How to Clean Pinecones for Crafting

Pinecones, with their natural beauty and unique texture, make excellent additions to various crafting projects. However, before incorporating them into your creations, it's crucial to properly clean and prepare them. Cleaning pinecones not only removes dirt, debris, and potential critters but also helps open the pinecone scales, making them more pliable for crafting purposes. Below, we'll guide you through a simple process to clean pinecones effectively.

In the following steps, we will guide you through the process of cleaning and drying pinecones.

Materials you will need

  1. Pinecones: Collect fresh or dried pinecones from a clean and safe environment.
  2. Bucket or Basin: For soaking the pinecones.
  3. Dish Soap: A mild dish soap will help remove dirt and sap.
  4. Soft Brush: Use a soft-bristled brush to clean off loose debris.
  5. White Vinegar (optional): Helps disinfect and eliminate any lingering odors.
  6. Old Towels or Paper Towels: For drying the pinecones.
  7. Baking Sheet: To allow the pinecones to dry in the oven.


  1. Collect Pinecones: Gather pinecones from a location free of pesticides and other harmful substances. Look for ones that are intact and have not started to decompose.
  2. Remove Loose Debris: Use a soft brush to gently remove loose dirt, pine needles, and other debris from the pinecones. Be careful not to damage the scales.
  3. Soak in Soapy Water: Fill a bucket or basin with warm water and add a small amount of mild dish soap. Place the pinecones in the soapy water and let them soak for 15-20 minutes. This helps to soften any remaining dirt and sap.
  4. Scrubbing (if needed): For stubborn dirt or sap, use the soft brush to gently scrub the pinecones. Be cautious to avoid damaging the delicate scales.
  5. Rinse Thoroughly: After soaking, rinse the pinecones under cool running water to remove soap residue. Ensure that all debris and soap are washed away.
  6. Optional Vinegar Rinse: To disinfect and eliminate any lingering odors, you can soak the pinecones in a solution of water and white vinegar (1:1 ratio) for a few minutes. Rinse them thoroughly afterward.
  7. Dry Completely: Place the cleaned pinecones on old towels or paper towels to absorb excess water. Allow them to dry completely on a baking sheet. Bake at 250-degree Fahrenheit for 45 minutes or at the dry setting on your oven. Don't overbake or they will break easily. This process will reopen the pinecones and will kill all the little bugs. On the plus side, it will smell amazing inside the house. Ensure they are thoroughly dry before using them in crafting to prevent mold growth.
  8. When they are cold, get rid of seeds if there is some. They are ready to use!

If you have sticky fingers because of the sap, you can use alcohol base gel hand cleaner. Yes, yes, Purell works like magic!