Follow these expert-approved tips to ensure your precious pieces are pristine before tucking them away in storage.
Advertisement
martha stewart hanging christmas ornaments
Credit: Christopher Baker

By December 25, our halls are decked with all of the essentials that speak to the Christmas spirit, from twinkling lights to our favorite festive ornaments. And when sleigh bells are finished ringing for the holiday season? That means it's time for a thorough clean-up. When you're ready to pack away your ornaments, it's important to take the utmost care. Ensure they are cleaned (and stored!) properly, so they're in the best possible shape when you take them out again next year. To help, we tapped cleaning and holiday décor experts who shared their best tips for polishing up all kinds of ornament types, from fabric and wood to glass and vintage iterations.

Cleaning Christmas Ornaments With Care

Most ornaments are inherently delicate—so whatever material yours are made from, be sure to clean them with care just once in the post-season, says Kathy Cohoon, the director of franchise operations at Two Maids & A Mop.

Dusting

The first step to polishing up most ornament types? Dust them. "Aim to lightly dust ornaments as you store them after the season is over," says Cohoon. "You can brush away dust with a soft paint brush before you wrap each one—it's a little more time consuming, but can help your ornaments stay in mint condition for years to come!" Spend that time now, and your baubles will maintain their shine and finish (and stay dust free!) during their year in storage, adds Cohoon.

How to Clean Glitter Ornaments

What You'll Need

  • Compressed air tool
  • Feather duster or soft makeup brush

It's important to avoid getting glitter ornaments wet, as this could cause the shiny flecks to fall off, says Kim Tokarski, a senior holiday and seasonal merchant at Frontgate. Instead, use a feather duster or soft makeup brush to remove any debris. "Be sure to lightly dust the ornament, as glitter can catch on bristles or feathers," adds Cohoon. "For remaining dust, blow on the ornament firmly or use a low pressure compressed air canister."

Note: Be careful when using the latter method, as too much pressure can damage the glitter or blow it away.

How to Clean Wooden Ornaments

What You'll Need

  • Compressed air tool
  • Microfiber cloth

Clean wooden varieties by blowing away dust with compressed air, says Cohoon. From there, wipe away excess dust or dirt from the ornaments with a dry, soft microfiber cloth.

How to Clean Glass Ornaments

What You'll Need

  • Small brush
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Glass cleaner

Dust glass ornaments with a small brush or duster to remove dry debris. Wiping down these fragile ornaments with dust or gunk on them can scratch their surfaces, so you won't want to skip this step, advises Cohoon.

Spray a soft cloth with glass cleaner and gently wipe down the ornament. If you have glass ornaments without embellishments, you can also use a soap and water mixture, says Julie Kleski, a holiday designer at Frontgate.

How to Clean Metal Ornaments

What You'll Need

  • Compressed air tool
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Jewelry polish

Using compressed air, Cohoon recommends blowing away excess dust from your metal ornaments. From there, wipe down the ornament using a soft, microfiber cloth. If you see any tarnishing or visible stains, give pieces a small dose jewelry polish; follow the brand's instructions to properly clean and add shine, she says.

How to Clean Painted Ornaments

What You'll Need

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Paint brush

You don't want to get this ornament type wet, either, since water can damage the finish. Cohoon recommends blowing away dust and dirt and using a microfiber cloth to wipe it down. In need of another option? Consider using a dry paint brush to softly brush off any dust from Christmas tree flocking, says Kleski.

How to Clean Fabric Ornaments

What You'll Need

  • Lint roller
  • Stain pen
  • Small brush

If you notice pet hair or dust collecting on your fabric ornament, use a lint roller to remove it. Swipe water marks or stains with a stain pen and allow the ornament to dry. Any excess debris can be removed using a small brush.

How to Clean Delicate or Vintage Ornaments

What You'll Need

  • Feather duster or soft brush
  • Microfiber cloth

Vintage and delicate ornaments that are susceptible to breakage should only be dusted gently with a soft brush or feather duster. Cohoon also recommends wiping off delicate ornaments with a soft cloth if possible.

Storing Ornaments 

After the holidays, keep your ornaments' materials in mind as you decide how to store them. "Storage is less about the finish and more about how delicate and breakable an ornament is," says Cohoon.

Cover more delicate baubles in bubble wrap; vintage ornaments or other breakable varieties should be wrapped and stored in a thick plastic box or padded storage trunk, says Kleski. Sturdier varieties (think metal or wood) should be wrapped individually in a thick layer of tissue paper or newspaper and placed in a plastic container. If you decide to store all of these ornaments together, the most delicate pieces should be stacked on top of the sturdy ones.

Comments

Be the first to comment!