How much bleach in christmas tree water

Making your real Christmas tree last through the holidays

Bert Cregg, Michigan State University, Department of Horticulture and Department of Forestry -

Originally written by Jill O'Donnell and Bert Cregg.

Fresh tree, fresh cut and fresh water are essential in keeping your real Christmas tree fresh and hydrated throughout the holiday season.

Photo 1. The pull test is a quick and easy way to assess the freshness of a real Christmas tree. Photo by Bert Cregg, MSU.

Nothing says the holidays like having a real Christmas tree in the house. However, surveys indicate that the potential mess of pine needles on the floor often deters would-be real tree buyers. Michigan State University Extension reminds consumers that the keys to keeping the needles on your tree while it is on display in your house can be summarized as: fresh tree, fresh cut, fresh water.

Fresh tree

Starting with a fresh tree is essential to good needle retention and tree keepability. The best way to ensure a fresh tree is to cut one yourself at one of the many choose and cut farms located throughout Michigan. Use the Michigan Christmas Tree Association website to find a farm near you.

If you are not able to get your tree up right away, be sure to keep the tree in a cool, protected spot such as a garage, with the cut end in a bucket of water. If you buy a tree from a tree lot or a garden center, you can check the tree for freshness by doing the pull test. Gently pull on a shoot with your thumb and fingers; if the tree is fresh, you should not have any needles come off in your hand (Photo 1).

Fresh cut

Cut 0.5 to 1 inch off the base of the tree right before you put it in the tree stand to help the tree resume water uptake (Photo 2). After trees are cut at the farm, the cut end will begin to dry out and resin can clog the water conducting tissues in the trunk. These factors will limit water uptake, so re-cutting the end aids in allowing the tree to take up water and keeping the tree hydrated.

Photo 2. Re-cut the base of the tree before putting it in the tree stand to help the tree resume water uptake. Photo by Bert Cregg, MSU.

Fresh water

A fresh tree can use up to 1 quart of water per day for each inch of diameter on the cut end. A typical 7-foot-tall tree may have a 3-inch trunk diameter, so will need up to 3 quarts of water per day. If your tree is taking up a lot of water, this is actually a good sign and indicates the tree is fresh and hydrated.

Be sure to replace the water that is used each day and don’t allow the stand to dry out. Do not add sugar, aspirin, bleach or floral preservatives to the water; plain tap water is all that is needed to keep your tree fresh.

More information on selecting and caring for your Christmas tree from MSU Extension
  • Tips for success with your first real Christmas tree
  • Choosing the right Christmas tree
  • Christmas trees for connoisseurs: Try an exotic species this year
  • Living Christmas trees: Another real tree option
  • Why is my Christmas tree beginning to grow?
Tip sheets:
  • Michigan Christmas Trees

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension. To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

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Christmas Trees: Real vs.

Fake, and How to Keep Them Fresh

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With proper care, a fresh-cut Christmas tree will last a month or longer. (Image credit: <a href="">Quanthem</a> | <a href="">Shutterstock</a>)

"O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how lovely are thy branches," goes the traditional German carol. But are those branches real or fake? Conscious consumers may wonder which type of Christmas tree — real or artificial — is better for the environment. And if the branches are real, how do you keep them fresh for the entire holiday season?

The real vs. fake argument will likely not be settled any time soon. Americans apparently prefer to go natural. They purchased 27.4 million real trees in 2016, and 18.6 million fake trees, according to a Nielsen consumer survey commissioned by the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA), a trade association of tree growers.

There are valid arguments for both choices. On the one hand, the NCTA argues that real trees are "renewable, recyclable resources." On the other hand, artificial trees can be used over and over, says a member of the American Christmas Tree Association, an organization that represent both real and artificial tree retailers.

Environmental impact

"Drive time," disposal methods and life span are determining factors in assessing a tree's environmental impact, according to two studies. In 2009, researchers at Ellipsos , a sustainability consulting firm, assessed the impact of real and artificial trees in four categories: human health, ecosystem quality, climate change and resource depletion. They found that a natural tree is a better option for the environmentally conscious consumer in terms of effects on climate change and resource depletion. However, an artificial tree becomes a better solution regarding climate change — if it's used for 20 years. 

