How To Clean Your Glitter Christmas Ornaments

The Christmas season is a time for sparkle, and nothing reflects light quite like glitter. So, whether your ornaments are brand new or vintage, you want them to last. And, to keep them shining for many years, you must clean them properly before storing them for next year.

Glitter as we know it has come a long way since its humble beginnings, but history shows humans have always been fascinated with sparkle. Even Cleopatra used an early form of decorative glitter made out of the iridescent bodies of beetles, according to Vice. In more recent history, glitter was made of glass – quite a disturbing thought for those who enjoy walking barefoot. Eventually, the quest for shiny things led to the creation of the much safer plastic and foil glitter we use today. While glitter is fun for crafts, it is also a favorite embellishment for Christmas ornaments and other festive holiday decorations. Here's how to keep your favorites sparkling.

Cleaning glitter ornaments

The simplest way to clean your glitter ornaments is by using a feather duster or a similarly-gentle cleaning method. Since some surface dust will accumulate on your ornaments while they are on display, you may be able to remove it without disturbing the glitter – if you're incredibly careful. Thankfully, a gentle once-over with those delicate feathers should do the job. A soft, natural bristle makeup brush will also work if you do not have a feather duster.

If too much glitter comes off with even a gentle dusting, it may be best to leave that particular ornament alone. Although you certainly want to get as many years as possible out of your Christmas decorations, they will not be quite as beautiful next year without their sparkle. Removing stuck-on grime and residue can also be a challenge for glitter Christmas ornaments. If the spots are on smooth areas of the ornament, use a small makeup brush or Q-Tip dipped in soapy water to gently remove grime or fingerprints.

Keeping glitter in place

As the saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." If you are buying new ornaments or you want to preserve the glitter on the ones you already have and love, there are a few ways to protect them. Christmas Kingdom suggests using a sealant to keep the glitter in place. Products like clear spray-on polyurethane and spray glue can help protect glitter and make your ornaments easier to clean. Even hairspray can help keep the glitter in place.

Although some dust accumulation is inevitable while your Christmas ornaments are on display, you can keep them from attracting dirt and grime in the off-season by storing them properly. First, gently clean each ornament as you remove it from the tree. Keep used tissue and wrapping paper from gifts, and use pieces to wrap around your ornaments. Finally, place your beautiful pieces securely in a sealed container so they are clean and ready to put back on the tree next Christmas.