TikToker claims you need to clean your artificial Christmas tree, but is that true?

A TikToker by the name of Rhema (@rhema.br) has the internet in an uproar after posting a video proclaiming the “unpopular opinion” that people should be cleaning their artificial Christmas trees.

Rhema’s TikTok, viewed two million times and counting, shows her soaking her artificial tree in a bathtub, spraying it down, and even giving it a good clean with Dawn dish soap before rinsing.

While some cleaning hacks can be helpful, including how to clean out a washing machine filter or how to avoid growing mold in a Stanley cup, not everyone agrees that cleaning an artificial tree is necessary.

“I’ll buy a new one before I give my tree a bath”

Rhema admits in the video that her cleaning stance is an “unpopular opinion,” but that didn’t stop the comments from rolling in voicing their disagreement.

“The perfectly clear water and 2 small pine needles sailing down the drain really sent me,” noted @clarice.emily.

“Cleantok is getting outta hand,” observed @artemis2chaosbro.

“I literally just told my therapist about how it feels like every day someone tells me a new thing I need to clean… and here’s another,” added @busterbuckaloo.

“LOLL! I say just clean the tree alone,” Rhema replied.

Rhema’s tree-cleaning tip even inspired a few duets disagreeing with her, like one by BookToker Sharon (@ms.sharon5).

“@Rhema I would never lol. But good for you girl,” Sharon wrote on her stitched video with 3 million views.

“I’ll buy a new one before I give my tree a bath,” admitted @adapotato420.

“Performative cleaning”

Many of the commenters on Sharon’s video describe Rhema’s tree cleaning as “performative cleaning,” implying she made the original video only as a way of cleaning something unnecessarily for content purposes.

“I just learned the term ‘performative cleanliness,’” wrote @uptownshawty8.

“Those ppl washing their walls and hoovering the air,” added @leavewhileyoustillcan.

Other commenters point out that for people with pre-lit Christmas trees, tossing the entire piece of greenery in the bathtub is simply not an option.

“Mine has its lights on it already. No way am I washing it,” said @h0tpickles.

“Mine is pre lit so there is noooo way I’m cleaning that,” agreed @jennybean369.

Is cleaning a fake Christmas tree really necessary?

The great Christmas tree cleaning debate has ended, however, with the advice of the American Christmas Tree Association (ACTA), whose official cleaning guidelines state that tree owners should avoid using water to clean artificial trees.

“Avoid using water, soap, vinegar, or other cleaning agents,” the ACTA advises. Instead, the organization recommends using “a dense fiber duster or a clean, dry cloth to lightly dust your tree. If the tree is pre-lit, be careful while working around the lights.”

Will Cotter, founder of HappyCleans in Oklahoma City, tells In The Know by Yahoo that regular cleaning of an artificial Christmas tree can help keep a holiday tree “looking its best” while contributing to a “cozy, allergy-friendly atmosphere” that everyone can enjoy. “Dust, pet fur, and other bits can sneak their way onto the branches, dulling its sparkle over time,” Cotter explains. “Plus, who wants to deal with sneezes or sniffles during the holidays?”

That said, to clean a fake tree, he does not recommend soaking it in water. Instead, he advises external cleaning only.

“A gentle shake can loose debris and a little brushing or vacuuming with a brush attachment can make a big difference to remove the dust from branches,” says Cotter. “Take it slow and steady to avoid damaging the branches or needles. Wiping off any spots with a damp cloth helps, too. And if your tree is rocking delicate ornaments remove them first as it’s best to avoid any accidental damage.”

As far as when to clean a Christmas tree, Cotter advises that a thorough cleaning at the beginning and end of the holiday season is a good baseline but noted that any trees in high-traffic or “dusty” areas may need more regular cleaning, saying, “When you notice it needs a bit of sprucing up, that’s your cue for a quick tidy.”

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