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How to Keep a Christmas Tree Alive Longer

Nothing brings the holidays home like the smell of a real Christmas tree. Here’s how adding a little bleach in your tree water can help keep your evergreen last longer and smell fresh.

More from Clorox experts

This Christmas tree water solution can help to prolong the life of your freshly cut tree by replenishing it with nutrients. You may even find that it strengthens your tree’s branches, and helps to preserve that unforgettable smell of the holiday season.

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What you need

Steps for adding bleach to Christmas tree water

  1. 1

    Protect the floor

    First, be sure to protect the floor area under the tree stand with some 6 Mil sheet plastic (available from hardware stores) cut to fit just out of sight underneath the tree skirt. Place the tree stand on top of the plastic.

  2. 2

    Trim the tree trunk

    Next, cut at least ½ inch off the bottom of the tree. This “fresh cut” is especially important if it has been more than a few hours since the Christmas tree was cut down.

  3. 3

    Prep your workspace

    Before mixing up the tree watering solution, protect your work area by spreading out an old towel to catch any drips or spills.

  4. 4

    Mix the bleach solution

    Add 2 tablespoons chelated iron and 1 cup corn syrup to a one gallon container, and then add 8 cups hot water. Finally, add 1½ teaspoons Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach, and stir to mix.

    If necessary, transfer the solution to a different container that allows easy pouring into the tree stand.

    measuring spoon with liquid
  5. 5

    Water your tree

    Once the tree is installed in the tree stand (and you know you won’t move it or adjust it anymore), add the tree watering solution to the tree stand — be sure to keep the old towel handy to catch any drips.


    Don’t let the cut edge of the Christmas tree dry out. As the tree drinks the solution, you’ll have to refill the reservoir, so mix up a fresh batch when needed.