A similar study, by PE International and sponsored by ACTA, also a sustainability consultant, found that using an artificial tree for more than eight Christmases is environmentally friendlier than purchasing eight or more real cut trees over eight years.

Health concerns

Promoters of artificial trees often argue that real trees can trigger allergies, either from pollen or mold and dust. However, Clint Springer, an assistant professor of biology at Saint Joseph's University in Philadephia, noted in a press release that pollen is not usually an issue in farm-raised trees because they are too young at cutting time to be reproductive. 

Springer also said that mold spores found in live trees are usually not a problem because they rarely become airborne. If a person is sensitive to the natural scent, however, Springer recommended pines over firs because pines tend to have a weaker scent.

Keeping it fresh

If you choose a real tree, keeping it fresh is very important, not only to preserve its beauty, but also to prevent it from becoming a fire hazard. With proper care, a Christmas tree can stay fresh for a month or even longer.

Everyone knows that you must add water to the reservoir in the base of a Christmas tree — and as a rule of thumb, a typical tree absorbs a quart of water for each inch of its diameter.  

Add to the mix?

There is some debate about whether adding any kind of mixture to the water helps keep a tree fresher longer. Tchukki Anderson, a staff arborist for the Tree Care Industry Association, says many people have had success by mixing a tablespoon of sugar or corn syrup in the water. However, she says, water is usually enough.

A 2010 study at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point confirmed that keeping fresh-cut trees watered will reduce needle loss , refuting claims that watering a dead tree is pointless. However, the study's author, tree scientist Les Werner, says additives such as sugar, aspirin or even vodka don't help. "Clean water still works the best."

But don't take their word for it. Try the experiment and find out for yourself how to keep your Christmas tree fresher longer. If your family uses a real Christmas tree, or fresh evergreens for decoration, borrow a few small cut branches and try this experiment. You could also try using cut flowers, such as carnations.

What you need

  • 5 small branches of healthy, fresh cut evergreen, each about 4 inches long — make sure the branches come from the same tree and are as nearly identical in size and shape as possible. (If you use flowers they should be the same type, and the stems should be cut to the same length in the same way.)
  • 5 quart jars with lids to store your solutions
  • 5 "vases" for your cuttings (It is best to use identical containers. Transparent plastic cups or drinking glasses work well — you will want to be able to observe the cut tip of each sample without removing it from the liquid.)
  • Tap water
  • White vinegar
  • Light corn syrup
  • Household bleach
  • Labels and permanent marker
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Mixing bowl

What to do

Prepare the solutions – be sure to label your jars:

  • Jar 1: 1 quart plain tap water
  • Jar 2: 1 quart of water with a half-cup of light corn syrup dissolved in it. (It works best to warm the water on the stove and add the syrup slowly as it warms. Make sure it is cool before placing your plant cutting in the solution.)
  • Jar 3: 1 quart of water with 1 teaspoon of white vinegar added
  • Jar 4: 1 quart of water with 1 teaspoon of bleach added
  • Jar 5: Tree Freshening mixture: 1 quart of water with a half-cup of light corn syrup dissolved in it, 1 teaspoon of white vinegar* and 1 teaspoon bleach. 

NOTE: It is VERY IMPORTANT to mix the syrup water and vinegar together first before adding any bleach!!

*Adding bleach directly to undiluted vinegar results in toxic vapors. Omit the vinegar if this makes you nervous.

Use fresh-cut branches about the same size and shape. (Image credit: April Cat Shutterstock )

Prepare the test samples – make sure to label them!

  1. Trim the bottom of each branch at an angle and place each of your branches in a separate "vase" so that the trimmed end rests on the bottom and the foliage is clear of the vase.
  2. Pour just enough liquid from Jar 1 into Vase 1 so that the trimmed angle of the branch is completely submerged in the liquid but most of the branch is above the surface of the liquid.
  3. Repeat with Jar 2 and Vase 2 and so on, with each of the other solutions.
  4. Place the vases in a secure location at room temperature.
  5. Observe the branches every two days over a period of at least 4 weeks, adding appropriate liquid from the jars to keep just the cut tip of the branches submerged. Look for changes to the foliage and for signs of mold or mildew at the base. Record your observations in a data table.


