Removing Tinsel from Carpeting

by April Reinhardt
(last updated December 24, 2012)

Did you know that tinsel was first invented as Christmas tree garland in the early 1600s? Originally made of genuine silver, it was shredded into thin strips and placed upon tree boughs. To make it a more affordable holiday garnish, tinsel was later made from tin and included lead, which lent more weight to the strands so that they would hang easier.

Today, tinsel is comprised of aluminum, plastic, and flame retardants that have been added as a safety precaution. I can remember helping my aunt and cousins trim their Christmas tree when I was a pre-teen. I was fascinated with the handfuls of tinsel that they virtually threw at the tree after placing ornaments. My parents never used tinsel on our Christmas tree and, instead, opted for a rope garland of tinsel. Years later I learned that Dad's reasoning behind not using loose tinsel was because it can be a horrible task to clean up, since tinsel lodges itself into carpet. Not only that, but tinsel can become charged with static electricity, and you can find it on the hem of your pants or skirt from simply walking next to the Christmas tree.

When you find yourself picking tinsel out of your carpet during the holidays, use these methods for removing it easily:

  • Lint roller. Buy a commercial lint-roller—the kind that used-car dealerships use—and roll it over your carpeting. Not only will you pick up tinsel, you will also pick up lint, dirt, and debris.
  • Vacuum. Rent a shop vac and vacuum your carpets. Commercial grade shop vacs create more suction and are better able to pick up the metal than ordinary home vacuums.
  • Brush. Use an old hairbrush to remove tinsel—the round type works best, and the stiffer the better. Get down on the floor and roll the brush through the carpet and it should pick up all of the tinsel.
  • Dog brush or rollers. These are similar to a lint roller, in nature, just a little more powerful. Since they are designed to remove stubborn pet hair from your carpet, these are going to work like magic when it come time to remove tinsel from your carpeting.
  • Sock-hop. Put on an old pair of heavy socks, and then apply double-sided tape to the soles of your feet. Walk through the array of tinsel in your carpet and the tape will pick it up.

As always, hindsight is better than foresight, but it is worth mentioning that you can forego the dreaded cleaning of tinsel from carpeting by using a tree skirt under your Christmas tree. Make sure that the tree skirt is large enough to spread the entire diameter of your tree so that when tinsel does fall, it falls on the skirt instead of your carpet.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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