How to Clean Up Pine Needles

Written by corey m. mackenzie
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How to Clean Up Pine Needles
Pine needles are not always easy to clean up. (pine tree image by pershing from

Pine needles' sharp points and sticky sap mean they get stuck on other pieces of debris (or your carpet), making the needles a rough item to clean up indoors or outdoors. Indoors, pine needles are unsightly and are painful if you get one stuck in your bare foot. Outdoors, pine needles are sometimes used for mulch on plants that enjoy acidic mulches, but they will harm grass, and if allowed to build up and dry near the home they can be a fire hazard. You can clean up these needles more easily, indoors or outdoors, if you use the right tools.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Leather work gloves
  • Vacuum cleaner with attachments
  • Long-handled lint roller
  • Broom
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Narrow-tined rake
  • Shovel
  • Trash bags

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  1. 1

    Put on leather work gloves so you don't get poked by the sharp pine needles. Use a vacuum cleaner with attachments to get up as many needles as you can. First use the brush attachment to loosen needles from the carpeting (if applicable) and then use a large tube attachment to suck them up.

  2. 2

    Use a long-handled lint roller on the area. These are meant for picking up lint and hair but will also pick up pine needles. If the roller is washable, you'll need to wash it then dry it each time it is covered with the needles and go over the area again. Some rollers are not washable, but have removable sticky tape that you pull off to unveil a fresh sticky surface underneath. Some pet supply stores carry long-handled rollers (although it is easier to find the hand-held rollers).

  3. 3

    Create your own needle remover, if you can't find the lint roller. Wrap duct tape, sticky side up, around the bristle-end of a broom. Pat the floor with this -- the needles will stick to the tape. When it is full, cut the tape off with scissors and use fresh duct tape.

  1. 1

    Choose a narrow-tined rake for cleaning up pine needles outdoors. There are many sizes of rakes available, but obviously a narrow-tined rake works best for raking pine needles, which will escape the grasp of rakes with large gaps between the tines.

  2. 2

    Start in one area and rake needles into a small pile and then move onto another area.

  3. 3

    Use a shovel to shovel each pile of pine needles into a trash bag -- or just use your gloved hands to pick the needles up. You can either discard the needles after or save them to use as mulch for acidic-loving plants.

Tips and warnings

  • Another option for outdoors is to rent or borrow (or buy) a lawn sweeper. These operate like mowers except instead of cutting grass they suck up yard debris, such as leaves and pine needles.

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