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How to Clean Up Glitter and Tree Needles

Glitter {oxcnpxo on Flickr (CC-BY-2.0)}

How to Clean Up Glitter and Tree Needles


Ah, pretty glitter. The closest thing us mortals will have to fairy dust. Glitter gives tree ornaments and gift wrap an extra kick of sparkle. But it is also the most infuriating substance to clean up, followed closely by tree needles. In this post I’ll give you eight tips to tame the tiny terrors.

Glitter and tree needles will manage to proliferate through your home if not kept in check. They can even escape beyond the confines of your home. One morning at my office a colleague of mine, a stereotypical stoic Britton, arrived with glitter on his face. I politely mentioned to him that he had a bit of sparkle on his face. He thought I was playing a trick on him and spent the first half of the day in denial of the possibility. I had pointed out that he has a young daughter who, as most do, is likely to have a sparkly item or two. By the afternoon he had faced a mirror and de-sparkled himself.

Here are eight ways to deal with the tree fallout that is glitter and needles:

  1. Avoid as much of a mess as possible before the glitter and needles come out. First lay down papers on your work surface and drop cloths in the work area to capture the fallout.
  2. Use a vacuum to get the majority of the glitter and needle mess cleaned up. The furniture crevice tool with its narrow opening will have more suction power than wider attachments.
  3. A lint remover roll is great at picking up glitter and needles. Pull a sheet off the roll and fold it in half, sticky side out, to get into crevices and corners.
  4. Using tape works well for picking up glitter and needles. We recommend painter’s tape that removes cleanly without the adhesive being left behind and is gentle on surfaces.
  5. Purchase a package of glitter clean up cloths at a craft store. They are fine cloths treated with a tacky material for cleaning up glitter. Glitter clean up cloths are a higher quality form of tack cloths that are found at hardware stores. Tack cloths look like cheesecloth and are used to remove fine dust and lint off surfaces in preparation of painting or other forms of finishing.
  6. Baby wipes can be used to clean up glitter, but may not work as well for natural tree needles.
  7. The Swiffer brand of cleaning products work well. The Swiffer Carpet Flick (now discontinued with refills available in some stores) works on carpet while the Swiffer Dusters and Swiffer Sweeper Dry Sweeping Cloths work on hard surfaces.
  8. Play-Doh or other modeling clay can be used to pick up glitter and some tree needles. Note your Play-Doh will become glitter-doh, which may not be such a bad thing.
Geek Factor

If you think having to clean up glitter is a pain, imagine trying to clean up microscopic and toxic beryllium particles. While at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Ron Simandl invented a coating for cloths that enable the pickup of deadly beryllium particles that are 20 times smaller than what can be seen with the naked eye. In 2008 he was awarded an R&D Magazine R&D 100 Award for his Negligible-Residue Tack Cloth (SIMWyPES®).

Additional Information

Prairie Paper and Ink Compares Glitter Clean Up Cloth to Tack Cloth

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