  • Most tap water has a slightly alkaline pH. Most evergreens prefer slightly acidic conditions. Which additive makes the water more acidic?
  • Light corn syrup is made up of dissolved sugars, why is adding sugar into the mix important?
  • Undiluted bleach is toxic to living things, so why was bleach added to the Tree Freshening mixture? (Hint: Think about why many household cleaners include bleach. )

What else to try

  • Try using clear soda pop (like 7Up) instead of the Tree Freshening mixture in Jar 5.
  • Try grinding up 1 aspirin tablet to dissolve in a quart of water instead of the white vinegar.
  • Try other household liquids.

Experiments compiled by Mary Bagley, Live Science contributor

More Holiday Science Experiments

  • How to Make Borax Crystal Snowflakes

More Science Fair Projects

  • High School Science Fair Projects
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  • Cool Science Experiments for Hot Summer Days
  • How to Choose a Science Fair Project Topic

Traci Pedersen is a freelance author who has written extensively on themes of science, psychology, religion and alternative health for a variety of publications. She has also written 14 science chapter books and numerous teacher resource books for the elementary classroom. She is constantly brainstorming how to turn age-old topics into new and exciting stories.

How to Use Oxygen Bleach - Methods of Use

Oxygen Bleach is a cleaning agent that is particularly effective at removing stains and also brightens clothes when washed. This is an environmentally friendly and safe tool applicable for a number of tasks, and therefore indispensable in any household. But what is the composition of this product and how to use it when washing?

Oxygen bleach is a great companion to ordinary washing powder, and is also useful in other household chores, such as cleaning wooden decks. Always read manufacturer's instructions before using products on new types of surfaces and test on a small and inconspicuous area of ​​the surface.

What is oxygen bleach?

  • Oxygen bleach is called sodium percarbonate, consisting of natural soda crystals and hydrogen peroxide.

  • Often found in powders and cleaners, oxygen bleach is a solid powder that is usually dissolved in water before use.

  • When oxygen bleach reacts with water, a chemical reaction occurs that releases oxygen.

  • Oxygen bleach is often used to remove stains because the oxygen bubbles help break down dirt, odors and germs.

  • Oxygen powder is considered environmentally friendly because its only waste product is soda ash, a non-toxic substance that is safe to dissolve in the water supply.

How to use oxygen bleach powder in laundry

Oxygen bleach works best on organic stains such as food and drink, grass, dirt and body fluids. While bleach can improve the appearance of soiled areas, it doesn't always do the job.

How to use oxygen bleach in prewash:

  1. Dissolve one to two tablespoons of bleach in 5 liters of water.

  2. Leave the clothes to soak in the solution for an hour.

  3. Stubborn or stubborn stains should be soaked overnight or immersed in the solution with two additional tablespoons of oxygen bleach.

How to use oxygen bleach to lighten clothes:

Powdered oxygen bleach can be used regularly to lighten clothes.

  • Add a tablespoon of bleach to your wash along with your regular laundry detergent.

  • Always read label instructions carefully.

  • Do not use oxygen bleach on delicate fabrics such as silk or wool.

What is the difference between chlorine and oxygen bleach?

  • Chlorine bleach is a liquid substance consisting of sodium hypochlorite.

  • Chlorine bleach is an effective disinfectant that can be used for both stubborn stains and other household chores.

  • Chlorine bleach is much more corrosive than oxygen bleach and must be handled with great care and kept out of the reach of children.

Remember these important differences:

  • On colored fabrics, oxygen bleach is safer to use than chlorine bleach.

  • Oxygen bleach can be mixed with other detergents, while chlorine bleach is dangerous to mix with other substances.

How else can oxygen bleach be used?

Oxygen bleach is a versatile product that can be used on a variety of materials from plastic to wood. It is often used in everyday life, such as disinfecting, cleaning trash cans or pet litter boxes. Remember that its effect should always be tested on a small area of ​​​​the surface and carefully read the manufacturer's instructions in order to know for sure how and where to use this product.

