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Photo: EkaterinaSid (Shutterstock)

Nothing beats the scent of a real Christmas tree in the living room. But what those pine tree needles could be used as a general cleaner? Pine disinfectant is a popular, old-timey DIY that’s perfect for the season. Here are a few ways to make it.

The traditional method of making pine tree cleaner

There are a couple of recipe recommendations out there, so we’ll start with the one that has the shortest prep time, but they all require those precious bits of pine. For the first recipe, you’ll need:

  • Pine needles and/or sprigs
  • 1 ½ cups of white distilled vinegar
  • 1 ¼ cups of water
  • ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol
  • A big jar
  • A spray bottle

Per Gather and Grow, pack your needles into the glass jar, then pour the vinegar in there and put it in a sunny window for a week. When the week is up, strain out the plant material, put the remaining vinegar in your spray bottle, add the ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol, and fill the remainder with water.

Other methods ask that you work on this longer than a week, so use the one above if you want to start that pine-fresh cleaning well before your guests arrive. The version below, from TikTok user Creative Explained, calls for you to chop up your sprigs and leave them in white vinegar for about three weeks, but you don’t need the rubbing alcohol.

And if you have a fake Christmas tree?

If you go the faux route and don’t feel like foraging for pine needles outside, you can still enjoy your own homemade pine disinfectant. According to author and natural DIY expert Sophie Uliano, here’s what you need to make your own modernized version:

  • A teaspoon of borax
  • ½ teaspoon of washing soda crystal
  • Two tablespoons of white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon of liquid castile soap
  • ½ teaspoon of pine essential oil
  • Two cups of hot water
  • A spray bottle

Just combine all those ingredients into your bottle, and you’ll have a great-smelling cleaning spray.

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