How I Clean Pine Needles for Products

January 12, 2024

Giving a behind-the-scenes look at how I clean and prepare pine and fir needles for products I sell in my Etsy shop.

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Tree needles in glass jar. Baking trays of fir tree needles sit behind jar on table.

One of the things I wanted to do with my rebrand was give you a little behind-the-scenes look at how I prepare some of my products.  There was some interest about how I prep my pine (or fir) needles to use in products.  I rescued two live Christmas trees from neighbors who had them on the curb, so it was a good time to document the process.

The tree needles I use go through a thorough cleaning process before I use them in my simmer pot kits, sachets, and even my fir tree stamped clay jewelry.  They’re washed, dried, stripped, and stored in airtight containers.  This process ensures that you get a quality product free of sap, dirt, and any other outside gunk.

How I Clean Pine Needles for Products

Obviously this process starts with finding your tree.  I started making Christmas Morning simmer pot kits using pine branches my husband cut for me.  Heading into the holiday season, I purchased greenery bouquets and eventually found it to be more cost effective to purchase a small Christmas tree.

Now, post-holiday season, I’m using my neighbors’ discarded Christmas trees (with their permission).  Two trees is a lot to work with, so I’ve been dividing what I cut between a compost bin I started, the garden, and drying for products.

Fir tree clippings soaking in a large metal bowl full of soapy water.

Once I’ve collected my clippings in a large bowl, I take them inside and soak them in warm water with Dawn dish detergent.  I let them soak for maybe an hour or a little less.  I make sure to kind of agitate the water with my hands to make sure everything gets nice and clean.

Fir tree clippings being rinsed in a sink.

After the clippings have soaked, I put them in a strainer and rinse, rinse, rinse.  Then, I’ll take a paper towel or two and squeeze the clippings dry.

Cleaned fir tree clippings on parchment lined baking sheets.

Next, I line a couple large baking sheets with parchment paper and spread my clippings on top.  I dry the clippings on the lowest oven setting for a couple hours, or until the needles start popping off the branch.

Parchment paper lined baking sheets with dried tree needles laying on them.

I let them cool down and get my clean jars ready.  Working over the parchment paper, I start stripping the needles from the branches right into the jar.  It’s tedious work, but I actually enjoy doing it!

Whatever’s left on the parchment paper gets scooped up and poured into the jar.  Easy clean up!

Glass jar filled with fir tree needles on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Then, the tree needles are ready to use!  They’re stored in my supply cabinet until I need to update my inventory.

So that’s it!  That’s the process!  The upside to all this work – besides bringing you some natural, quality products – is that my house smells a-mazing!  Like the holiday season all over again!

Products that include tree needles: