Pine cones are a tree’s bounty. A little gift to us from nature.
We absolutely love pine cones, they look so beautiful on the trees, on the ground, and even in our homes. There is nothing quite like foraging for pine cones out in nature is there? Especially when you want to use them for some autumn crafts.
No fall centerpiece is complete without pine cones for decoration. They also look gorgeous on homemade wreaths, and even on our Christmas trees!
Before we can just start gluing them to things will-nilly, we first must clean them!
Pine cones, especially when found on the ground, can be the homes of lots of teeny tiny little bugs that you may not even be able to see with your eyes.
We have decided to tell you all about the most effective ways to clean your pine cones to ensure they are safe to use in your DIY crafts!
There are quite a few different ways to clean your pine cones, some taking up more time than others.
Before you undertake any of the cleaning methods we are going to list below, we thoroughly recommend that you grab a brush, a soft-bristled paint brush perhaps, and give your pine cones a thorough brush to get all the loose dirt off them, as well as any moss and other visible bits of the outside.
Once you have done this you can follow one of our methods below.
Simply use water
The most simple method is to use some plain old water.
Simply grab a big pail, bucket, or even your sink and soak your pinecones in hot water for up to an hour. Bear in mind that water does not have the same disinfectant capabilities as the other methods may have, and so we cannot guarantee that all of the bacteria will be destroyed.
However, this should suffice as long as you will not be using these pine cones for table decorations.
After they have been soaked, just leave them to dry on paper towels for around three hours, and then they will be ready to use!
Soak in water and white vinegar
This method is very similar to the one we have listed above, except that it has the added benefit of having white vinegar added into the mix.
The white vinegar will be super beneficial in cleaning the pine cones thoroughly, as well as cleaning off any bacteria that the pine cones may hold.
To follow this method, grab a big, clean bucket or head to your sink. Run some warm water to the top, and then add some white vinegar to the water.
Leave the pine cones for around 30 minutes at first, checking them after this. If they still look super dirty, leave them for a little longer. When they look suitably soaked, grab them all from the water and place them on clean, dry paper towels for up to 3 hours until completely dry.
When they have dried completely, they will be suitable for use!
Bleach and water
It is important to note right away that this method should only be used if you want white pine cones. If that sounds like something you may want then carry on reading! You can soak your pinecones in a mixture of bleach and water.
We recommend having equal amounts of each! Ensure the bleach you use is chlorine bleach. Because of the harsh substance, you must ensure you wear protective gloves, clothing and be in a wide-open space with fresh air flowing through.
Also, keep the mixture away from children and animals. You can either do it in a bucket or even your sink. Let them soak for around 8 or 9 hours.
When the time is up, simply rinse the pine cones all off in clean water and let them air dry. They will be gorgeously white, and cleaned to within an inch of their life!
Brush them off well
This method should only be used if you want to use the pine cones as outside decorations.
In this instance, they do not need disinfecting. Therefore, you can use the dry brushing approach that we mentioned in the introduction.
Grab a soft-bristled brush, like a paintbrush, or an old toothbrush, and thoroughly dust off all the dirt and muck. This can get really time-consuming if it is the only method you are going to be using, though.
Just to reiterate, do remember, only use this method if you will be using them as outside decorations.
No, really! We don’t mean to bake them with the intention of eating them.
However, baking is perfect for killing off all sorts of bacteria and bugs. After you have brushed them off, give them a rinse underwater. Pat them dry with a paper towel, and then place them on a baking sheet with baking paper underneath them.
Set your oven pretty low (200 degrees Fahrenheit is perfect), and bake them for around an hour in a single layer on your baking sheet.
Keep in mind that any sap in the pine cones may melt, hence the importance of the baking paper. This way of cleaning them can also give them a really lovely glossy finish too, as the sap will dry on them!
If you are someone who lacks patience (which we all do sometimes), you can skip the water and oven methods, and just go right onto painting them! This sort of kills two birds with one stone as you are likely to want to paint them anyway if you are using them for DIY.
Because of the chemicals that make up paint, the paint will do the job of killing any bacteria in the pinecones. You must make sure that the pinecones have been completely brushed so that there is no dirt on them.
Painted over dirt just looks gross! Choose your perfect color, get your painting area all prepped - we recommend putting down newspaper and wearing old clothes - and you can simply dip the pinecones in your chosen paint.
To dry them just pop each pine cone on a flat protected source until the paint is dry to the touch. It should take a couple of hours in total! Voila, you have clean, painted pine cones all in one simple step!
There you have it!
There are lots of ways that pine cones can be cleaned, and all of them will ensure you have the cleanest pine cones possible for your crafting.
Whatever method you choose, ensure the pinecones are brushed off first to rid them of any bigger bugs and loose dirt.
If you are using the white vinegar, bleach, or paint methods, please ensure that you do so safely, and seek parental guidance if you are a child.
We are sure you will have lots of fun with your pine cone crafting! Enjoy, crafters!