How to Bleach Pinecones

2 Materials
4 Days

Gather pinecones and bleach them for creative crafts or home decor. I would love to have you stop by my blog , Celebrate & Decorate for more details as well as sign up for my latest creations, posts, recipes, exclusives, and more...

I was able to find thirty or more nice pinecones beneath some long needled pine trees on my regular walk and bring them home. After cleaning off all of the pine needles, it was time to clean the pinecones.

Use a soft brush to brush off any debris or broken pieces until they look clean. There are two methods to get them clean and make sure you kill any bugs that might be hiding in the cones.

  1. Mix two parts water with one part white vinegar, dip the pinecones in the water and leave them in there for twenty minutes (and NO longer). Remove them from the vinegar mixture and let them dry.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, put a single layer of pinecones on the paper and put in an oven, preheated to 220 degrees. Bake them for 30 minutes, let them cool and remove from the oven.

Either of these methods is acceptable and will kill any bugs in the pinecones.

Find an area that is well ventilated. I do this in my garage with the garage door open. Select a container that will hold all of your pinecones in a single layer. I like to use a plastic storage bin. Have a second bin available that is the same size.

Carefully pour one gallon of bleach into a tub. Next, add four gallons of water to the tub.

Without causing a splash, gently add the pinecones to the bleach mixture. They will float.

Put the empty bin on top of the pinecones as shown above.

Fill the empty gallon jugs with water and put them in the top bin to weigh it down.

Take a look from the side and make sure all of the pinecones are completely submerged. If you have a lot of air bubbles, you may need to take your top bin out and put it down one end at a time to release all of the air bubbles.

Let the pinecones soak in the mixture for 24 hours.

When you lift out the top bin, don’t be surprised, your cones will have closed up like mine did as shown above. DON’T PANIC!

Leave your pinecones someplace warm and dry and they will slowly (sometimes v-e-r-y slowly) open up. See how tight these are toward the tips? This can take anywhere from 24 hours to three or four days. Be prepared to wait it out.

You may not think your pinecones lightened all that much, but when you put them next to one that was not bleached, you can clearly see the difference! Have fun bleaching your pinecones and using them in tablescapes or crafts!

I arranged my bleached pinecones with other natural elements for a neutral winter tablescape. For more of my crafty seasonal decor projects stop by     Celebrate & Decorate.

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Chloe Crabtree
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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 4 questions
  • Michelle Michelle on Feb 04, 2021

    Can I ask why you're bleaching them? They don't look much different to me in the photo, before and after, and I imagined on reading the title, you were doing some kind of faux limewash effect on them by bleaching the colour from them? I'm assuming this isn't about crafting, and just an instruction on how to kill anything you feel might be lurking on the cones? Unless I'm missing something, please do let me know if I'm missing the point as genuinely intrigued. Cones aren't generally riddled with germs. Your initial wash with vinegar is antibacterial so would have gotten rid of bugs AND anything else, just so you know for future, if its about germs. No need for bleach step.

  • Kim 'Kiewatt' Waknitz Kim 'Kiewatt' Waknitz on Jan 19, 2022

    After bleaching them, would they be easier to dye? Would they take “up” more color?

  • Katen Katen on Jan 14, 2023

    Since using 24 hr bleach bath wouldn’t that kill bugs and save the step of soak/bake?

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2 of 14 comments
  • MB MB on Jan 12, 2023

    oh wow these are so cool! I love these ideas I could have never come up with myself. Thank you. Keep sharing.

  • Katen Katen on Jan 14, 2023

    I like to he look of tips lightened. Cozy looking to me.