Charles said, “I have an old, but very high quality, flocked artificial Christmas tree. I would like to remove all of the flocking. Is there anyway this can be done?”
Flocking is the artificial snow that is sprayed onto Christmas trees to give the effect of a white Christmas. It is often made of cellulose, however regardless of the ingredients, it is suprisingly easy to remove, often simply pulling right off with your fingers. Follow the steps below to de-flock your Christmas tree.
You Will Need:
- A plastic drop cloth
- A vacuum hose
- Upholstery vacuum attachment
- A bristle brush
- Acetone nail polish remover
- A cloth
- A lint roller
Steps to Remove the Flocking:
- Lay down a plastic drop cloth, tablecloth, or several cut-open trash bags under the tree so you can more easily clean up all of the flocking that falls on the ground.
- Use the upholstery brush attachment on a vacuum hose to remove the flocking. Always move the hose from the inside of the branch outwards (with the grain of the pine bristles).
- If you don’t have an upholstery attachment for the vacuum, you can use a bristle brush instead. Again, always brush with the grain of the pine bristles. Try to be gentle; only use enough pressure to remove the flocking while being cautious of the bristles.
- Once you have brushed off as much as you can, dampen a cloth with acetone nail polish remover. Rub the cloth over an small hidden branch to look for any adverse reaction. If safe to use on the tree, rub the cloth over all the branches to dissolve the remaining flocking.
- Once you have dissolved as much flocking as possible, wet a cloth with plain water and rub it over the branches to remove the acetone residue. Alternatively, you can rinse the tree with a garden hose for faster rinsing. Just be sure to use a gentle water pressure to prevent the bristles from being knocked off.
- Allow the tree to fully air dry, then go over each branch with a lint roller to remove any remaining pieces of flocking if necessary.
- Be careful not to inhale the flocking as you remove it. You may want to cover your mouth and nose with a mask.
- For trees with long bristles, using a small comb can be helpful instead of a bristle brush.
- Another method to remove the flocking is simply to scrape it off each bristle with your fingernails. If you have several family members willing to help, consider de-flocking the tree this year together in place of stringing popcorn garlands, which is equally monotonous.
- If you are unable to remove the flocking and you are only trying to remove it because it has yellowed, consider spray painting it.
- Removing Spots and Stains by Ibert and Eleanor Mellan