|Washing your Christmas Tree?|
I know it may be too early to be talking about Christmas trees I just felt it was important to share this information with you before you start decorating for the holidays. For several years it seemed I always had an upper respiratory infection right when I had planned to do the biggest part of my Christmas baking. I remember the day I had put it all together.
I woke up with a pounding headache, fever, congestion, I had a productive cough with thick green mucous, and I ached all over. Somehow this did not seem like a good time to make cookies. I want to share holiday goodies, not miseries.
Artificial trees have some of the same problems for different reasons. The tree may have an irritant in the composition used to make the tree. We may have sprayed a substance on the tree to make it smell like a live tree.
The things we use to decorate a tree can also cause problems. Dried flowers, cranberries and probably old strung popcorn can mold and grow a multitude of bacteria. If the decorations are stored in a dark warm attic for a year, the mold and bacteria is provided an excellent environment to multiply. When the tree is taken out of storage and placed in the place of honor in our living room or family room, the bacteria and mold is released into the air. We add lights which provide a just the right amount of heat to stimulate more growth so in 2-3 days we have contaminated the whole house or office.
All this made sense to me and after all my cats had already rearranged the lower branches of my tree. I decided to wash my Christmas tree. What did I have to lose?
I took all the decorations off the tree, took it out side and hosed it down. My tree was 6.5 ft tall and I sweep up a two gallon trash can full of dead needles, dead leaves form other trees, small insects, and other strange things I didn’t want in my house. Instantly I notice the branches seem to come life, the color was better and the tree smelled wonderful. It looks so much better, the next morning I hosed it down again. It’s important to let the tree dry completely. I left it outside to dry while I did some serious vacuuming including the furnace filters. I took the decorations outside. I wiped each ornament before I brought them back inside so I wouldn’t re- contaminate the house. I was ready to put them back on the tree.
Since then I have used both live and artificial trees. I assemble the artificial tree and hose it down just like I do my real tree. I let it dry completely. I decorate the tree as usual. I don’t reuse the dried things. I put them outside for the birds and start fresh each year.
A family with anyone who has Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Pneumonia or a tendency toward any breathing disorder should take advantage of this simple procedure. It only take a few minutes to give take a garden hose and spend a few minutes to get rid of some things you wouldn’t want in your house anyway.
I am sure washing the Christmas tree may reduce the fire hazard as an added benefit. Just make sure it’s completely dry before you decorate it.
I have not had any problems being sick just before Christmas and I no longer have an excuse for not baking Christmas cookies for my friends.