like it is impossible to remove. That is not the case though, as long as you deal with the stain as quickly as possible (yes it may be days before you notice it) and employ one of the following cleaning methods:
Alcohol CARPET ONLY Not the Christmas cheer variety of course , but clear rubbing alcohol. Before using this method, it is important to test an inconspicuous area of the carpeting to make sure that the alcohol will not discolor the carpet fibers. If you determine it is safe to proceed take a clean cloth dampened with alcohol and blot it gently over the sap stain, then using a second dry cloth blot up the sap that has been loosened by the alcohol before it dries.
Dry Cleaning Solvent CARPET ONLY The method for using dry cleaning solvent to remove sap stains is much the same as that for using alcohol. The same precautionary test should also be employed. The advantage that dry cleaning solvent has over alcohol is that it is far more effective at removing “set in” sap stains, that perhaps you did not notice until you took the tree down.
Dishwashing Liquid CARPET OR HARDWOOD Apply a very small amount of a clear colored liquid dishwashing detergent to the sap stain and scrub sap very gently with a clean cloth moistened with warm water. Continue, using clean rags, until both the sap and the soap have been removed. Removing the soap is every bit as important as removing the sap as if it is left on most carpets it will literally become a dirt magnet. If the stain affected hardwood flooring make sure you blot the area completely dry to prevent water stains.
We have also heard some folks suggest using mayonnaise to remove Christmas tree sap from carpet but this is not a method we would recommend. If even the tiniest amount of the stuff is left on the carpet the mildew and mould that is likely to form will be a far worse problem than a tree sap stain!