5 Tips to Clean Pine Cones for Crafts

Making decorations is an excellent way to fulfil your spare time and spend it with your children while preparing for holidays. Since you make an effort to prepare these ornaments, they are always more precious and unique for your family. My house is full of them, especially with the pine cone decorations my kids adore.

Pine wreaths, pine candle ornaments, and pine Christmas tree chains are rustic and resemble us to nature. Being decorative by their nature, they are the real symbol of winter holidays, an unavoidable part of the Christmas spirit. However, before using them, you need to clean them, especially pine cones. There are a few excellent tips to clean pine cones for crafts you should use before you begin creating decorations.

How to Clean Pine Cones

The secret of successful pine cone art is the appropriate preparation. As all of them come from nature, they can often be dirty, full of bugs, and not so rarely wet. In other words, you need to choose the right tips to clean pine cones for crafts and to disinfect them properly.

There are a few approaches to the issue, including simple such as sinking them in warm water. On the other hand, you can always use traditional materials like white vinegar or bleach. Let’s see how to do that!

1. Dry approach

If you don’t use pine cone ornaments for setting the table or indoor decoration, it is enough to pick out a dry approach among all tips to clean the pine cones for crafts. Basically, you don’t need to disinfect these pieces thoroughly when you use them for outdoor decorations.

In this particular case, your goal is to use a simple method, which is not time-consuming. Take some soft medium or small brush and try to brush out the entire dirt inside of every pine cone you want to use. When all of them are clean, you can apply glue and desired colour spray much more comfortable.

2. Warm water

Since pine cones grow on a tree and have sap, they are usually quite sticky. Unfortunately, it is like glue for dirt and dust, and you can’t remove it with a brush. One of the best ways to solve the problem is to sink your pine cones into the warm water.

Firstly, you should remove the larger particles by hand or soft brush. Afterward, fill in the sink or a larger pot with warm water and dissolve a little dish soap or antibacterial soap into it. Keep pine cones submerged in water at least 20 to 30 minutes.

If you wash them in the sink, tub, or the washbasin, you should make sure to use a drain stop to pick up any leftovers. After rinsing them, you should check every piece in detail. If they are still sticky, it is necessary to repeat the action by adding different soap products.

In the end, wash out the soap from each pine cone thoroughly and let them dry. The simplest way is to put them on the flat surface to dry naturally for 2 to 3 days. If you are short on time, there is an option to bake them in the oven.

3. Warm water and white vinegar

One of the best tips to clean pine cones for crafts is to sink them into the solution of one cup of water and a half cup of white vinegar. Take care that the solution covers the pine cones entirely.

After sinking your pine cones into the water-vinegar solution for 20 to 30 minutes, rinse them properly. Then, leave them to dry naturally for a couple of days.

4. Baking

After removing the dirt, moisture, sap, and bugs from pine cones by brushing or washing, you can prepare them for baking. Turn the oven to 200 F (93 C) for at least 10 to 15 minutes before putting pine cones into it.

Don’t forget to use the baking paper to cover the tray, since the sap will melt and become sticky under high temperatures.

Bake all pine cones for approximately an hour or a little longer if necessary. Take them out from time to time to check if they are opened. If not, you should leave them up to 20 minutes more, but keep an eye on them since the stem can make a lot of smoke.

When you finish the baking process, leave all pine cones to cool off wholly. Only now they are ready for use in your creative process.

5. Paint

Paint style is a way to kill two flies in one move. I prefer this particular method among all tips to clean pine cones for crafts you can use. Keep in mind that this style demands a bit of additional craftsmanship.

It is crucial to brush off the dirt before you start painting. Then, make sure to protect the working area with newspapers or old clothes. Also, don’t forget to protect yourself. Put on the protective gloves and open the window to avoid possibly harmful paint fumes. Then, it is time for the best part!

Pick the right sort of paint and dip the cleaned pine cones into it. Please leave them in colour for a few seconds and take them out carefully. As soon as the paint drain, gently lay each pine cone to the flat surface to dry.

It will be enough to dry them for a couple of hours, but it will primarily depend on the type of paint. Put your pine cones in place with excellent airflow, but without dust, if possible. The best part of all is that you will have all pine cones painted and disinfected at the same time after the drying process is over.


No matter what tips to clean pine cones for crafts you consider the best, your goal is to get them clean and well-prepared for your Christmas decorations.

Freely let your creativity work the magic without a fear that something awful may crawl out of your pine cones. Not to mention how horrible it can be working with sticky material.

Now, it is time to enjoy the imaginative creations of your mind and hands. Happy holidays!