Oxygen bleach is a versatile product if you know how to use it. Now, armed with our affordable tips for using this indispensable tool in the home, you're ready to get into action!

  • Use oxygen bleach to remove stains as it removes dirt, odors and germs.

  • Do not use oxygen bleach on delicate fabrics.

  • There are a few important differences between oxygen and chlorine bleaches that you need to be aware of.

Eco-friendly bleach - cleanliness without harm to health - 4fresh blog

How to choose the safest among the huge variety of products?

Seeing that white clothes have turned gray or noticing old stains on linen, we set off in search of an effective bleach.

What are bleaches?

There are three main types of bleaches: optical, chlorine and oxygen. Let's figure out together which ones are safe and which ones should be avoided.

Optical brighteners

Optical brighteners are very common in laundry detergents, but they are not inherently brighteners. They are particles of luminescent paint, which, settling on linen during washing, reflect light and give clothes a white effect. At the same time, the purity of such underwear will remain only an illusion, but harm to the body can be quite real.

Imagine, optical brightener is constantly in the fibers of the fabric, in contact with your skin. In children's products, such bleaches should generally be avoided, because they can irritate the delicate skin of the baby.

In addition, such a bleach is not very good for the laundry itself - it wears out faster, spools form, which spoil the appearance of things.

Chlorine bleaches

Chlorine-based bleaches are cheaper than others, they are quite effective in dealing with difficult stains and even have disinfectant properties, however, the constant use of such bleaches can thin fabrics and destroy them, they are not suitable for delicate fabrics and they cannot be used for washing in an automatic machine.

Chlorine-containing bleaches can cause significant harm to health: chlorine vapor can cause severe allergies and seriously disrupt the functioning of all body systems. They are no less dangerous for the environment.

It is recommended to avoid such bleaches especially when washing children's clothes!

Oxygen bleaches - the eco-friendly alternative

As for oxygen bleaches, they appeared relatively recently and immediately won a place of honor among bleaches.

In essence, oxygen bleach is sodium percarbonate, which decomposes in water into water, oxygen and soda.

Oxygen bleaches are the safest, effective even at low temperatures. Such bleaches act gently and will not damage even the most delicate fabrics. Suitable for people prone to allergies. Completely biodegradable and do not harm the environment!

Eco-friendly bleaches are an excellent choice for those who care about their health and the health of loved ones. Ideal if there are small children in the house, because stains on clothes are an inevitable attribute of their growing up. Suitable for both white and colored clothes!

Overview of oxygen bleaches

What bleach to choose? We share with you an overview of eco-friendly products for the safe bleaching of things.


Contains oxygen-based bleach, baking soda, sodium, sodium citrate, sodium sulfate, vegetable-based detergents, activator bleach. With regular use, it helps to avoid the appearance of a gray tint, and the presence of an activator in the composition allows the use of bleach even at low temperatures without loss of effectiveness. The product does not smell of anything. Packing is calculated on 14 washings.

Contains only sodium percarbonate. It dissolves well in water and rinses out of laundry, bleaches and does not damage fabrics. It copes well even with low-temperature washing, returns the white color to yellowed linen. But more complex old stains will require pre-soaking.


This liquid bleach contains H-Tenzides 5 - 15% (glucose based) and bioenzymes. It is completely washed out of fabrics and is recommended for washing children's clothes. Very economical to use and suitable for washing colored items. Pleased with large volume and budget price

And this is a German two-in-one remedy, it contains sodium percarbonate and soda. It is great for washing heavily soiled laundry, but the best result can be obtained when washing over 50 degrees. Please note that it cannot be used for silk, viscose, wool and microfiber!


This eco-friendly bleach contains 100% sodium percarbonate. Add just 1 tablespoon of percarbonate to the laundry detergent for enhanced washing and stain removal, and 2 tablespoons for bleaching. It can even be used in the dishwasher to remove tough food stains! Also suitable for baby clothes.

Caution: bleach powders

In addition to individual products, bleaches are often added to laundry detergents.

Learn more